Sunday 1 May 2016

An Even Blusterier Day

If that's a word.
Anyhoo, Saturday was a sailing day that turned into a fairly brutal row.
Not wishing to turn this blog into a 'why can't the Met Office ever see it coming' rant, but the local hour-by-hour forecast showed the breeze sharpening to F3 gusting F5 in the afternoon, but in the event a squall came in like a train registering 25kn at Cambermet. That's mid F6 and it lasted for over an hour which doesn't count as a gust in my book.
All in all, I learned a lot yesterday.
First lesson was: remember to put on my lifejacket. I launched at 8 o'clock just as the tide was leaving the slipway (because I didn't want to get out of bed any earlier than I had to) and it was half an hour before I realised I wasn't wearing the bloody thing, by which time the slip was inaccessible behind a hundred yards of deep Havant mud, which is not a nice place to lose a boot.
The moment was captured by Andy Cunningham (there to inspect Snarleyow to gain info for his conversion of a similar hull). Note acres of Havant mud in the foreground.
I dropped in on the friendly kiosk at the mouth of Langstone Harbour for coffee and to consider if I was brave enough to go out on the Solent without one, mentioned my predicament to owner John and he very kindly offered to lend me his. Top man! Onwards!
I was, however, still a bit concerned about the wind so I took a reef in. Then, out in the Solent, the wind more or less died so I had to shake it out again. Another bit of useful experience gained.
On returning to the harbour to give John his bouyancy aid back I noticed nasty clouds circling the area, as you can see in the photo. This gave me a nice smug feeling that loads of people were getting rained on but not me. But it was clearly time to head back.
With the wind right on the nose and sharpening, I decided to get a bit of exercise and row, so down came the masts. Just as well, as shortly after the squall came through and it took me for ever to reach the slipway, inch by inch. If I had still had the rig up I would have gone backwards. Lesson: watch the real weather rather that rely on the Met Office.
To cap it all the slipway was infested by jet skis illegally buzzing about damn them to hell, and in the evening a massive filling dropped out into my dry martini.


Unknown said...

Sounds as though you were lucky, it's so easy to take your eye off the ball for a second and find yourself in "deep water" as a result.
I've done it myself.
Was determined to go rowing despite the fact that the wind was MUCH stronger when I arrived than when I'd set out. Decided to do my normal row, down river, out into the bay and round Dog Rock, some way offshore.
At least, I thought, since the wind was blowing down stream, I'd go to the river mouth and turn back if it looked too rough.
Having got there, it was obvious that conditions were well beyond what was safe, so I turned around.
As you describe, I inched back up stream, taking over an hour to retrace what had barely taken ten minutes the other way, and arrived at the slip.
Pretty knackered doesn't do it justice, I only just made it.
Even worse the harbour master was quite rightly "unimpressed".
"What an idiot", I thought to myself. Why didn't I just row up river as far as I could manage, then row down again easily with the wind and tide ?
No harm done, but it just shows how a moments thoughtlessness can turn around and bite you in the arse.
At least I didn't have to suffer the eternal shame of having to be rescued by the lifeboat.
A lesson learned.

Chris Partridge said...

Absolutely, Matt. One of the reasons behind my reluctance to go out in the Solent without a lifejacket was the fear that the lifeboatman that hauled me out of the water might call me a silly billy.
Or words to that effect.

Steve-the-Wargamer said...

Lessons learned and no one died.. don't be too hard on yourself... By the by,laughing out loud at the thought of you and a dry Martini... :o)

Bursledon Blogger said...

We had a similar weather experience cycling back from Keyhaven to Lymington, the "possibility of shower" turned out to be a full on deluge for half an hour or more, fortunately we managed to get to the Checkers just as it was starting so no too bad.