Having crossed London with this little lot and having had to move along 3 coaches whilst on the move on a crowded Southern Rail train (which turned out to have to separate later into two portions), we arrived back on the boat ready to set sail on the 4th May. The bags held personal gear, a selection of our South Coast and Irish sea charts including some belonging to Phil Ham and most importantly, as it turned out, our old Autohelm tillerpilot.
Six hours was what it took to motor the full length of the Solent. We had thought it was going to be very busy with shipping crossing our route, but in the event we didn’t need to alter course at once apart from avoiding a couple of survey vessels.
Steering from the wheel puts you in a very cramped position which is not good for long stints. The wheel is in the wrong place and there is not enough legroom. Fortunately the tiller has been retained on these boats and there is a reasonable view over the coach roof from the stern.
We debated whether to make Yarmouth or Lymington our destination at the Western end but in the event elected to go to Lymington in case we needed to go ashore for spares.
Lymington is home to an amazing number of boats – we had to pass almost all of them because we wound up near the Town Quay which is situated just before the navigation is interrupted by a low railway bridge.
The Town Quay was quite busy and was probably going to get even busier so we moored between two buoys which was a first experience for us and was a good viewpoint and also peaceful.
The Harbour Master kindly offered to take us ashore in his launch in the evening and again the next day he took Chris whilst David fitted the Autohelm to the tiller as the prospect of steering by wheel for days on end was not at all appealing.