This short hop was a Yacht Delivery on behalf of Robin Townsend and his wife Belinda. They’d just purchased a fantastic new yacht, a 37ft Hanse called “Hullabaloo”.
DELIVERY STATS: Distance: 250nm. Duration: 32 hrs. No. of hours with engine on: 2hrs. Wind range: 15kts – 40kts. Average Speed: 7.8kts! Skipper: Matthew Kotze. 1st Mate: Lyle Skipage
On arrival to the yacht in Hamble, we did the usual handover. As the owners were stepping off to head home back to Essex, they dropped their car key in the harbour!
And unfortunately, not the usual metal type of key. One of the fancy, plastic ‘not a key’ key! We tried the magnet trick, but there must not have been any metal in the key at all. There was nothing for it but to dive down, I’m not a fan of harbour water to say the least. But, beyond the call of duty and all that! Unfortunately the tide must’ve carried the key away, because it was definitely not there anymore!
We departed next morning, after getting the main on. We were hardly off the pontoon, when a lovely, very British, torrential downpour soaked us to the bone. A sign of things to come!? Definitely!
We did however get very good Solent sailing! She took off from the start at 7+ knots. (Mind you, the Volvo Ocean boat Abu-Dhabi did sail circles round us.)
Sailing downwind in a F5, we made great progress. The speed never dropping below 6kts.
By the time it was my 4am watch we were already approaching Goodwin Sands (A sandbank thats reported to have claimed more than 2000 vessels) On its eastern side, sits the East Goodwin Lightship, which if kept on the port side going North guides you safely round the sandbank.
Coming up onto a beam reach, sent our speed soaring, we were averaging well over 10knots. We passed the London Wind Array in no time.
As we began tacking up The Kings Channel, an almighty Gale kicked in. The breeze was gusting 40knots. The last 20miles therefore was a tough sail, torrential rain made the visibility very poor and so tough to be tacking up the relatively narrow channels of the Thames Estuary.
The approach to the River Crouch is not much easier. No real landmarks and lots of semi-submerged mudbanks depending on the state of tide!
Due to a concern that the engine was running a bit hot, we decided to sail all the way up. It was a blessing really, as once were in the river. The sun came out and it really was a lovely sail!
We arrived at Fambridge with more than enough water to get in. And so after a big clean up and rig-check. The yacht delivery was done. Thumbs Up to all!