18 September 2015 | Beaulieu River, UK 50’27.32N 2’32.09W – Hayling Yacht Company, Hayling Island, UK 50 48.27’N 0’58.24W via Wicor Marine, UK
Every good story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. In the story there should be tales of daring doo mixed with emotional ties and surprises should jump out at you when least expected. Most important of all, the story’s ending should be setup with a sequel in the offing. Ruffian’s story has ended and maybe, just maybe, there will be a sequel.
The final pages of Ruffian story couldn’t be written on lightweight paper as it would have been blown away by yet more gales, severe gales and storm force winds. As we ventured into the Solent bound for our final destination, the forecasts proved to be right and Chichester bar would be a world of white foamy water threatening to break poor Ruffian. After 30k miles, and being so close to home, breaking Ruffian was not high on the wish list. Cowardice and not foolhardiness were the order of the day.
It’s not often that Portsmouth is a welcome sight but its huge natural harbour beckoned as safe refuge. We flew past its landmarks and as always were wowed by the prowess of our navy from years gone by. HMS Warrior stood guard and HMV Victory brimmed with guns while a solitary brand new Type45 stood forlornly in the shipyard.
The next day the winds abated and the final paragraphs of our story could be written, but not without more tales of daring doo.
We were not bound for an idyllic deserted harbour where we would bob quietly at anchor, we were bound for a yard, up an unmarked creek, where there’d only be inches of water under Ruffian’s keel and our chart plotter showed only tree’s, grass and fields.
After sailing around the tree’s, past a grassy knoll and leaving the field to port, Ruffian was finally tied up. There was however a big question mark; we had just 30cm of water under our keel and by low water we expected the tide to drop by a massive 3.5 meters. What would happen when the tide went out?
As the tide deserted the creek, Ruffian touched down into the soft mud, and kept touching, and kept touching, until finally we were literally high and dry. This was a mud spa in the extreme and it felt so very very peculiar.
Thankfully as the tide returned Ruffian didn’t remain stuck and she popped out like a little cork. It was then time to end the adventure, block her and chock her and watch the last drops of water drip from her keel. As the little puddle under her keel took form it was as if she were crying. We were all sad that the adventure was over and Ruffian’s last ocean had been crossed.
Like all great stories we were to end on a high. With Ruffian safely ashore we were welcomed into the warm folds of Iain’s family. Matthew and Imogen were as full of life as ever, their children Henry and Scarlett brimmed with energy all under the eye of Iain’s proud parents.
The final words had been written in Ruffian’s story. We’ve been to some amazing places, had some life changing experiences and learnt more than we could ever have imagined. But one thing remains the same. It’s the people you meet on a voyage that make it a great voyage and its family that makes it worthwhile to return home.
The Spinnaker Tower, towers.
While HMS Warrior guards.
Ruffian weathers the gales deep in Portsmouth harbour.
There is all sorts of traffic in the Solent.
The water is serene in Chichester Harbour.
That is a very funny type of water.
Ruffian is high and dry.
But gets even higher and even drier.
All our ground tackle is on the ground.
Ruffian is chocked and put to bed.
Batteries off. A first in 4 years aboard.
We are turning into dirt dwellers.
Where we are ‘home’.
And surrounded by a ‘normal’ family.
*If you’ve read this blog and followed us on our travels then please leave a comment. We’d love to have your thoughts.