by PowerSail contributor, Stephen West.
Day Three and another glorious morning as we awoke in Poole Quay.
The final job of the previous night had been to discuss a simple passage plan for today’s trip back to Lymington. The weather and tide offered a relaxed start to the day – our target being to get through the Needles Channel with the tide helping us along.
That set a departure at 10am and by now the novice crew were well versed in preparation for departure. The log book to hand with the tides, inshore forecast and general outlook all filled and ready, the charts for the journey back and the ever-useful Portland Plotter, it was time for ‘hands to stations’ ready to slip our berth and head out under motor for open water.
The Studland ferry safely negotiated, it was time to set the sails for a long reach out into Bournemouth Bay, past Studland beach and Old Harry rocks. Everyone had their duties, with helming and sail trim rotating with galley duties – with the now very familiar shout from the galley of, “Cake o’clock!” becoming a morning ritual.
And once again, as if on cue, the cry, “Dolphins – starboard bow, about 100 metres!” filled the air and a pod of around a dozen worked across in front of us, with the occasional hunted smaller fish leaping out of the water in a bid to escape!
Two long beats brought us to the Needles Channel just on slack water still under sail and with the tide turning underneath us we passed that magnificent landmark with just the sound of the wind for company. Kingfisher’s self-tacking jib had made life simpler for our novice crew, and by now they no longer sought permission to be ready to tack.
A scan all around for obstacles and traffic, a quick reference to the chart plotter for unseen hazards and it was tacking time. It was so good to see their confidence grow and their instinct for the wind and tide developing.
By late afternoon we found ourselves once more taking sail in with Jack in the Basket in sight, motor on and following the Yarmouth ferry this time on to Berthon Marina as our rest for the night.
A tired, but very happy crew talking points of sail and dolphin sightings made their way into Lymington for a welcome and relaxing evening meal.
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