Improv Cruising

It has been a satisfyingly unplanned sort of trip this year. We had a vague idea we might try and hook up with our Norwegian friends, but initially the winds proved uncooperative. Luckily we didn’t fight them, and this gave us time with our daughter on the East coast and a welcome opportunity to visit our Dutch friends in Holland. Later on we had intended to just touch at Shetland on the way home, but found it to be a brilliant place and luckily had the time to alter our schedule and spend nearly a month there. The forecast was not kind for a visit to Orkney , but it did deliver us to the Firth of Forth and a week at the Edinburgh fringe , which as spontaneous decisions go was one of our best. I think we may have hit upon the secret of successful cruising – improvisation.

The great advantage of not having a definite plan is that you can wait to make the winds work for you rather than have to fight them, and never was this more apparent than on our last leg home from the East coast. We were able to sit at anchor in the Walton backwaters in glorious sunshine, waiting for the high pressure to slip into the North sea and give us a fair breeze for home. Friday afternoon saw us beating South East to get outside all the Thames estuary wind farms , then right on cue the wind backed into the East to power us down on a reach to Dover by midnight. As frequently happens there was a sudden wind change at the South Foreland , and we dribbled to Dungenessin very light airs , after which the Easterly gradually increased to 26 knots , blasting us down the coast to the Solent in record time. It must have been our easiest Channel passage ever.

So here we are, still sitting on the boat 18 hours after arriving back at our mooring . Ben and Steph came to supper last night and the Foulkes joined us for breakfast ; anyone would think we don’t want our voyage to end! There is the small matter of Ben and Steph’s wedding in a fortnight to look forward to , and who knows , after that we might set off for an Autumn cruise .
But we won’t make any plans yet!

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