We were hoping to take Florence on a bit of a trip over Easter as we are due to lift out very soon now, and will then be on the hard until we set off in July. Unfortunately the weather gods decided that Easter 2016 would not be a gentle one on the wind front, Good Friday seemed to be the only ‘Good’ day for the weekend so we vowed to make the most of it.
As usual we had a few learning/testing tasks set for ourselves along the way, this trip it was flying the cruising chute from the spinnaker pole (now that we have fixed the pole), launching the inflatable dingy and fitting the outboard to it when afloat. Not difficult tasks but we wanted to see if there were any problems that needed to be fixed whilst we are on the hard.
The forecast was for sun and a northerly wind which would die just before lunch and then pick up from the south west around 3pm. This served very nicely for a day sail from Portsmouth Harbour to Priory Bay on the Isle of Wight.
We had a beautiful sail out of the harbour and hoisted the cruising chute once we passed Spit Sand Fort in the Solent, the breeze was dying but we sailed the vast majority of the way before it died completely and we had to motor the last little bit. Once anchored we inflated and launched the dingy (very easy), installed the outboard and motored in to the sandy beach. Here we came a little unstuck and got a little wet coming in through the 4″ high surf! Re-launching from the beach we should have just accepted we would get wet and waded in a bit, but we didn’t and as a result got even wetter. Things got worse when the engine cut out just off the beach, cue comedy attempts at rowing an 8ft inflatable with 2 adults in it, no room to use the oars properly without destroying someones knee caps. We made it back to Florence under oars where upon checking the engine over Matt spotted that the fuel flow lever was set to off, guess who turned it off when arriving at the beach, yep Matt, dunce of the day award won and plenty of apologising to Amy for the unnecessary comedy rowing. The engine worked much better once fuel flow was restored.
The sail back was magnificent, 15 to 20 knots of breeze with cruising chute and full main although we did break the spinnaker pole.. Unfortunately the old corroded rivets holding the downhaul fitting onto pole gave up the ghost but at least we know now and it should be an easy fix.
A beautiful day, now back to reality and the ever growing jobs list to get the house sorted for renting out.