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As for the Solent, I find it best not to plan a cruise. If you do, and it's mid-summer, there will be driving rain or F9 winds, or both. Roaring sea conditions. 8 million other craft on the water.

However, if you go in the dead of winter with no expectations, the conditions can be enjoyable.

We just got back from a short, unplanned holiday cruise. It was a simple over-nighter to the Isle of Wight, a holiday dinner at the Folly Inn, a hike to Newport, and then an easy sail back to Gosport for a night train back to London.

The highlights were 28 knots of wind on the nose crossing to the island, with a 2 knot counter current. The dinner at the Folly Inn, however, was superb. Hot cocoa, pints of island ale (Goddards), lasagna, gammon, beef and veg crew pot, and then a delectable dessert. All this beside an open fire as the kids played snooker for the first time. Not bad for the shortest day of the year.

The next morning (this morning) we hiked to Newport, two miles south down the river, for the first time. Wonderful waterfront. We had a quick coffee at the Bargeman's Rest before rushing back to have enough light to sail back to Gosport.

The trip back was refreshingly uneventful. We had lunch enroute, sailed about half the way, and then lost all wind for the final run in. Put the boat to bed and then enjoyed the holiday lights of Portsmouth as we crossed on the Gosport ferry.

A full gallery of the trip is here:

Holiday Cruise 2008

Here are some sample pics:



Down to the third reef.



Tied up at the exclusive "walk off" dock at the Folly Inn. (We were one of only two boats there.)



The Bargeman's Rest in Newport.



A gaff ketch for sale in Newport. Only 3500 pounds sterling.



On passage back to Gosport.



Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower lit up for the season.

Happy holidays, everyone!
 

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What an adventure! The kids will remember that 'til the end of their days.

Happy holidays to you as well, Jim. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.:)
 

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Happy holidays to you as well, Jim. Thanks for sharing the trip with us.:)
John, thanks for comment. It was a fun trip, and surprisingly warm and enjoyable given the time of the year.

We also shot some video during the trip, and I just posted it. It gives a taste of the conditions during the "fun" part of the trip... :)

 

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Great stuff. Jim! One of the great advantages of having a boat in the water year round is the ability to do something like this on the spur of the moment, given a decent weather window.
That "Spinnaker tower" is quite spectacular!
Thanks for this.
 

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Nice post Jim... thanks for sharing. :) My boat's currently on the hard with over a foot of snow on it. :(
 

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I'm jealous. Sounds like a great trip. My boat currently has 3 Feet of snow on it. And the freezing rain just started and my hot water tank at the restaurant died last night and the city plowed my car in...........
 

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I'm jealous. Sounds like a great trip. My boat currently has 3 Feet of snow on it. And the freezing rain just started and my hot water tank at the restaurant died last night and the city plowed my car in...........
Ugh. My family back in Oregon is also under a foot of snow and ice, and only a fraction will be making it to the family Christmas celebration tomorrow.

There's often more wind here than necessary, but it's usually so temperate in the UK that ice and snow don't stay around if they do fall.
 
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