We have unfinished business with the flagship of the Hardy range. Back in 2013, we joined the original version of this boat – the Hardy 62 – on a trip from Southampton to Ipswich in an attempt to give it a proper test in what would hopefully be some challenging conditions.

As it transpired, we left the Solent, crossed the wash of one tanker and then didn’t see another wave for about 200 miles. The boat performed beautifully, topping out at 33 knots, but the millpond conditions offered nothing to challenge the boat’s seakeeping.

Fast forward to March of this year and I am standing on a pontoon in Gosport that is covered in about four inches of snow and a howling wind is blowing flecks of the white stuff across the marina. Someone has built a mini snowman next to the shorepower outlets. The Hardy 65 has a snowy blanket draped over its broad shoulders and the bathing platform is like an ice rink.

The plan is to take the boat over to Guernsey early the next morning before she heads to her final destination of Jersey to meet her owner. The forecast is a world away from what we experienced on the 62, with winds mid-Channel of F7-8 gusting to 50 knots, 3.5m seas and temperatures barely creeping above freezing.

Skipper Nick and I pore over the ominous predictions for the next day’s conditions, conscious that our planned route would take us through the teeth of a strengthening mid-Channel gale.

Will the boat cope? Without question. Is it sensible to head into weather of this nature and potentially endanger the boat, ourselves and anyone who may have to rescue us if something goes awry when the trip is entirely avoidable? No.

The decision is made to head to Poole instead, but going around the south side of the Isle of Wight to poke the bow into the rough stuff and get a brief taste of how the boat deals with it.

Read the full report in the July 2018 issue of MBY.

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