I raised the anchor just after 8am, and was relieved to see I'd anchored just outside a sea grass conservation area - unmarked on the chart, and designated only by a few unlit buoys that I'd seen only in silhouette the night before.
Out of the harbour I found a light WSW and set all plain sail, and spent the next several hours juggling which wide to set the main and the jib to get best results. Eventually, off Anvil Point, we were rolling so much that the headsail was just flogging around whatever I did, so I furled it and carried on with just main held in place by a preventer. Really, I needed the jib boomed out, but my pole is too heavy and awkward to manage single handed.
With a favourable tide, and a gradually freshening wind, I made very good speed past St Alban's Head, Anvil point and across Christchurch Bay. I passed the Needles at just after 2pm, see picture above, and headed up into the Solent.
The Solent was VERY busy! This was a bit of a shock after months of seeing only isolated yachts - here there were fleets! Sailing with the mainsail held in place by a preventer was too cumbersome, so I found a relatively clear area of water, headed up to wind and dropped it. Out with the headsail - and none too soon. As I continued up the Solent, I reckon I used my knowledge of the Rules of the Road more in one day than the previous five months put together!
I hugged the northern shore of the Solent to keep out of the worst of the now foul tide, which meant I had to dodge the many vessels heading into Lymington. Once past them, things were a little less hectic, and I enjoyed being in home waters once more.
And so into the River Beaulieu and onto a mooring buoy for the night. One of my favourite overnight spots - beautiful and peaceful.
Log of this passage