We left Cowes around 6 pm and had a strong westerly wind to take us out of the solent. However, the tide took some time to turn, so we were not completely out by the time it got dark. There were several ferries and lots of lights to keep track of – interesting exercise in navigation and great fun!
The wind died down during the night and in the early morning we were sailing slowly along the south coast. We were getting worried that we would not reach Dover before dark, but the wind picked up again and we arrived with an hour to spare.
Dover harbour is very busy and you need to ask permission to enter. The “traffic lights” then turn to green and you may enter. We hade a strong tide across the entrance, so we were a little worried. The yacht harbour is far inside and one of the most sheltered harbours I have seen.
We got a place and immediately found that our neighbour was a Swedish boat. The couple had just bought it and were on their way home.
There is also a lock and an inner harbour, which is even more sheltered.
In the morning, we got up and let go of the mooring, in order to get to Cowes as soon as possible. The wind had picked up, but there was still an est going current.
After an hour or so, the current decreased and the speed picked up. There were a lot of boats out and it was getting tighter as we approached Cowes.
Coming into the harbour, we called the first harbour on the VHF and received instructions where to stay. We planned to stay just a few hours and then take advantage of the good wind in order to sail to Dover overnight (around 10o miles).
The Cowes village was a bit quiet (it was a Sunday afternoon), but the food shop and aboat chandlery was open.
The last hours up to the Needles, we had a good favourable current. The current turned as we came in to the channel to the isle of white and the speed dropped. We did 1.8 knots and the 8 miles to Cowes seemed far… However, Yarmouth is just there and we had been recommended to go there – a quiet place.
When we came into the harbour entrance, there were a lot of boats and a sign “Harbour full!”. Hoever, there were some empty buoys outside. We found one “for max 9m loa”, but since Matilda is just over 9m… we took it. A water taxi took us ashore and we ended up in an Old Gaffers event. Some 160 gaffers were moored in the harbour and there was a big party going on. We walked the treets . looking at the people and had a few beers in the bars… Very nice!
Urban, the captain that sails the boat back to Sweden, was being abandoned by his crew, and I had promised to come down to England to help out if needed. Thus, I boarded a flight to London and took the train to Cornall. A beautiful place!
Urban met me at the train station and we went down to where the boat was moored. She looked a bit worn, with weed growing on the waterline and rust stains on the deck, but otherwise in good shape.
We spent the next day getting organised and drying matresses. It was a beautiful summer day. There was a strong E wind, so there was no sense to try to sail eastwards.
The next day, the E wind was supposed to swing to the S, so we set off. We used the engine, since the wind as weak. However, it turned out that the wind stayed weak all the way, so we ended up using the engine all the way to the Isle of White, some 138 miles and 30 hours.
We had a visitor, who sat onthe outboard for several hours. He/she was marked with GB rings, so we did not risk to bring foreigners to the UK…
A welcome sight:
We were lucky to have a weak wind against the tide, that had started to go out.
I flew from Martinique to Paris on March 19th and then on to Copenhagen. Coming home feels strange, but good at the same time. My family has been longing for this moment and it feels good that they are happy.
At the same time, the trip to the Caribbean feels like a dream – I am not really sure it actually happened…
The first night at home, the floor was rocking when I got out of bed. A strange feeling. I also woke up last night after a strange dream that there is something wrong with the boat. My wife found me sitting up in the bed, mumbling that there is something wrong with the sun roof… I guess it will take a week or two to adapt to life ashore!
In the mean time, I will follow Matilda and the delivery crew on their blog page: http://www.loveforsail.se/
Now that I have a stable Internet connection, I have uploaded pictures to earlier posts – Enjoy!
So we are back in Martinique again after the one week shake down cruise. The crew now know how to set the wind vane, run the engine, light the cooker and many of the other 1000 things you need to know in order to sail a yacht all the way back to Sweden.
We had a good and quick sail. Along the coasts of St Vincent and St Lucia, we must have had a helping current; the speed was very good. Only when we came to the channel between St Lucia and Martinique, we had a opposing current…
Anyway, since the crew will want to provision, we anchored close to the supermarkets.
On the way in to Le Marin, we saw a boat beached on the reef. It must have happened quite recently and there was someone in the cockpit, waiting for help, which hopefully was on its way.