Sunday 22nd June to Wednesday 1st July Ref: 2015/13
We would have liked to have cruised across to Cowes the day before, but the 'Round the Island' Race had made Cowes the busiest place to be in the world and so we stood much more of a chance to getting an overnight berth if we cruised over later in the weekend when other boats would be vacating the marinas. We had booked into Yarmouth for a shore-access pontoon a little later so as not to be similarly disappointed.
These final legs of our South Coast Cruise promised to be the easiest with just local passages within the very sheltered Solent. The weather was forecast fine again ; light winds, smooth/slight seas, mild temperatures and fair visibility and so everything was set for a comfortable week's cruising
Trip 1. A high water exit from Itchin marine and a short leg down Southampton water and round the Brambles sandbank with the jostling for position upon arrival being expected as the biggest navigational hazard on day one! In the event, our departure from Southampton and arrival at Cowes corresponded with the Cunard flag ship The Queen Mary II closing fast from behind and we suffered the indignity of the Harbour Master's vessel racing over and forcing us out of the Precautionary Area! We seemed to be well clear by our estimation but we realised afterwards that there is a moving 1nm 'Moving Exclusion zone' ahead of vessels displaying a black cylinder when they exceed 150m in length in that channel regardless. We made East Cowes easily and the marina was nigh empty and we took our pick of berths on Pontoon B(ravo).
The weather was beautiful and East Cowes marina very quiet and smooth but a Barratt's housing development in the 70's had taken up all of the nearby land and the residents had a very exclusive approach of blocking everything off and so it was no place for visitors with a dog on board. We visited Osborne House this morning, which was on this side of the river, and then moved Lady Martina on to the Town side of the River Medina by moving easily across to the Cowes Yacht Haven the next day to stay two nights, as this was much more enjoyable
The weather we experienced approaching Cowes was : 22degC-23degC; RH 66-59-65%; 1007-1018 mb steady; 0.4-m wave-height, calm/smooth seas, poor viz, fair with wind 9-11 knots wind gusting 12 knots (SSW) F2/3
Trip 2 The trip from Cowes to Yarmouth (IOW) was judged to catch the following tides with an ESE breeze off of the land and following for once which was even better. At a slow speed of 8 knots, the 18nm could be achieved in less than two hours and at a cost of less than 30 litres of fuel!
The forecast was the freshest we had experienced in recent days with some 10-11kn from the ESE (gusting 15kn), 0.9nm waves from the South and pressure 1010-1011 steady and very warm temperatures of 23-24degC forecast