The forecast winds duly turned up on Saturday morning, with 20-25 knots blowing in from the West. The skies looked pleasant though, with plenty of blue sky in between the scudding clouds, so off we set for our latest attempt to actually go somewhere.
We didn't have the most auspicious start - for the second time I had to get an unsuspecting passer-by to hold onto the bow of the boat so we could actually turn her up the fairway. (Moonshine only wants to turn her bow to the right when going backwards. All the berths we've been in so far have involved a left turn to get out. Add a wind from her stern to this and there's no way she's going to turn in the right direction). Once we got into the lock we got a stern telling off because we'd inadvertantly jumped the locking out queue. In the time between me listening to the VHF traffic to and from the marina and actually setting off, they'd started the usual wait-for-your-number-to-be-called routine. Ah well, I apologised profusely and it saved us an hour's queueing, so hey-ho.
Disappointingly not much to report from our intrepid passage to the wilds of Cowes. We had the tide with us all the way, but the wind absolutely on our nose, so we got plenty of tacking practice and plenty of water over the decks. Mark looks like a natural on the helm, though. I'm not 100% sure where we were just here. We don't look at quite the angle that we spent most of the trip.
Just to prove that we actually got some distance from Chichester this time, here's Portsmouth complete with Spinnaker Tower on the left and a Napoleonic fort in the foreground.
We eventually arrived in Cowes at about 5:00, rafting up at East Cowes Marina on the outside of four spiffy 42 foot yachts, and definitely looking like the poor relations. On our return from the pub we were greeted by the owner of Teflon II, who we'd tied up to. He was most put out that the marina had dared to tie up a 27' boat next to his 42' Moody, claiming that we were scraping his sides. (We weren't, I'd checked for two hours before we headed pub-wards and even moved his fenders lower to make sure that we weren't). He should have been pleased that the contrast with Moonshine was making his boat look even flashier than it was.