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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Saturday Sailing and Night Manoeuvres

I had a good day sailing out of Langstone harbour entrance yesterday. The plan was maybe get to Cowes, but the wind was too light and the boat's speed too low to get that far, so I just pratted about between the entrance and the forts for a few hours.

Off Southsea Sea Front
I went back into the harbour too late to get back on the mooring so stuck the boat on the mud and waited for the tide to rise. High tide was 10pm and sunset was 7:30 so getting onto the mooring would involve me motoring round to Lock Lake in the dark. Er...

Here's a confession: I'm pretty terrified of boating in the dark. Back in the days when I was boating on the canals, you stopped at dinner time outside a pub and didn't do any night time driving. So the concept is pretty alien, due to lack of experience really.

So I thought a little trip in the dark in a place I know pretty well would help me acclimatise and help get over the fear.

I've already fitted red lights in the cabin for night use and the navigation lights all work. Sort of. Except it seems the switches for the anchor and steaming lights are transposed so that needs sorting out at some point.

Here's the cabin at night:

I had the advantage that the night was still and there was no wind, plus the "Supermoon" was pretty bright too. Ideal conditions for moving at night really. It was still so dark the camera couldn't focus properly.

Laying to on the mud wasn't bad, the boat stayed level, which was good. There were no dramas motoring round to the mooring except that I was a bit early and got stopped on the mud again about 60ft away from my dinghy swinging on the rising tide.

About 30 minutes later I had enough water to get to the dinghy and more or less let the boat drift onto it slowly using the light wind with a bit of outboard motor for control. Pretty easy really.

So I had a good few hours in the Solent and lost my night time cherry, not a bad day at all.

I went down this afternoon and just did a bit of people watching while having a brew sat on the mooring. After checking I'd secured everything last night, I came back off before the tide dropped too much.

So not a bad weekend.

The forecast is good for most of the week and the tides are high springs too, but one of the guys in the office is off this week, so the chances of getting a day off is pretty slim. Bugger.


  1. Brave man. Well done. I certainly wouldn't go down the Tyne in the dark. Its full of old shipyards and empty buildings that are as creepy as hell! Have you done any RYA stuff? You have to log night sailing hours to get some of the qualifications. Shane Acton (Shrimpy) used to just go down below and go to sleep when it got dark!

  2. It wasn't that bad mainly because I've done the run so many times in the day. I knew I wouldn't hit anything, I just had to get over the fear of hitting anything.
    Plus conditions were ideal, no wind, a bright moon with a cloudless sky, lots of street lights, etc. So I could see where I was going as long as I took it slow and once I'd convinced myself I wouldn't hit anything I did it.
    Hitting the mud just short of my mooring was funny, mainly because it took a few seconds to realise I wasn't making progress. lol.
    But its good to have done it.
    I don't have any RYA qualifications, I just wing it. ;-)