This is the final instalment of my current sailing adventure for 2020!
After spending several weekends travelling to Plymouth to get the boat ready for sailing back to Brighton, the time had finally come for our final trip to Plymouth!
Although my husband and I have comfortably motored our previous boat to France and back in the past, we are still currently in the process of doing our Day Skipper qualification to enable us to safely sail our Yacht on longer journeys.
With this in mind, neither of us felt comfortable sailing our Yacht back from Plymouth to Brighton around the tricky bay areas by ourselves.
Thankfully, our friend Joe who has both his Day Skipper and Yachtmaster qualifications was able to assist us with the sail back to Brighton.
We were sailing back at the beginning of November, so not ideal sailing weather in the UK. We were also under pressure to get the yacht back to Brighton before the next UK Lockdown which commenced on 5th November.
This meant that we were not going to have a particularly relaxing sail with long hours spent at sea over a couple of days in a rush to get the yacht back home.
We had originally hoped to commence the sail on Monday 2nd November but the weather conditions weren’t ideal, so we spent further time having a run through with Joe of the boat inventory and doing some final preparations before we set sail on Tuesday.
I had come equipped with my camera equipment for the sail back which I wanted to document. I had brought my Leica M6 TTL, Hasselblad 500 C/M and also my compact Olympus Trip 35 camera’s.
On Tuesday we commenced the first part of our sail where we aimed to get to Portland Marina from Plymouth.
It was going to be very cold so I had to wrap in very warm sailing gear for the journey back. Here is a photo of me (taken on my husband’s iPhone) setting off for sail in the early morning as the sun is rising:
This photo turned out to be the calmest part of the journey just as we were leaving Plymouth marina. Unfortunately the sea, on that day was very rough and I basically spent most of the 12 hour journey harnessed in the cockpit, holding on for dear life! This meant that I didn’t manage to take any photos on any of my film cameras on that day!
Here is a video of my husband at the helm, along with Joe so you can see just how high the waves were on that day!
Here is a map of the journey we made on that day showing us during our journey, heading towards Portland:
We finally arrived into Portland at 8:30pm. It was too late to be able to get a meal at a restaurant and we were too exhausted to cook anything so we managed to get a chinese takeaway whilst we planned our journey for the following day.
After looking at the tide table, it was going to be another early start of 6am as we worked out the next part of our passage to Gosport.
We were all very tired the following morning and we didn’t end up leaving until around 6:30am by the time we did all the engine checks etc before we set off.
Thankfully the sea was much calmer on this day and I was able to help more at the helm with steering the boat and also the sails when we needed to tack.
Here is another map of part of our journey towards Gosport:
During this journey we also managed to stop and learn how to use the anchor on our Yacht.
It was another long day of sailing and we got into Gosport marina just as it was starting to get dark. We were very grateful to have Joe with us who helped to guide us into this marina which was difficult to see clearly in the dark and you really did need to have knowledge of the lit buoy types to guide us through to our mooring space correctly.
Fortunately, we arrived a little earlier into Gosport than the day before in Portland so we were able to get something to eat at the local pub around the corner from the marina.
We also managed to plan our passage back to Brighton before we had dinner. To my dismay, I discovered to allow for the depth of our boat to get out of the marina which had a low tide, we were yet again going to have another early start, this time we’d need to leave at 5:30am in the dark!
On Thursday 5th November, we set off for our sail back to our final destination of Brighton. By this point I was extremely tired (as we all were!) and was really struggling to keep awake. It was very cold over the whole journey even though I was in very warm sailing weather gear but my toes were still getting very numb by the end of the journey each day. It didn’t help that I didn’t move much as I was still getting used to being on a Yacht and was quite weary and careful whilst in the cockpit.
There wasn’t much of a wind, so we had to use the motor rather than the sails for the final passage back to Brighton. We estimated that would get into Brighton around 3pm.
My husband could see that I was struggling to stay awake that morning so suggested that I go back down to the lower deck and get some more sleep then we agreed that we would all take turns to get some rest with one person sleeping at a time whilst two remained on the upper deck steering the boat.
In the end neither my husband nor Joe ended up taking a much needed rest and I was in a very deep sleep but my husband woke me up at 11am. I thought it was to tell me to cover one of them whilst they rested but it turned out that the tide had been moving in our favour and that we were getting to Brighton quicker than we anticipated and we would be arriving around 12pm!
I was so relieved and hurried back up to the top deck so I could see the final hour of sailing before we got back to Brighton Marina.
In the end, over the last two days, I only managed to take photos on my trusty Olympus Trip 35 camera since it was easier to handle in the boat. I used some expired Fuji 200 colour film (since I’m trying to use up my current film stash rather than purchase more film!). Here are some of the photos of the journey:
Lastly, here is a photo of my husband and Joe re-fuelling the yacht at Brighton (taken on my iPhone):
Overall, I was really pleased to have been able to take part in this sailing journey. We were very impressed with how this yacht handled such poor weather conditions and have certainly not regretted our purchase! We now know from this experience that the yacht would comfortably sail to France, the mediterranean or even the azores.
However, I discovered from this experience that I’m definitely a ‘fair weather’ type sailor since I really struggled sailing for long hours in such cold and rough winter weather conditions.
I’m hoping over time, I will build up more of a tolerance to such sailing conditions. I’m very much looking forward to Spring/Summer in 2021 where sailing will be a much more enjoyable experience for me and I will hopefully complete my Day Skipper qualification.
I look forward to sharing more blogs with many more photos taken on my film camera’s as I take more sailing adventures!