I was going to do it yesterday. I had a half day off work on Friday to get the engine in place and get everything ready for Saturday. Then I noticed the tiller pilot wasn't working. Bummer. Yesterday turned into a trace the fault and sort it day.
The fault turned out to be a corroded wire that had parted from a connector block which was located under the port quarter berth. I didn't think the wire from the switch box was thick enough, so I ran new thicker wires from the switch and fuse box under the berth and reconnected everything with a fresh connector block. I also made sure the connector block was secured under the berth out of any dampness in the bilges.
Job done, but it took over an hour to sort out.
Anyway, on to today. I got down to Eastney really early: probably an hour before I needed to, but Sunday traffic is always a pain as Eastney is on the route for the Southsea seafront. Luckily the grey cloud had subdued the beach-goers, so I got down there about 10am, and waited for the water to cover the mud so I could row out. There was about 6 inches of water over the mud, Sprite hadn't even righted herself.
I climbed aboard and started sorting things for the journey. Then Jim arrived and I ferried him over to Sprite. By the time we were shipshape and the dinghy had been tied to the mooring chain, Sprite was free of the mud and swinging in the wind. I started the engine to warm it up and fitted the rudder. Then I chucked the chain over the side and we were off!
Timing the tides is critical at Langstone, because the harbour entrance is very narrow. A lot narrower than Chichester harbour. So the flow through the entrance can be phenomenal especially with Spring tides like today.
We plugged the outgoing tide and to be honest we'd timed it just right. We just about kept moving forward. Any later and we'd have been going backwards! On the Portsmouth side we normally keep inside the yellow can mooring buoys, but there was a boat in the way this time, so we had to go outside the cans at one point into the main tidal flow.
|The tide was coming in but this boat was side-on to the tide. How does that work?|
Keeping to the sides of the entrance in the slower flow worked, but there is a bit on the Portsmouth side where a jetty and an outfall pipe marked by a red pile force you towards the middle, which is where we slowed down to a crawl. As you can see by the photo, the water nearer the shore is calmer than the water to the left of the jetty.
|Coming up to the jetty and outfall pipe. |
Rougher faster flowing water to the left in the centre of the channel.
|Me being a very happy Captain.|
Eventually, 30 minutes after setting off we were in the Solent with all the big boats!
Despite the weather, looking around I could easily see over 100 sails out on the Solent today. Mind you is was good sailing weather for the bigger boats, they just hooned along. When we got the sails set right we went along quite well.
Jim had a turn at the helm while I pratted about doing various things:
Coming out of Langstone we had a Northerly wind pushing us out, so I tried the whisker pole Pam gave me the other day.
|The foresail was flapping about in the light following Breeze, so...|
|I fitted the whisker pole. We instantly gained speed. Very nice.|
On the way back in we had to use the engine because we were nose-on to the wind so I put the spray hood up for shelter and seeing as it was about time for a brew I tried out the tiller pilot.
Jim was impressed with the amount of shelter the spray hood gave:
Just a quick snippet of video I did as the tiller pilot did its thing and Jim was sending his pictures to Facebook:
All in all a very rewarding day.