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Sailing West to Poole: Cruising Season 2022 Starts!

Welcome to our sailing season 2022! As we cast off follow our journey as we sail west along the beautiful UK coastline. Here we will share details of the routes we take, the places we visit, the highs and the (hopefully not too many) lows!

Welcome aboard…

First stop…Totland Bay, Isle of Wight

We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our cruising season for this year. The sun was beaming down and we had just a few knots of wind, perfect to ease us back into things! We slipped our lines in the beautiful harbour of Bembridge, which had been our home for the winter, approximately 2 hours before high water. This allowed us 1.9m of tide to get out through the harbour and over the bar at the approaches.

VIDEO: Departing Bembridge Harbour

Motoring up the coast the boat felt great, she was back out where she belonged. As we past Cowes the wind picked up and we were able to sail down the coast and out through the Hurst narrows. Our waypoint for Totland was set at 50°41.32N 001°33.540W, close to ‘Bell Warden’ starboard can, as advised on eOceanic’s website. We eased ourselves in to the anchorage, be careful if you are approaching as there are a few lobster pots around here, before finally dropping the hook for the night, some 4 and a half hours after departing.

We had chosen Totland Bay as our first stop off because the wind was predicted Easterly over night and before long it had dropped right off, allowing us to enjoy a beautiful sunset. However at around 2am we were woken by a terrific thunderstorm, always a little unnerving when you are sat with a big mast in the middle of it all 😬 But, needless to say, we watched and marvelled at Mother Nature unleashing her fury, whilst silently both crossing our fingers and praying she didn’t hit us!

VIDEO: Thunderstorm over yacht at Totland Bay, Isle of Wight

Sailing out the Needles Channel and over to Poole

Once the storm had passed we both had one of the best night’s sleep we had had in a long time, and awoke ready to tackle our next passage. Unfortunately day two wasn’t as nice weather wise as day one. With our foulies on we weighed anchor at 1.30pm and radioed NCI Needles for a sea state at the Needles. They advised us that the sea state was slight, so we raised the main to reef two as a precaution and headed out. The wind was sustained at around 14knots and well, we’re starting to think that when someone now tells us the sea state is ‘slight’ we should take that as it probably being slightly more than what you were expecting!😅 The waves were big, rolly and very uncomfortable! We kept the main centred as the boat was getting pushed about by the waves, but as always she ploughed on through, unfazed by it all. We, however, had very disconcerted looks on our faces!

Once out of the channel we turned to starboard and started our passage across the bay. The wind had swung to more of a North Easterly and we were able to turn off the engine and sail. However the sea was still rather confused and it made for quite an uncomfortable sail. Low water in Poole was at 16.33 and the flood tide was not due till around 17.30 so we weren’t in a hurry.

We approached the harbour entrance at approximately 17.45 and the spring tide was whipping us in. It was then that the Sandbanks Ferry which goes across the entrance decided to make his move causing us to pull a rather evasive manoeuvre and turn around. With the tide dragging us backwards towards the ferry we really had to give it some beans to get her going forwards. A rather scary and stressful moment!

Once safely through the harbour entrance we were cautious of the depth going round to our chosen spot for the night, the South Deep. As it was springs we wanted to allow us a little more tide so we proceeded along the main channel to drop the sails close to the start of the Wych Channel. We then turned back towards the entrance, going against the tide for a bit, before making our turn into the channel to take us to the South Deep Anchorage.

The channel into the South Deep is marked well by port and starboard markers however be careful as the channel does shallow up quickly in places. After a long and tiring day we were happy to drop the hook and get some dinner into us. This would be our base for the next couple of days.


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