At 7:30 am on the 11th, we motored out of the marina for the return leg. As we would not have a favourable wind or tidal stream we decided to motor for much of the journey. There was little wind and the choppy conditions of the evening before were replaced by calm. A large catamaran was making good use of the light winds but after raising the jib and staysail it soon fell behind us on route to Cowes. The Tillerpilot did most of the sailing apart from a few occasions where traffic forced us to dodge a number of larger boats running with the wind. Our speed over ground was little more than 3 knots though the log read a constant 5. The engine certainly had good run, but given our time constraints (the ferry back to Calais and a long drive to Belgium and the Netherlands) I was glad we opted out of sailing.
At an estimated hour and 20 minutes before reaching Yarmouth I called up the Harbour master on the VHF to request our return bridge opening. With this safely booked we ambled past the entrance to the Newton River and on into Yarmouth. We were a little early and asked to wait at the visitor pontoon but after a brief discussion on the VHF the harbour staff offered to open the bridge early as the car ferry had just left. So without further delay we approached our berth, fenders at the ready, a successful outing.
Not that everything was perfect. Before departure I had discovered that the toilet outlet seacock was seized in the open position and that the pump was not working properly. No toilet this trip. I also discovered that the depth sounder was in need of repair as it insisted that the Solent was never deeper than 1 meter. The main sheet
was a little too large in diameter for the blocks, the furling lines for the foresails chafed too easily, and the throat halyard stretched on route. All would need changing. But apart from some mix-up in the plumbing, (only hot water in the galley), and foul tasting water that made equally foul tasting coffee there were no show stoppers.
We had logged our first 35 miles with Eileen and she had proven to be a sure and pleasant sail. The real test would come at the end of the month when she would make her trip to Belgium.