Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Rolling Down Channel

The morning after the Swale race Tim and I woke at 5 am to find a fine dawn with a light Easterly breeze.  We set off accompanied by four or five other gaffers and motored most of the way to the North Foreland after which the wind built up enough to be useful.  We had a fine fair wind sail down channel, rolling along past the Kent and Sussex beaches and cliffs under a blue sky in bright sunshine at a steady 6 - 7 knots.  We felt sorry for all the poor people ashore trying to avoid getting heatstroke.  We were still going well when we passed Beachy Head at dusk.  But off Brighton the wind eased away and we motored through the night and most of the rest of the way to the Solent.  Still, we had a run from the Swale to Gosport in 30 hours which is pretty good.  We tied up in Haslar Marina and went in search of showers and a late cooked breakfast - both very welcome after a night at sea.

STS Tenacious

Portsmouth harbour is always interesting as there is so much traffic on the water and many interesting boats. The first picture above shows the Training Ship Tenacious. She is a newish wooden square rigged ship that is adapted for taking disabled crew members. This does not by any means restrict her to gentle cruising.  She recently returned from a round the world trip which included a stormy passage in the Southern Ocean and round Cape Horn which was distinguished by a record quantity of broken crockery.

Hugo Boss

The second picture shows the Hugo Boss, here motoring along quietly. This high technology sailing boat rises out of the water on hydrofoils and can achieve speeds of 30 - 35 knots during ocean passages. There are some dramatic videos of her achieving amazing speeds in rough conditions.

The third picture shows the new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth viewed here from the Gosport waterside gardens. The QE is huge, and the entrance to Portsmouth harbour has had to be specially dredged and straightened to enable her to squeeze in.  New marker posts have also been installed to guide her safely in.  There is obviously no margin for error.  She may have state of the art defences and no doubt will be a formidable fighting force when she has some aircraft on her decks.  But she wouldn't be much use protecting British interests on the world stage if she couldn't get out of port.  What would happen if some unfriendly power perhaps sabotaged a cross- channel ferry so it sank in the entrance to the harbour?  No doubt there are top secret contingency plans to prevent this sort of thing, which are not obvious to a couple of tired yachtsmen.

On a more mundane level, there are a couple of gaffers here in preparation for the Cowes Rally - East Breeze, and Rosebud, an impressive looking nearly new steel gaffer from Gravesend in the Thames.

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