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Cruising Season 2023 Gets Underway!

After what seems to have been a very long winter we finally got round to slipping the lines and raising those sails again for our 2023 season 🙌🏻 Follow our blog as we continue our sailing adventures along our beautiful coastline, documenting our sails and places explored. And don’t forget to give us a follow on either Instagram or Facebook for more up to date photos and info.

But first up…..Haul Out!

After departing our winter berth in the beautiful Bembridge Harbour on the Isle of Wight (we’ll really miss this place 🙁) we headed to Kingston Boatyard in Cowes for a lift out. It had been 22 months since our last haul out so a much needed check down below was needed! Fortunately she was looking good and it was also a great, secure place to leave her whilst we travelled back to the mainland to visit family and friends before setting off.

We changed the sail drive oil and shaft seals, a number of anodes, polished the hull and re-anti fouled. We did these jobs ourselves to help save us some much needed pennies which was needed for our lift out, storage and re-launch bill which came to £735.74, but I suppose this was 28 days on the hard! But we can highly recommend Kingston, they really took the time when lifting and blocking off and a big shout out needs to go to Ben and John for looking after her so well! Plus it’s worth checking out their seasonal offers, in particular their summer deals if you can hold off getting lifted until later in the season.

On the hard

A blissful downwind sail to Totland Bay

After re-launching and refuelling in Cowes our season could really begin. And what a great way to ease us back in with a beautiful downwind sail to Totland Bay. With 10 – 12 knots of wind and the tide in our favour we flew down the coast at 7 knots before anchoring in the bay at 50°40.839N 001°32.984W.

Totland Bay

Slightly concerning was the following sight!…

Motorboat on the rocks in Totland Bay

Never a good feeling when the only other vessel in your anchorage is on the rocks!😬

Onwards to Studland

Once again we could only stay the one night in this beautiful bay. With the Easterly wind set to shift round to the South West this bay would soon become untenable. So we weighed anchor and proceeded back towards the North Channel – after our rather uncomfortable exit out through the Needles Channel last year we didn’t fancy this route again! Our waypoints were set as follows:

WP1 – 50°42.000N 001°33.000W by North East Buoy
WP2 – 50°42.700N 001°35.600W by North Head Buoy
WP3 – 50°38.800N 001°56.000N – Studland Bay

This was a very rolly sail. With the wind at around 20 knots from our rear port quarter we settled on a third reef in the main and a reefed head sail. As it had also been Easterly winds for the previous week the swell was rather unpleasant and made for a rolly old sail. We were glad to eventually arrive into Studland where we picked up an Eco Mooring from BoatFolk. These are currently free to use, and hopefully that will remain the way, and have a decent pick up line and a large hoop on top for feeding a back up line through.

Eco Mooring in Studland Bay

We also timed our visit perfectly to watch the local SBS (Royal Marines) practicing in the bay, an unexpected treat!

SBS in Poole Bay

Short Stays at Poole Quay Boat Haven

If you’re in the Studland/Poole area then it’s worth noting that you can pop into Poole Quay Boat Haven for a short stay for just £7.50 for 4 hours. Located, as the name suggests, right on the quay it’s perfect for exploring a bit of Poole, in particular the quayside and Old Town. Further up into the town you’ll find a number of High Street shops, the Dolphin Shopping Centre and a Sainsbury’s supermarket. There is also an Aldi and an Asda close by, and a Force 4 Chandlery, perfect for those necessary supplies! However if you fancy overnighting the price is £5.11 per metre, which increases again in July and August 😬

However we opted to stay for a couple of nights as we awaited some deliveries and fortunately it was a good decision as the UKOPRA Offshore Championship were holding their first round in the area and as such using Poole Quay Boat Haven as their base. We got to see these absolute weapons up close, chat to some of the crews and hear them as they departed – what an incredible noise!

Powerboats at Poole Quay

Moorings in Poole Harbour

Unfortunately Poole Harbour is not really kitted out for the cruiser, which is such a shame as it really is a beautiful harbour. Most of the harbour has been taken up with seasonal moorings by Poole Harbour Commissioners and the local yacht clubs and the anchorages are limited and tight. The harbour has an average depth of only 50cm so caution is needed when navigating around a lot of it!

Last year we anchored in the South Deep which was beautiful but slightly stressful due to the swinging room and it being springs. There is also another small anchorage area off of Pottery Pier on Brownsea Island but that’s about it. We have seen the odd boat anchored at the end of the moorings at Lake Pier, in the Wareham Channel and just past the buoys near the Ferry Turning Area but apart from that you would need to try and get a mooring buoy.

Lake Yard offer daily swinging moorings, currently £15 – £30 per day depending on length, and their water taxi costs a whopping £8.00 for a single trip during the week – not sure how far they take you for that price!🤣 We called Poole Yacht Club who said that they possibly could accommodate us but we would need to radio on the day. In 2020 we tied up to a pontoon just through the bridges in Holes Bay belonging to Poole Harbour Commissioners, which cost us £84.20 for 7 days but not sure if this is something that is still on offer. Poole Moorings and Jetties also used to offer swing moorings which were a very reasonable £15 a night (2020) but again not sure if this is still an option as we couldn’t get hold of them on the phone.

Poole Harbour with Brownsea Island in the distance

Also if you do manage to find somewhere to park up (which isn’t one of the expensive marinas!) then finding somewhere to land your dinghy is difficult. The safest bet we have found is Poole Quay Boat Haven who charge £5 for 4 hours but you’re right in the town. Most other places are either not very accessible or very secure. Back in 2020 we did land at Rockley Boat Park and once at Parkstone Bay Marina, both of which seemed slightly bewildered at what we were asking but eventually allowed us to stay for a fee charge 🤣 But do note that these are a little further out of town, in particular the one at Rockley.

After a couple of weeks loitering in this beautiful area of the world it was time to continue our adventure west with a sail down to Dartmouth. Check our next blog for details on our night sail to Devon!


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