Starblazer - 24/06/2017 – Welcome to the English Channel!
Yesterday’s improvement in the wind happened sooner than expected. We
finally turned the engine off at 1450 and have sailed well ever since. In
fact we have only seen our speed drop to about 5 knots during the past 6
hours as we have had a west going tide knocking us back. It is, however,
about to change in our favour so our fantastic progress should be
maintained. Our day’s run was a wonderful 155.7nM which included 6
consecutive hours where we returned an 8 knot average! This speed does have
a potential drawback; we don’t want to arrive at the Needles Channel too
early to catch the tide through Hurst narrows though the adverse tide has
This morning dawned damp, drizzly and misty with visibility down to shadowy
outlines at 4 nM, the damp was increased by intermittent light showers and
wall to wall cloud cover. The rest of the morning was no better though the
weather has improved within the past 20 minutes. I even spotted some
shadows but the sun’s appearance was short lived. The skies have cleared a
bit and visibility is much better. The sea has changed from an unattractive
inkyblue/black to a lovely sea green colour, gannets are resting on the
surface and the swell has decreased.
We now expect to arrive at Haslar Marina, Gosport sometime between 12 and 1
tomorrow lunchtime though, of course, too much wind or too little wind can
still affect the ETA!
ETA updates on our blog page “www.yachtstarblazer.co.uk”, not on World
Cruising Club as that is moderated and hence delayed.
I have been checking the AIS and just popped up into the cockpit to have a
good look around. A shadowy vessel straight ahead alarmed me as he hadn’t
appeared on the AIS list. Back down at the Nav Station the alarm was going
off because he had suddenly appeared with a CPA (Closest Point of Approach)
of between 0.15 and 0.5 nM passing down our port side within 15 minutes. I
dashed back on deck and found he had altered course to starboard and I could
see his port side but it still looked like it might be rather close. When
we are running down wind, with the mainsail out one side and the genoa poled
out the other, our manoeuvrability is somewhat hampered, plus the waves were
swinging us about. The wind appeared to have veered so I altered course 5
degrees to starboard and, when the boat coped with that, I altered another 5
degrees. He passed half a mile away. By this time the sun had disappeared,
the clouds were back and the colour of the sea had darkened.
Last night’s dinner was Spaghetti Carbonara, tonight we will have steak,
sweet potato wedges and corn on the cob for our last dinner at sea.