Cruising Logs: 2007 part 1.
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An auspicious start                 

The weather in the 8 weeks preceding our holiday had been universally horrible, with ( apparently) La Nina sending the Atlantic jet stream South and giving us  floods and a Scottish climate instead of a summer. Thinking we were in for more of the same, we stocked the boat with a veritable library of books in case we had to hole up for extended periods. To our delight however, as we thrashed out of the Solent into 25 knots of SW wind, the Met office was predicting that the next front would presage, of all things, a Northerly!

The rain poured down on our anchorage in Studland , and we set our alarm for 0430 which  was when we believed the front would clear. And it did , right on time, Quick as a flash we were under way with the kite up , surfing past Peveril point and heading South in 25 knots ( more than we had bargained for – it was 10 when we hoisted !) . There was a big SW swell and a rapidly building N sea – which made for pretty boisterous conditions – but progress was good.

  Gradually the wind eased , and the boat was tossed around in the cross seas with the inevitable result that just on the edge of the shipping lanes we got the mother of all spinnaker wraps – not just one – but 6 times round the forestay and stuck fast.

It was too rough to go up in a chair , so once the air had turned less blue , we put the engine on to avoid the 6 ships that had inevitably appeared to be coming to see our embarrassment . Lo and behold , with the wind nearly dead astern the wraps started to come out one by one , propelled by just the right kind of friendly back eddy  from the mainsail. We had had visions of having to divert to   Alderney to untangle it all in public view , so this was a very welcome miracle . With two wraps left we leapt into action – clawed the kite to the deck  and rehoisted with a small jib up to avoid a re-run.

 The skies now cleared and we spent the rest of the day alternatively motoring and sailing as the wind came up and down , so that we could take our tide through the Alderney race and down to Jersey . The last 2 hours provided us with a fine NW sea breeze to propel us to St Catherines Bay , dropping the kite outside the mole and swinging in to anchor,  eat and fall into bed after a splendid start to the cruise.


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