Paddles with an Anas acuta...... unashamedly biased toward the sea kayak of that name (actually the voyages of two boats, one 'traffic over gold', one 'quill')

Monday, 14 May 2012

Only too true!

Last week I posted a thought that the empty sea was too good to last. What a difference a spot of sunshine makes! What a difference a week makes! On Sunday every sailor and his dog was out on the water.
Our intention was The Nab Tower, but the forecast 'variable 3 or less' turned into S 3-4-5. After a couple of hours we were only half way, at the Dean Tail complex of buoys. The tide would have turned before we reached the Tower, so we turned tail and headed for the beach.
Surfing down the waves, half an hour later and with 10.8nm under the belt, were back having our lunch on dry land. There should be lots of sea for everyone, but we had some close encounters with racing 'Victory' class yachts crossing our course. Wind shifts meant they were not maintaining a steady course, trying to pinch their way up wind, so it was difficult for us to avoid them and they had no intention at all of avoiding us, suddenly swerving to and fro at the last moment as we thought we had scurried clear. We were still paddling the Winter rules of looking out for others and plenty of sea for all. We must now adjust to Summer Solent rules; the devil take the hindmost, sauve qui peut, and watch out for my lovely turned up tail!

Lovely boats sailed by lovely people, maybe not when they are racing and you are smaller, slower and have little time to manoeuvre. The boats do look great even at close quarters.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Eastney to Nettlestone Point

Setting off from Eastney on Bank Holiday Monday afternoon we had the sea to ourselves. The wind S 3-4 was supposed to have dropped, but continued into our faces, raising a lively sea. Especially at the Eastney entrance where the wind against the spring tide ebb had waves steep enough to engulf the entire boat and break down my neck.

We had to wait for someone bigger than ourselves, this, and a French ferry, compounded by the head wind, meant it took 2 hours for the 5nm despite a favourable tide. A brief stop for an expensive Isle of Wight ice cream and we were homeward bound.

The wind now died to nothing! typical! but with the sea flattening off and the tide that had reversed and got itself into gear during our 10 minute break, it was only 1 hour 15 minutes for the return. A fine watery sky over Portsmouth made a backdrop to an empty sea. How much longer will we have the sea to ourselves? Normally by May the yachts and motor cruisers have come out of hibernation, but the long spell of cold weather is keeping them in their marinas.