Thursday 21st June – A real sail!

The much anticipated day has come: the wind has changed and we’re sailing west.  We set off at 7.30am, with me having been involved in every step of preparing for sail.  I’m putting the theory to the test!  We came out of Brighton Marina on the tide and there was 15 knots of wind and so raised the sails immediately.  We soon made nearly 9 knots of speed over water (plus 1 knot of tide) and we needed to put a reef in.  It’s clear that after 15 knots of wind Idun needs reefing! And at 20 knots would probably need another one.  We sailed on autopilot most of the way, apart from when negotiating lobster pot buoys.  We reached Selsey Bill an hour earlier than anticipated!  After Portsmouth the wind died down a bit, and turned ahead of us so after tacking for a bit we turned on the engine to reach the Hamble river.  We arrived at Hamble Point at 4pm but there was no room at the inn, so we went up to Swanwick where we can stay overnight.  It’s very busy around here at the moment.

It was a lively but lovely sail.  It was cloudy to start, but the sun got stronger as the day progressed.  We passed the wind farm outside Brighton, a survey boat, several fishing vessels, masses of yachts and plenty of merchant ships.  I did my first bit of steering, and spent a lot of time on buoy watch.  Dominic is very pleased with how Idun sails, and at how fast she is.  He also discovered the self-tacking command on the autopilot so that  we can tack with one button press (the foresail is a self-tacker).

Now, I think most people were rather surprised when I said that Dominic and I are going to buy a big sailing boat and sail for a large chunk of the year.  I kept getting comments such as: but Birgitta, you don’t like going fast; but Birgitta, you get sea sick; but Birgitta, you’re more of a land-bound person, you like digging holes in fields and woods, you like gardening; but Birgitta, are you sure this is not Dominic’s dream?  I think my answer to all this is that I was ready for a change, and when making this change I did tell myself that I need to embrace it.  And I’ve not been sea sick yet, I actually enjoyed the lively sailing today, and I always loved doing excursions and exploring new places. Ha ha I think Dominic is even more surprised than I am, at how well I’m taking to all this!  I can see that passage planning can be both exciting and intricate.  And the journey itself is a bit like archaeology: you read your sources, do your surveying and write the research objective, but you will never know what the ground holds until you dig a hole!


These first three weeks were always going to be a slow and careful start.  Due to the various problems with the fittings and fixings of the boat, it’s been even slower than anticipated.  We’re now waiting to drop the boat at Inspiration Marine either Friday or Saturday and we’ll come back in two weeks’ time.  And then the real adventure starts!

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