Friday, May 27, 2016

Poole to Guernsey

We spent 2 great nights at the most expensive marina yet on Poole Town Quay, moored next to a 120ft 3 story motor yacht that totally obscured our view. We took the opportunity to explore the town, get a few provisions in, buy a few more presents for Askari and enjoy the pubs of Poole.

It was great being right in town to get a few jobs done but we were keen to get out into the harbour, so we took a mooring off Brownsea Island and had a fabulous day walking and hunting for Red Squirrels.

Brownsea Island was the place where Robert Baden Powell held his first experimental scout camp in 1907; Andrew having been a keen scout was really interested to read all about it.

Andrew at the site of first scout camp

View of Poole Harbour from Brownsea Island

Cream Tea on Brownsea Island
Yay, we found a Red Squirrel 
Always good when the tender is still there when you get back
We spot an Austal built ferry in Poole (it has been stalking us since)
Lovely night out in Poole Harbour
First lasagne on board - with a little tribute to South Fremantle's Lilly Street Lasagne Bake off
Next morning we left at 5.20am to cross the English Channel, we had been cleared out of the UK the day before by customs so we could export Askari and get all the paperwork right for VAT purposes. The day started so very cold but the wind was in the perfect direction and strength (NE 3/4), so we pulled the sails out at 6am and furled them away some 80 nms and 11 hours later as we approached St Peter Port. It was a great sail and the weather improved before deteriorating terribly just after we arrived and then poured it down with rain all night - we were so lucky. We had great visability for crossing the shipping lanes and did not have to alter course once, carefully monitoring the ships on AIS; a first for us.

Selfie in the Alderney Race
The Alderney Race can run at about 7 or 8 knots so it's very important that you arrive just at the right time. Andrew had the navigation spot on and we arrived perfectly in accordance with plan. We could see about 10 other yachts waiting to round Cap de la Hague for the conveyor belt heading south. We all raced together down to St Peter Port.

Our route to Guernsey 
We tied up in St Peter Port and went out in the rain for a fabulous dinner of Turbot at a beautiful restaurant on the quay to celebrate our first 'overseas' trip in over 12 years!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Beaulieu to Poole

The most perfect sailing conditions we have had to date - sailed all the way from harbour entrance to harbour entrance, including through the Needles Channel and around the Shingles Bank.......

Askari was amazing we tacked and beat three other boats - we had a ball!

Leaving Beaulieu
Our track from Marine Traffic

Heading to the Needles
Out of the Solent 
Lovely Sailing

We spotted Dizzy Di going the other way and gave big waves

Sailing passed Old Harry Rocks

Big Spring Tide in Poole Harbour

We powered against 3 knots of tide to get in

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chichester to Beaulieu

We had a lovely time in Chichester although we did not like the mooring in Itchenor Reach which was terribly rusty and resulted in Carolyn having to get the dyson out every hour to hoover the rust off the deck. It also took us ages to get it set up on Askari, trying all sorts of combinations of bridals and deck securing to not damage the boat.

It was a bit like going back in time as nothing had changed at Itchenor since Carolyn used to come hear as a child - people still trudge down to the muddy foreshore and launch dinghies in their wellies, the harbour tour boats are still the same but most amazingly they still clean off and anifoul boats on piles on the beach - although they had jet washers that they didn't when my Dad did this with our family boat.....

That night we went to the Ship Inn, which was totally packed with locals on a Friday night and had the sort of noise that only an English pub does - brilliant. We met Di & Keith of Dizzy Di, who were moored next to us. They had just taken ownership too so we enjoyed a drink with them before tucking into fab fish and chips!

Askari anchored at Itchenor behind boats being cleaned on the beach

Andrew thought the wind forecast quite amusing (for non sailors that is wind of 11 to 33 knots) - we stayed another day!

Carolyn had her first run out in "Askooby"
We left Chichester in the rain and actually had a really good sail down the Solent - we managed to dodge the hover craft and even in the murk spotted some of the highlights....
Sailing in the Solent - love the British Weather!

Solent Fort

Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight

We whizzed passed Cowes under full sail - this photo was supposed to show the Union Jack behind our Aussie Flag

We arrived at the entrance to the Beaulieu River with just enough water to scape over but it was raining so hard by then we were just keen to get in. We slowly wound our way up the river and found the visitors dock, to bet met by a very excited Rowena from Sea Crusader. Her and David were also Ocean Cruising Club members so when they saw our flag she rushed to help and then invited us for drinks that night. We also met their friend James (who had just had a bath in their cockpit bath - yes seriously that is a feature on a Discovery 55), Nelson the dog and Nipper the cat. We had a fun time exchanging stories of the high seas!!!

