The first thing to happen was when we arrived at Wimbledon train station to take the 05:43 direct service to Southampton. Despite verifying only 7 hours earlier that it was definitely running, it didn't. A dash home and run down in the car meant we still got to the drystack in time to uncover the boat and load it up prior to launching and we were en route by 8:00, the nice people there are happy for me to pick the car up later
Once into the clear water I opened her up and - oh no - a massive list to starboard and water coming up a hole in the cockpit. Sea cocks, said the pilot, but apparently this is not a naval form of swearing but a type of self-draining hole. And a beep, from somewhere, as if there was also a machine that was trying to blank the swearing out. My wife made me call the poor vendor (it was still before 9am at the weekend) who confirmed sea cocks (that we had already established) and obviously could not assist with a "beep" that we could not even identify the source of - sorry Matt! Anyway sea cocks it was and she rode level after that and the cockpit stayed dryer and we went up the Hamble to fuel
I was very proud of not crashing into anything to moor at the fuel pontoon but with 2 engines it is 50x easier I suspect. Then the real journey started, it was at this point the sailoing jackets went on shortly followed by salopettes (pilots) and £20 waterproof trousers from SportsDirect (owners)
as we speeded a long Southampton water we noticed that the 70lph fuel consumption may present some issues later in our expedition and backed off to about 45, we were side-on to the wind and collected a fair amount of spray, happily our gear was brilliant we were dry and toasty (except our feet). Between the forts, keeping on East and I wanted to aim directly for Selsey i.e. cut across the bay, taking us a few miles offshore. The sweels were decent-sized and quite challenging, and I found this quite difficult to navigate, everything looked fine on the GPS but I didn't aqlways know in my own mental map where I was relative to the marks I knew about
The swell was definitely steepest at Selsey Bill I presume jacking up as the water shallowed, we were just after high tide here. By Littlehampton the calls were made to (i) head inshore in search of slighlty smaller swells and (ii) refuel again at Brighton. Just before Brighton was the scariest but no actual issues, just required being focussed, thoughtful. The rest on the Marina pontoon was much appreciated by all as were the portaloos.
Steeling ourselves for the next onslaught hoods went up and we went out, I took back the helm and eased off to find a more comfortable (and efficient) pace and at 15-20knots with a wind that had dropped suddenly we were really comfortable, and really cruising in the sun admiring the scenery which from Newhaven on is quite special. After Beachy Head things got better and we had a quick on-water round of photos, I upped the gas a bit and into Sovereign Harbour, a bit sunburned, exhausted, but super-happy and proud to have completed our trip.
thank you to the posters above for your advice and comments, I will figure out how to put some pics next. Regarding my experience, I have spent 20 years windsurfing this water (Witterings/Hayling) and 2 weeks a year for the last 5 on a similar boat as crew in the Med - so while I was almost completely new to helming, the water and the wind are very long-standing and close friends. A coastal windsurfer doesn't get out of bed it it's not a 5
- now i have a reason to
We will continue to get help for any substantive trip for as long as it m akes us feel more comfortable, it's all about enjoying it right, if we were worrying about safety we wouldn't be ahving fun