Posh Bingo

Day 16 – Swanage to Gosport – 5th June – 35 nm

Another early start, once again to sneak inside a weather window. Winds are forecast for 11:00 so I want to get through Hurst Narrows and into the Solent by then. Out of Swanage and away, the following wind blows me beneath grey skies, enough chop to get some good surfs but not so big to be a problem. I enjoy the conditions and I make good progress, ticking along close to 6 kts – life could be worse.

It’s a while before the Isle of Wight can be seen through the murk, but I’m glad to see it, I guess I’m going the right way.

The wind comes in a few minutes ahead of time but I'm not far from the Narrows now. I’ve not paddled Hurst Narrows on the flood before, it’s pretty fast, confused and choppy, don’t piss in now Fatboy, but I zoom through at 9 kts or so. I worked hard to get here ahead of the wind and now I can relax a little in the shelter of the Solent. With a following wind and a good tide I zip up the channel, just trying not to get run over by all and sundry.

The radio waves are jammed with race talk; it’s a good opportunity to play ‘Posh Bingo’. Get 3 radio voices in a row, each posher than the previous and ‘Bingo!’ – you win! On a busy day in the Solent it is too easy though, it has to be 5 in a row.

The Solent’s also a good place to play ‘Dim Bingo’ – but that’s for another day.

The sun comes through the clouds now and my big cag starts to fill with sweat, slopping around in the sleeves. Even with the wind and tide I still have to work hard to get beyond Cowes before the tide turns.

At Cowes there are boats everywhere, everywhere: battleships and yachts bigger than the island I live on, races going on left, right and centre, catamarans zooming at ‘can they control that?’ speeds (while gliding a few feet above the water),  and to make a point you might as well drive a large car transporter through the lot while you’re at it too. I decide to sneak over Bramble Bank, it will be a little choppy but the logic is that in the shallows I should only get run over by little(ish) boats – a sort of simplistic damage limitation strategy.

The wind is blowing here and it starts a little ‘yeehah’ but ends a little ‘whoa’ as it gets lumpy and shallow in the wind over tide by Lee on Solent. I somehow surf through a race, yachts not waves, unscathed and then start scratching against the tide, to finally call it a day at Gilkicker Point.

35 nm in just over 6 hrs, that’ll do me...