Lymington-Beaulieu is barely a sail at all, so we were able to spend the morning in Lymington. Missy needed some contact lens solution. (She found out the painful way that the bottle she'd brought along was contact lens cleaner, not saline) and we needed to order some flowers for my mum's birthday on the Thursday.
I'd always mentally got Lymington down as a dull, grey town, so was surprised to see that it's colourful and bustling. It took me a while to work out that the only two times I've been there previously were in the evening out of season in April.
I said that Lymington - Beaulieu is barely a sail at all. This about sums it up:
The Beaulieu River is surrounded by the New Forest and is stunningly tranquil and beautiful. It's been owned by the Montagu family for centuries and development has been kept to a minimum, although Bucklers Hard was once a major shipbuilding centre when ships were made of oak, and was active as recently as WWII when parts of the Mulberry floating docks used in the Normandy landings were built there.
Once you get past the spit at the river entrance, channel markers become decidedly low-tech.
The marina is the opposite to Lymington, it's small and peaceful. On second thoughts they're not exactly opposite, they're both similarly and frighteningly expensive.
We headed over to the Master Builder pub at Bucklers Hard for a couple of drinks before we ate. On a calm and warm late summer evening, there can't be many nicer places to sit and listen to your dog beg for treats.
We even had the treat of encountering Tom Cunliffe holding court at the bar. Tom's probably the nearest thing to a British sailing celeb that we have. Apparently he'd been doing "A spot of yachting" that day, which I guess we were doing too. His boat, Westernman, is moored just down the river and is really rather beautiful.
Despite appearances, she's only ten years old, being built for Tom in the style of a Bristol pilot cutter.
All in all a very pleasant day indeed, although we did spend more time in the pub than actually sailing, but you can't be an intrepid adventurer every day.
Oh, and we actually cooked on the boat for once. Pasta, meatballs, salad and a very nice red.