4 August 2010

The English Raid, five days sailing 100nm (361nm total)

My daughter and I tackled the Raid and had a most enjoyable few days. We spent the Tuesday night on board so we could leave Poole early on Wednesday to catch the tide round Hurst point into the Solent. We were lucky with the wind. F3-4 East of North, so reaching all the way. I only turned on the engine for about half an hour across Christchurch Bay when the wind died. Otherwise we sailed all the way into the Solent and then screamed round Hurst Point up to Keyhaven. It must have been the fastest we have sailed, but I had left my GPS at home, so had no measure. Keyhaven was a new experience. Tying up to a drying quay. I just about managed getting the ropes long enough to stop the boat dangling from them at low tide. I forgot that it is easy to step onto the boat at high tide, but that there would be a six foot wall to climb at low tide. We jumped off the bow onto the beach.

From Keyhaven the fleet sailed first to Newtown River, where I drownded my mobile phone. Then up to Cowes and up the Medina river for the second night moored at the Folly Inn. Big Barbecue in the evening and many interesting people. Crews and boats from Netherlands, France and even Vienna, and a big family form Moscow who came and borrowed a whale boat. Brave people. Many Swallowboats, so it was interesting to compare mine with them.

After the Medina we crossed the Solent and went up Southampton Water to Ashlett Creek. Total jamb going in on a too low tide. Everyone grounded on liquid mud. One crew made the mistake of jumping out and was in up to his thighs and lost a shoe. He was on Matt Newlands show boat which looked a little used by the time it reached the pontoon.
Then we all sailed out and up to the Beaulieu River, in what was claimed to be a race. I didn't know what the course was ("and then go round an orange buoy which is over there somewhere" was a little imprecise) and there was no finish line to claim honours at. We managed to sail all the way up to Bucklers Hard, which was satisfying. A beautiful location with a very good pub.
Next day a gentle sail back down the river and then beating up west and across to Newtown again. Some enormous yachts were practicing for Cowes week and looked very intimidating. One went aground, which raised our levels of schadenfreud a satisying amount. A couple of boats set out across the Solent in amongst the big boys. "Friedl's going for glory" was the radio message as his beautiful Swedish pilot boat ploughed through the bog black monsters. He made it. We waited for a gap before we went, but even then got borne down on by things twice our size and speed.
After lunch in Newtown we tore across the Solent on a F4-5 reach with a single reef. We could just about hold our own against Andrew Wolstenholme's Kite on that leg, but he left us behind as the wind slackened. It is all the junk I carry which slows me down. Up into Lymington for our last night at Royal Lymington Yacht Club.
Big dinner in the evening.Phil and I won a bottle of wine for beig one of the "two generational crews". The best sailor was Diego, a most wonderful little border terrier sailing on a Sailart 20. He had his own Swiss passport for foreign travel. A remarkable little boat dog. Phil wanted to kidnap him.
In the morning we set off back for Poole. We had the wind and tide against us the whole way, so we just motored, a five and a half hour pounding slog. It took us over an hour to get fully round Hurst Point against the current. Finally back in the relative peace of Poole Harbour after 100 miles and five nights on board. A good Raid.


  1. Well done Julian. I would like to do this next time with "Margherita" Jeremy

  2. Hi Jeremy. I think we saw you sailing into the Harbour entrance just as we came in on the end of our slog back from Lymington. It was good fun, your boat would have been widely admired.

  3. I'm a bit worried about your maths! 100nm on top of your previous total doesn't make 307...
    Much enjoying the blog. Keep it up!!

  4. You're right. I was never very reliable on numbers. Have put it more or less right. Nice to see I have gone further than I had thought.