by PowerSail contributor, Stephen West.
Lymington Yacht Haven is a peaceful and relaxed berth, and after a good night’s sleep on board everyone awoke refreshed and ready for the next stage of the journey to Poole.
After breakfast and use of the excellent shower facilities in the Yacht Haven, we settled down around the cockpit table with a gentle introduction to passage planning. A simple view of the chart, tidal atlas, tide tables and the pilot guide – we talked through when the best time might be to leave for the easiest journey.
The passage past Hurst Castle is a picturesque one, with the iconic Needles Lighthouse and rocks ahead – but it can also catch the unwary with such a strong tidal flow. We agreed that a departure just before midday would give us the best of the tide behind us, helping us along on our way west.
With a clear blue sky, and virtually no wind, it was engine that pushed us on our way. Leaving the marina had been a chance for the crew to work as a team once again – co-ordinating slipping from the berth, making Kingfisher ship-shape and ready for the next stage of our voyage.
Underway now, it was time to take turns at helming, keeping the logbook up-to-date, and the first introduction to plotting our course and position on the chart for the novices.With The Needles Lighthouse behind us and the fairway buoy in sight it was time to use the gentle south-westerly that had returned and set our course under sail for Studland Bay and the entrance to Poole Harbour.
A welcome cup of coffee, and what was to become a Kingfisher event for this trip – “cake o’clock” – sampling the amazing cakes Emily had brought along, was interrupted by an excited cry from the lookout of “dolphins on the port side”! Two dolphins, clearly with lunch in mind, cruised lazily into the distance and the buzz from the crew lasted all day!
As dolphin watch continued, we used the gentle winds to try a few different points of sailing. Here Kingfisher made her own special contribution – with a self-tacking jib once set, the boat does all the hard work in changing tack. Without the distraction – acknowledging that the time will come to get used to sheet work – of sheets and winches for each change of direction our crew of novices could focus on steering and feeling the wind and tide on the boat. Joyous cries of achievement each time Kingfisher did as requested and changed direction!
With Studland Bay off our port side we entered the channel leading into Poole Harbour – making sure to keep a careful watch on the Studland chain ferry! Following the channel to Poole Quay Boat Haven and a well-orchestrated mooring to our pontoon – the novices now looking like old hands!
A warm, sunny, day and the inevitable (very wet) antics with a leaky hosepipe washing the boat down after a great sail of 23 miles, followed by a fabulous crew meal in Storm rounded off a perfect second day for our crew.
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