Next day the sun came out and we had a great dinghy trip up the River to Beaulieu itself for some lunch out. We ended the day at the Master Builders (the pub Andrew and I used to go to when we were first dating)
View from the cockpit at Bucklers Hard Beaulieu River

Bucklers Hard with Askari in the distance

Friday, May 20, 2016

Eastbourne to Chichester

We ended up spending 3 nights in Eastbourne as the wind was not in the right direction for us to continue heading West. The marina is about 5km from town so on the first day we walked all along in the seafront in the wind and sun. Eastbourne is known for being a retirement place and we did see quite a few mobility scooters but it was far nicer than we had expected. We had lunch in town, did a bit of shopping and then went and explored the pier.

99 cones in seaside heaven

Eastbourne Pier

Eastbourne Seafront
On Thursday Carolyn's Mum & Dad drove down for a lovely long lunch - the first time they have seen Askari since she was a only a little more than a bare hull. We felt a bit bad when the next day we set sail for Chichester which is where they live but with the conditions so unsettled you have to take the chances to move when you can. It was a boring trip with an exciting rounding of Beachy Head with overfalls and 20 plus knots wind plus tide against us at Selsey Bill, so we were pretty pleased to creep over the bar at Chichester Harbour, Carolyn's childhood sailing base.

Mum & Dad inspect Askari 

Beachy Head

Pleased to have that one behind us

On the wind

Selsey Bill

After a hard slog around Selsey Bill we had a brilliant sail into the Solent, before calling it a day at Chichester pretty exhausted but very pleased with the way Askari had performed on our toughest trip yet.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Dover to Eastbourne

We had a great night at Dover but were keen to take advantage of the weather so slipped lines at 8.30am made radio contact with Port Control and were immediately given permission to exit. The wind was a perfect Easterly force 3 so we got the sails up and had lovely time, we had a few hours of engine but mostly sailed all the way to Eastbourne. We practised our tacking with the help of the autopilot and got that all set up. Andrew also got the water maker doing its thing, meanwhile Carolyn polished stainless and did some yoga in boots......

Cold but sunny

Sailing on her own

Stainless polishing

Big Sail
Yoga on the aft deck 

Approaching big lock at Eastbourne

Inside the lock!

we did it!

Andrew did the most perfect parking in the tights space in the Marina - amazing!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Maiden Voyage

We woke up at 4.30am to leave Ipswich and head South - why 4.30am??? to time our arrival in the Dover Straits with the best tidal advantage.... Gosh it was cold but at least it was light when we quietly slipped out of Fox's Marina and cut our tie to the Oyster team who have attended to our every issue since we arrived in Ispwich.

The Orwell River was lovely and still; we motored down and pulled out full sail in the mouth of the river and headed out into the North Sea (yikes).... We have heard every story of this passage in the last few weeks, so we were well prepared however it was perfect and we even found the wind farms pretty cool as we had to seen such huge farms before. Then after a while it glassed off and we had two dolphins pass by. But it was bloody cold!

Leaving Fox's Marina

Skipper Bellamy rugged up - is this summer??
Calm enough to sit at the back despite all the gear!

Then it glassed off and dolphins came and the sun came out for a few minutes

Weather changed so we headed to Dover

So this was our first entry it a new harbour and we choose one of the busiest ports in the UK. The Dover Straits are closely monitored and you have to call Port Control on the radio for permission to enter the Port and they then give you instructions. The wind was picking up and the current was flowing at over 2 knots as we approached. Carolyn nervously called Port Control and the instructed us to turn North, wait for a ferry to exit and then keep our speed on and enter the Port on the East side, right where we were; that was great as we expected to have to sail around to the other entrance rather than cross the busy port with huge ferry's and ships manuvering all around.

Yuck - 26 knots as we entered the harbour

Dover was much nicer than we anticipated and has some lovely historic buildings, the castle on the hill overlooking the harbour looks amazing. Just a shame that there is a constant flow of lorries through it. We found a nice pub and had an okay meal - maiden voyage over!
Askari looked quite big in the tidal basin at Dover with the castle up behind
Dover Harbour Board House 1606

Promenade at Dover