Cruising the Solent
In the late 1980s we kept our 30ft Waterwitch ketch in Langstone Harbour, between Chichester and Porstmouth. Many summer long weekends were spent travelling almost exactly the route which you took and well remember having the odd meal at the paddle steamer/restaurant moored downstream of the Folly Inn, is it still there I wonder? In West Cowes, we bought two huge bronze winches and a destroyer compass from the junkshop/chandlery next to Beken's photo studio and we paid, if I rememeber right about £5 for the lot. Yarmouth had the friendliest Harbour Master and the Newtown River was then a tranquil haven. Lymington is a nice town but, in those days was always crowded. Slightly further afield we would often visit Buckler's Hard on the Beaulieu River which always looked like a film set from the Elizabethan period. A full week would take us to Christchurch and Poole harbours then up to Wareham Quay on the river Frome. We got rid of our boat in 1988 to concentrate on work as business picked up and we have now lived in France for 9 years where we have a small campsite.
The feet have started itching again and we are planning, sometime over the next 4/5 years buying a 40-45ft cruiser and sailing to the eastern Mediterranean, Island hopping round the Greek Islands and after much local research buying a pied a terre in Cyprus, Turkey or Greece so that we could spend most of the time sailing.
The Solent is a lovely area and I hope it hasn't got too busy, it was starting to get like the M25 towards high tide even in my days.