The alarm was set at 6.30am as today we had to get up and get going for our very first sail just the two of us on Idun! After paying our marina dues, we slipped our lines and set off at 8am down the river Hamble and on to the Solent. It was warm and sunny – a very good start to our journey. I got all the fenders off as soon as possible – my first job as crew.
We raised the sails just after 9am and managed 5.5 knots despite poor wind, but we soon gave up and turned on the engine while keeping just the mainsail up. We tried sailing again 45 minutes later reaching 6.5 knots but by 10.35 we gave up and lowered the mainsail. We had a tide to catch.
It was a lovely day though chilly out on the water. We had clear views of Cowes when passing the Isle of Wight, and I enjoyed seeing Portsmouth from the sea. I’ve been there several times, but it looks so different when passing by boat.
We passed between the four Palmerston sea forts. They are massive! I had heard of them but never seen them close by. They were built as part of a general response to the 1859 Royal Commission dealing with the perceived threat of a French invasion, to protect the maritime access to Spithead and the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. That’s today’s history lesson.
Back to sailing: We reached Chichester outer Beacon at 11.05, caught the tide perfectly over Chichester Bar and at 11.45 dropped anchor off Pilsey Island just south of Thorney Island.
Our journey went very well thanks to Dominic’s expert helming. I think I may have moved from incompetent crew to slightly competent. I now know how to put up and remove fenders, pull in the jib and lower the main sail and prepare the boat in an emergency. I can use the radio and call the harbour and the coastguard. I am learning about the various buoys and what they indicate. Baby steps, but I’m getting there!
We both felt exhausted in the very warm afternoon sun. Lots of new things for Birgitta, and lots of responsibility for Dominic. Low tide soon came on which was a bit scary when anchored next to a mudbank! But Dominic had chosen the spot well. We heard the cuckoo and saw a big bird cooling off with his wings spread out on the bank. What a beautiful place to be.