I have been singing the praises of winter sailing in these parts
, but it's important to note that this is a high latitude (above 50N) with correspondingly strong weather
, especially this time of year. It's really useful if you and your boat are just a little tougher than might be necessary in balmier sailing grounds.
This is what is blowing in tomorrow:
I got caught out in the start of this yesterday, sailing down to Yarmouth. I am sitting on my boat working, trying to close a complicated deal before the end of the year, and I get bored on my mooring
, so if I don't have to go up to London for meetings, I often slip my lines and go drop the anchor
in the Solent somewhere, or head
over to Cowes or down to Yarmouth, where I can plug
power, refill my water
tank, and do some provisioning
, plus take a break from my own cooking
in one of the local pubs.
It was almost dead calm when I started out, but the wind
blew up just as I got out into Southampton Water
, and by the time I got out into the Solent, it was blowing 25 to 30. With my destination
dead upwind. No big deal -- the Solent is sheltered water and the sea state in an F7 won't prevent forward progress. Plus I had an almost spring tide under me. That means wind
against tide, but with the piddly Solent waves that's not a big deal.
So I tacked down the Solent to Yarmouth, well reefed down because I was single
handed, and because I had not really rigged the boat for hard sailing. Below 30 knots is a little too little wind for my staysail and correspondingly reefed main alone (main reefed down to the top of the inner forestay), but with the fair tide I didn't care too much -- I was making 7 to 7.5 knots giving 9 or 10 knots over ground. The fair tide also narrows your tacking angle, getting you to windward more efficiently.
So I've been sitting here working and listening to the wind howl outside. Really pleasant when you're in a snug berth with the heat going. Tomorrow I have to sail back in what look like similar conditions. But downwind!