6th-7th October 2012
The journey to Cowes from London is rather spoiled by the poor link between the train and the ferry. I get the impression that Southampton would rather you stayed in town instead of spending your money on the Isle of Wight. In theory there is a free bus link between the train and the boat but there is no timetable to be found anywhere and even the bus drivers can’t say if the service is still running. The local taxis milk it for all its worth. It is all a bit of a shame because it adds just that extra hassle which makes leaving the Good Ship at Cowes too much like hard work. Still the boat ride is always fun. The slow boat leaves you in East Cowes, handy for East Cowes Marina, but as it takes about an hour it is only worth it during the daylight when you can enjoy the views. The high speed ferry ends up in West Cowes but costs more, actually it is really expensive. As usual there are a highly complex series of secretive deals to be had. None of which you will find if you use the automatic ticket machines. So to sum up, I left work at 1815LT and got to the rather clinical “Lifeboat” pub by the marina at 1045LT. That is an average speed of 14 miles an hour, about cycling pace.
We had a busy schedule for Saturday. I said I would look over a 38ft Swan with a friend of mine in the morning so the Water Taxi came to pick me up at 10am. A fine Swan she was too with lots of loving care put into her. The only negative bit was the mast step which is so often the case on lots of yachts. I suppose water will inevitably gets down the mast and with a keel stepped mast it is in a rather enclosed area ripe for a bit of corrosion. All repairable I am sure. Otherwise lots of new gizmos and lovely new teak deck and a new engine. My friend is now thinking about buying it!
After seeing the yacht, Grit and I went for a run from Cowes to Newport and back along the cycle path. It is a nice shady run but a bit flat for my liking. The best bit is towards the end when you can divert along a nice dirty trial by the River Medina. Our speed was pretty appalling at 9.33 minutes per mile over 7.57 miles. That would be a very slow half marathon.
We just finished the run in time to spot Brimble on the AIS entering Cowes so we waited to greet them before going for a shower. The East Cowes Marina was packed with Challenger Boats so Brimble had to snuggle in behind them. There is a bit of tide that runs through the marina and one poor yacht really fouled up trying to get into a near impossible guest berth. I felt a bit sorry for them.
Once we were showered, Selma and John and Grit and I headed to the bright lights of Cowes City Centre.
As we are doing the Henley Half Marathon next week, in theory we shouldn’t be tanking back the beers but somehow we got a bit carried away and had a fairly boozy night. We had a great tapas/pizza meal in Brawns. Grit and I ate there the week before and would recommend it. John told us of the MayDay they had heard that afternoon. It was text book perfect, very calm with all the details, there was a man overboard in Osbourne Bay. The coastguard couldn’t make contact with them and asked other boats to see if they could help. After a fair while of MayDay Silence etc a yacht called in to say they had seen a training yacht in Osbourne Bay practising Man Overboard! Oh dear, he must have pushed in the transmit button! All a bit embarrassing.
In the morning Brimble and Sumara left together at 08:00 LT to catch the east going tide. The sun was out but there wasn’t much wind. However there was enough to move and we weren’t in a hurry. Brimble peeled off North to the Hamble after an hour and we carried on, having to use the motor from time to time. As we ghosted along we listened to the usual strong wind warnings coming from the Met Office. It was like a lovely summer day as we neared Chichester Beacon and headed up the channel over the bar. We eventually moored in a very tight spot on a very very short pontoon in Chichester Yacht Basin at about 16:00. It might end up being my last sail of the year. The boat is being lifted on the 23rd November. Awe.