From Solent to the Menai Straits Part 1 May 23rd – 25th

Swanwick to Newtown 12 nmiles

My experience at Swanwick marina had not been a happy one so I was really glad when we could slip the mooring lines, motor away from the pontoon and head off down the Hamble river. We had of course, due to all the delays missed the best part of the tide but I was determined to get away and make what progress could be had. Down the channel it was wall to wall boats, I find it hard to see how people can find much pleasure sailing in conditions as crowded as this. Out into Southampton water and we were sailing Sea Bear for the first time.
Later the tide had turned against us and as the wind died too we motored the remaining distance to Newtown and picked up a visitors mooring. It is indeed a lovely spot

13-Newtown-River-IOW

Newtown to Lymington 6.3 nmiles

The wind had picked up a bit in the night and the forecast was not good. A review of options had us heading for shelter in Lymington just a short hop across the Solent, where we rafted up alongside the Town Quay. I can always tell when it is really windy, here was the first loss of a hat. I buy the cheapest baseball caps so their loss is not too great.
Fridays forecast was for NW F7 or gale 8 plus rain as a nasty depression crossed the country from the NE reeking havoc in many inland areas, so any easy decision to stay put for the day

16-Sea-Bear-Town-Quay-Lymington

Lymington to Portland 44 nmiles

I chose to exit the Solent by the North channel to the north of the Shingles bank.
The weekend and fine weather had bought out everyone and his brother it seemed – many of them seemed to be heading for Studland bay whereas my course was to round St. Albans Head with a good offing. The winds were light at first and then Westerly so no such luck as being able to lay a decent course for Portland, hard on the wind and tacking was the order of the day once round St. Albans Head.

One of my shoreward tacks took me towards Worbarrow Bay and for a while I entertained thoughts of anchoring here for the night. Although I stood right into the bay there was still enough swell being deflected round Mupe Rocks and into the bay so I dismissed the idea

18-Worbarrow-Bay

I eventually arrived in Portland harbour just as the sun was setting, so anchored in the designated area and dug out the new Hurricane lamp to set as an anchor light.