Summer isn't over yet

I don’t know about the rest of you but I live for the boating season. The rest of the year I’m in a state of virtual hibernation. Sure, it’s punctuated by occasional crisp winter boating forays that ensure my pulse rate stays on the right side of flat-lining but most of the time I’m surviving on the memories of perfect cruising days past or looking forward to those to come.

Admittedly the weather has been pretty unkind to British-based boaters thus far. However, at the risk of sounding smug, my annual August holiday happened to coincide with two weeks of uninterrupted sunshine. It was bliss. One day in particular sticks in my mind so clearly that the memory of it will sustain me all winter long.

We’d planned a day trip from our home berth in Poole to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight. Nothing too strenuous given that my four-year-old son was on board but a round trip of around 40 miles is still enough to stretch my Karnic’s legs. The forecast was for patchy sun and Force 3-4 winds swinging round from NE to SW as the day went on.

As luck would have it the sun stayed out all morning and we caught that wonderful oasis of calm between the offshore breeze dying and the onshore one starting up. We skimmed across to Hurst Point at 26 knots. The waters around the Needles looked so calm that we decided to change tack, skirting around the famous lighthouse and tucking into Scratchell’s Bay at the foot of its towering white cliffs. For a while we were one of only two boats there, surrounded by water so eerily still it was like staring into a vast blue sapphire, watching rays of sunshine refracting onto the polished chalk rocks below. We swam, we sunbathed, we shared a cold beer, then zipped back round the corner for lunch in Yarmouth, followed by a gentle pootle up Newtown Creek to watch the curlews probing the shallows with their improbably long beaks. The journey home was just lumpy enough to keep our hair wet but our smiles wide.

It’s days like this that make it all worthwhile and explains why I and thousands of others like me will shortly be making our way to the Southampton Boat Show to start the dreaming all over again. You can kick start the process by reading up on our pick of the new model launches beginning on p27 or turning to p138 for Peter Cumberlidge’s selection of the best cruising restaurants around our coast. In the meantime, here’s hoping for a few more days of sunshine to ensure those memory banks are fully stocked come November. The summer isn’t over yet.