On this beautiful sunny April morning, waved off by family and friends, Nova left Bucklers Hard and slipped gently off down the Beaulieu river. This river has become familiar to us over the past year – gentle twists and turns through mudflats populated by many different species of birdlife; private pontoons leading to huge houses; Gypsy Moth IV, the yacht in which Sir Francis Chichester completed the first (and fastest) solo circumnavigation of the world from West to East; then finally past sandy Lepe beach out into the Solent.

There was only a breath of wind. Along with many others out enjoying the glorious weather, we chose to motorsail, turning east out of the river and heading towards the Isle of Wight to pick up the strongest tide sweeping us towards our destination for today. After a relaxed stop in Osborne bay at anchor for coffee and flapjack, we headed for Portsmouth, with the prominent Spinnaker tower as our landmark. The wind picked up and we put out the jib and crew Sam, with mum Kirsten, pulled ropes and kept a lookout as we managed an hour’s ‘real’ sailing, with Nova reaching 7 knots in 8 knots of wind – the skipper was very happy.

Now tucked up in the Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport with a lovely view across to Portsmouth and two iconic vessels – the Victory (still a commissioned warship and the flagship of the First Sea Lord) and Warrior, Britain’s first iron-hulled battleship – a ship I remember seeing as a child when she was used as a pumping station on the Cleddau river, gradually deteriorating. Now fully restored, she is a highlight of the historic dockyard.

After a wonderful, celebratory Casting Off party at Bucklers Hard yesterday, with many friends and family members, we are finally on our way. It seems appropriate that we are starting our journey on Easter Day, when so many people celebrate new life and hope. We are looking forward to the next six months.

Thanks for the cake, Caroline!
  • Nautical miles travelled: 21
  • Wind: E/NE 2-3


On our passage ‘Around These Islands’ Anne is writing about each trip, and Jonathan is writing some more ‘technical’ blogs, from our perspective as ordinary cruising sailors. We are sharing what we’ve learned, and welcome your thoughts too. Please remember that this blog – and your comments – are public.

There’s also a special focus on 12 key ports on our planned route, with articles from These Islands and a series of podcasts from Chrome Media called ‘Around These Islands in 12 Ports’.


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