The glorious sun has definitely been kind to me so far. I know I will get my fair share of not so nice weather in due course but so far, choosing the UK over the Caribbean is ok by me!
I got the mountain bike out on Thursday and had a great ride up to Beachy Head. Last time I biked it up there I did what most blokes do when you get on a bike and became 10 years old again. I came hurtling down the hill and wiped out in front of about 10 OAP’s having afternoon tea in the cafe at the bottom of the hill. They laughed as I spat grass out of my mouth and walked back up the hill to pick my glasses up. I had to get back on that horse and this time when I went passed the same spot I got away with it. Great ride, I loved it.
Yesterday I spent the day with the Nurse family. Justin took me for a spin around Hastings old town in his beach buggy. The beach buggy is brilliant, a total laugh and it has the same effect on Justin that my bike has on me which is a good thing. No one really enjoys acting their age do they? Fortunately what with Justin’s hazel hair he can get away with that!
Dinner was mob handed at an Italian restaurant for a fine feast. Thank you family Nurse – it was a great day.
Today I did what I said I wouldn’t and that was to head out without any wind and motor all the way to Chichester which took about 8 hours. I think the wind is due to blow out of the west after this weekend and I didn’t fancy beating against that but once in Chichester Harbour there is loads to see and do so I decided to get it done rather than be faced with a tough sail against the wind or staying put in Eastbourne for a few more days. Also, the old dear is coming to see me tomorrow for a couple of days and we planned that to be in Chichester so I wanted to make it happen.
Unfortunately that meant leaving in thick fog this morning. That makes it the fourth time ever that I have been out in the fog but the first time that I have volunteered to be. I think its better to learn by putting yourself in that situation rather than being caught out by it and with AIS and radar there really shouldn’t be an issue especially as there isn’t the shipping traffic that there is at Dover. When I called the harbour master to ask if I could lock out of Eastbourne I was wondering if there was a hint of ‘Are you sure about that son?’ in his voice but I hoped I was imagining that and out I went. Blimey, I wouldn’t have seen any less if I had sh*t in my eyes! It was so thick but I avoided the temptation to stare blankly ahead and instead I followed the same track (in reverse) as I did on my way in and trusted the radar. There was nothing visually to get a fix on so I relied on the chart plotter for my position which I kept plotting on the paper chart as a back up. The radar was picking up everything including Beachy Head and a few fishing boats and after about an hour and a half the sun finally burnt through and there was Beachy head. I don’t know why it was a surprise to see it there when the radar and chart plotter were telling me that the whole time but still, it was! Lovely when the fog lifted, and relax!
In my last post I said ‘the auto pilot didn’t miss a beat’. Why did I say that? Today it missed a beat and stopped completely. It has never done that before in three years of sailing this boat. I was actually on the foredeck starting to write this when I noticed that the sun was on the side of my face where it had been behind me and thats what made me realise Fiesta was off course. I managed to get it back online again but it crashed completely a couple of hours later and didn’t recover so it was hand steering from that point. Obviously I would have preferred it not to go wrong but that’s boats for you. A job will always present itself and I’m living the dream with this trip so I don’t really care – I will get it sorted…….
Getting into Chichester Harbour was easy and for the first time on this coast I saw single figures on the depth sounder over the shingle bar. It got down to 9 feet and I felt like I was back on the East Coast again.
I anchored up, launched the dinghy and took Max ashore. What a lovely place this is with a stunning sunset and the smell of beach bbq’s to complete the picture. Getting here is a bit of a milestone for me because this is the furthest I have been on Fiesta and being in a brand new place makes me appreciate that I am now properly on my way! Happy days!
Time to tidy the ship – VIP turning up tomorrow!
The fog (again), thick, going and nearly gone!