Next step in saga:
I'm happy to report that I had an excellent first weekend of sailing on the Solent, heading out of Hamble and spending the night at East Cowes on the Isle of Wight. I was on a two day course with British Offshore Sailing School
, and I pretty much was doing the Dayskipper practical curriculum even though I had signed up for the Competent Crew practical.
there were five students and one instructor, and we took out a Sigma 38 that participated in this year's Fastnet race. They were just finishing the install of all new standing rigging when I showed up on Friday night for the first night aboard, and I was pretty surprised by how comfortable the internal fitting out was for a fast boat. For 38 feet, it was still a fractional rig, and it had a regular back stay and running back stays.
Saturday was wet and calm, but lunch on the hook beside Calshot was pretty bouncy. We did MOB drills and some chart work, calculating a course against a 2 knot current from buoy to buoy.
Pints at the marina pub in East Cowes were topped by a walk on the "pontoons," where I came across B&Q, Ellen MacArthur's record-making circumnav trimaran. It was for sale, no less, but it's extensive sponsor labels had been removed.
Sunday had force 4-5 winds from the East, and I had the helm as we left East Cowes and beat close hauled into the wind and chop. We buried the rail, and I was rather glad to have five-foot wheel to hold onto. After that, we turned back to run with the wind back to Hamble to put the boat to bed.
A good time was had by all.
For more pictures, go to
My wife plans to head to Hamble for the same sailing weekend this month, and we both will schedule our five day theory courses for Dayskipper in Greenwich so that we can do the five-day practical course on the Solent in the spring. I'm particularly looking forward to the night sailing.