22 July 2011

Day 2: Yarmouth to Lymington via Newtown River

I had no idea what time the Raiders would be arriving in Lymington, but thought it would be mid-afternoon. I spent a long time in the morning titivating the boat and wandering round Yarmouth in the sunshine. I was admiring Daisy G from the far side of the harbour when I suddenly realised that if I looked at her straight on from the stern I could see that her mast was not quite vertical, and probably never has been. That could account for why she tacks one way better than the other. Next half hour spent adjusting the lanyards on the shrouds.
The current was eastwards for a few hours, so I set out to go towards Newtown River. Complete contrast to the previous day. Barely a breath of wind off the land and warm sun in a mainly blue sky. I drifted along the coast for about six miles, with most of the work done by the current. I devised a very comfortable cruising position, stretched out along a side bench, leaning back against the stern coaming. Not a great view forward, but very pleasant. Off Newtown I eventually had to start the engine or I would have been swept past. I motored in and down the arms of the inlet very slowly. I have heard eulogies of the beauty of Newtown, but I was not greatly impressed. It is mainly mudflats, and nothing that special. I like the entrance area, where the shingle and sand banks are steep too and easy to land on. I landed on the west side and went for a swim. Cold. It is a nice spot to swim as you are in deep water quickly, but you have to be very careful of the strong currents or you will get swept away.
Motoring out I found that although there was a very strong inward current running, there was a large backeddy on the East side which allowed you to keep out of most of it.  Outside I set full sail and started towards Beaulieu River. A pretty gaff cutter was heading towards me and the crew seemed to be running around oddly. Then I realised they were putting a reef in. I looked up at the sky and thought I might just do the same. Good decision. Huge black clouds flew up, the wind got up and the rain poured down in under ten minutes. I completely lost sight of the land on both sides in the rain and had to genuinely follow my GPS for the first time. Without compass or GPS you could not have the slightest idea what direction you were sailing in, or if the wind was just blowing you round in circle. I set the course for Lymington and sailed that way for a couple of hours.
Eventually the rain stopped and I motored up the channel behind a ferry. Tied up near a Drascombe and a BayRaider and went for a walk around Lymington. Very pretty and more yacht chandlers than I have ever seen in one place. In the evening had a good meal with the Raiders in the Royal Lymington Yacht Club.

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