3rd October.  Another early start to catch the tide and take advantage of the weather. There are strong winds forecast from Friday, so we decided we would do another longish trip and get to the Solent today.  This time Serendipity left first and we followed at 6.25. The first glimmer of light on the calm sea enabled us to see any potbuoys (a constant hazard) or other unlit buoys (Serendipity sent us a message warning of an unlit metal buoy). Again this morning the sunrise was stunning.

Sunrise over the Jurassic coast

We had between 12 and 15 knots of wind on our beam, so we raced towards St Aldhelms Head in calm water, across the Lulworth firing range off Lulworth Cove.  Live firing doesn’t start until 0930 and we were past by 0900. The ‘Jurassic Coast’ of Dorset is beautiful, with high chalk cliffs and inlets. The cliffs near Swanage and Poole – Durlston Head, Old Harry rocks, Studland bay – are familiar territory from many years of sailing and visits to Jonathan’s grandparents. In the distance the distinctive shape of the Needles and the Isle of Wight grew clearer. The wind was gradually strengthening and as we reached the Needles channel there was a bit more swell, so we reefed, put on our preventer, and turned downwind into the Needles channel towards Hurst narrows.  

The Needles

As we drew close to the lighthouse the reality of ‘circumnavigation’ dawned on us: we were approaching the Solent from the west, and last time we were here, we had departed from the east. Jonathan recorded a little video, and couldn’t hide a smile of satisfaction. We haven’t circumnavigated the globe – it’s a modest achievement compared with some, but for us it was tremendously satisfying.

With the tide it was a speedy sail into Lymington, under jib only up the river, to moor up on Lymington town quay.  We will properly complete the circumnavigation on Saturday by sailing into Beaulieu, but in the flat waters of the Solent already we had a sense of having achieved our goal.

Nova at Lymington Town quay
  • Distance:38nm. Sailed 5h50m
  • Wind: S3-5


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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