We left the VHF on Channel 23 all night Wednesday night, listening in a half sleepy stupor of force 5 – 7 winds and the odd promise to drop to around force 4. Those of you who know Wight Mistress will know that she needs at least a 4 to get going.
As the dulcet tones of the on-watch Solent Coastguard operator (our friend Garry Hall, who is also an RYA Examiner, ex Army Skipper and all round bon oeuf) washed over us with more of the same, we thought ‘$£%$% it, let’s go anyway’
Up at 0435, we decided that if it was going to blow a bit, we would take off the trusty (and horrendously baggy) giant genoa (sail at the front for the uninitiated) and fit our brand spanking new one (a bit smaller, wrong colour protective strip but who cares.)
We slipped from Newtown Creek at 0550, the engine running for precisely 10 minutes just to get two sleepy people out of Newtown Creek while hoisting sails and generally making Wight Mistress look ship-shape and Bristol fashion.
7 good tacks later (that new genoa is GOOOOOOODDD!!!!) and we were at Bridge westerly cardinal mark 0745 ( a good point to turn south, even if the overfalls were having a good morning. Engine on for another 5 minutes to push us through the lumpy stuff and then we settled in to a flying beam reach all the way to the eastern entrance to Cherbourg, arriving and dropping sails just outside marina at Port Chantereyne at 1945 BST (2045 French Summertime) From now on and until further notice, Wight Mistress Standard Time is French time (summer for now)
Oh boy, talk about knackered. It was a lively ride across. WM was literally flying along at up to 7 knots, unheard of before the new feathering prop, clean hull and spanking brand new sail. It was really exhilarating – not normally a word associated with Fishers. Stats: Average speed 5.4 knots, max 7.5 knots
3.6 litres of diesel consumed in the whole trip. We went straight to bed and didn’t wake until 1050 this morning.