6.5M Lymington to Mouth of Seine
Well we made it. Just wife Jo and I and our beloved Farfetched. I had been to Jersey before in dead calm but this was a different story. Set off Thursday morning a week ago from Haven Quay. We stopped off for refuel and coffee in Gosport after a "Solent Chop" trip at 25kts from Lymington and looked at web forecasts on my phone. They promised the southerly (at F4 on the nose for the trip south) would abate soon. We set off at about 1pm to our waypoint by the Forts and then followed a direct line to a waypoint about 10 miles off Le Havre. In short, it was a magnificently sunny day but the sea was quite big for us. No way, however I helmed, could I get us on top of the swell. So progress was 12-17 knots most of the way. We were dry but shaken and stirred. Arrived at the second waypoint after a number of short food and pee stops - and of course the bilges both packed up so there was some bailing - and the wind was still significant - at about 7pm local (after 6 hours) and then still had to navigate the ships and buoys at the river mouth. But the light held and the waves abated so we travelled in at 25-35kts. Found the entrance to Honfleur easily enough, and waited for the lock to open. After about 5 minutes, the outgoing boats came out and we went in, working out we had to attach painter and another rope to the same floating ring on the side of the lock. Then waiting for about 20 minutes before the lock was filled. went straight under the road bridge to the Old Harbour, following another rib with a French flag which seemed to know what it was doing, and tied up at one of the visitor pontoons on the right. No one showed any interest. Our friends were waiting for us with their car, so we took everything movable up the ramp (gate not locked) and abandoned her! No interest in passports, papers of any kind.
Returned Tuesday morning (forecast slight and F3/F4) - weather grim on Monday - and filled up with cans from local petrol station using friends car as "tanker". Set off at noon, JUST fitting under the road bridge - lock free flowing because of high tide - and blasted across arriving off Portsmouth four and a half hours later averaging 26 kts. Still some early troublesome swell and waves but mostly ran at 35kts.
So, conclusion, quite tough - we've done it but probably won't do it again - and a 6.5M is about the smallest I could recommend for such a journey.
Thanks for advice and help.