Nick gets a taste for Solent life

Herefordshire estate agent Nick Craddock and wife Jo have spent the summer taking their Fairline Phantom 43 around the coast of Britain, starting from Brixham in May.

They are raising funds for the RNLI through initiatives with local estate agents at each of their stop-overs.

Here is Nick’s latest blog:

Sunday, 20th July

Well here we are at 8.35pm on Sunday evening in Cobbs Quay marina Poole

Here’s how we arrived.

Friday morning saw yet more grey skies and a stiff westerly wind, however, as the plan was to pop round the corner to Cowes in the Isle of Wight we all decided a little more battering wouldn’t hurt! As it happened the sea was releatively calm so a slow diesel saving cruise avoiding the myriad yachts for the 10 miles or so was enjoyed by all.

Cowes is most famous for “Cowes Week” in early August, but was still busy now and most of the marinas were full. Still we managed to sneak into Cowes Yacht Haven and were offered a very tight berthing option right by the marina office. So some deft parking later (though I say it myself ) found the anchor a foot away at the front from a motor cruiser and the dinghy at the back tucked under the front of a yacht – oh and not a scratch!

A tour of Cowes High St was enjoyed following which a bus ride to Newport then East Cowes opposite saw us on the floating bridge ( a chain ferry that continually goes back and forth across the river) and so back to the boat to formalise plans for the next day.

As none of us had explored the IOW Yarmouth was favoured and so it came to pass.

Saturday found us basking in early sunshine till the clouds appeared dragged inexorably in by still more stiff winds. With only a few miles to travel west we said goodbye to Cowes and re entered the Solent. This time it was heaving with yachts so a slow passage allowed us to take easy avoiding action (Power gives way to sail) and soon Yarmouth hove into view. Missing the Lymingtom to Yarmouth Ferry was preferable so letting him go first meant he wouldnt be rocked by our wake – mmm – but soon we entered the harbour to be greeted by berthing masters in boats buzzing around – well berthing people!

We were led to 2 large posts with a gap between just big enough for us and said master took the front rope rom Jo passing it through the ring and back to the boat – repeated at the stern. We were in. It seemed however that no sooner had we come in the world the wife and his dog followed. We had a fairline Targa bash and bump his way to our starboard side to raft up ( Jim was heard to shout “what the flippin heck are you doing” or it was something that sounded like that – an apology was sent back and we had him tied up. Then a very swish Cranchi sports boat arrived on the port side, and with consumate skill gently sidled up to us and an easy roping up took place. We subsequently discovered he had the latest IPS drives (look them up in google)with joystick control and a computer to move a boat easily wherever you want to go.

Yarmouth is a pretty little town and walking through the narrow streets with quaint shops and even quainter pubs was very much enjoyed. We returned to the boat for yacht watching – they poured into the harbour all afternoon – then snoozing as obviously what we had had to endure was very tiring indeed!

Sunday saw Jim & Soo depart via ferry and train and finally car back to Sunny Herefordshire – we had a great time together – and we leave pretty Yarmouth destination Poole.

We had organised to meet one of our sponsors – Jeff Guest of J Guest LTD and his wife Jackie and friends Mark & Julie to take them for a round Poole harbour trip instead of the original plan of the leg to Weymouth. It so happened that the chap I bought the boat off – Mike Horsman was also there with Susie and so we had the pleasure of anchoring and rafting against them for the afternoon.

I appreciated Jeff’s knowledge of the harbour because it dries out all over, barr certain channels and having only a few feet under the keel is somewhat disconcerting – still we made it there and back without mishap. Now I am not going to tell you that our guests brought Champagne and we cooked a BBQ on the flybridge grill as it would almost certainly look like we were enjoying ourselves and as you are all aware this is a tough Round Britain experience so we shall leave it there!

We catch the 5.30pm lifting bridge and wend our way to Cobbs Quay – an MDL Marina up river – following a windy and tight channel we are guided by Melvin & Kay (friends from Brixham who had travelled up that morning by boat to see us) into a narrow berth that threatens to ground me at the rear on a mudbank if we get it wrong. Of course we don’t – ahem – and soon we are settled in and able to get out of that blessed wind.

With strong winds still forecast it is likely we won’t be leaving here until wednesday for Weymouth so I shall report in accordingly!

Read more on his Round Britain blog.