A day of hard graft and harder decisions. The weather almost identical to yesterday, the outcome much better.
Winds like this seem only to push or pin (mostly pin) but for my first session of the day, the run up the western side of Selsey Bill, I enjoyed tailwind. Then the first sticking point. I’d run out of space to go north and was now being pinned to shore. My right side screaming as I laboured to get away from the beach. Tide was running in my favour but only serving to rile up the conditions, at times force 6 wind against tide and some dicey wiper outers rolling in. So I landed on Hayling Island and hid in an unlocked beach hut because it was bloody cold.
Some soul searching later, I looked at the map and considered that soon I’d be under the wing of the Isle of Wight and could expect it to calm down. So I put my iPod on full blast (which always drops the wind by a force) and pushed on. Past the unambitious Southsea pier/Portsmouth and then a scary little crossing to Gosport, scary on account of the Wight Link ferries which do not move slowly.
At Gosport the second crux. Visibility down below a mile and faced with 3 options; 1 crawl along the mainland still being pressed by the wind and going the long way round, 2 call it for the day, or 3 make the crossing to Wight through headwind and ferry lane and poor vis but the payoff huge.
More soul searching then a gamble. I just went for it. Lady luck shone as I had only one close call with a yacht who probably just enjoyed winding me up. 2.5 hours across then….windless, flat, tranquil. Quite a moment and such a release.
The paddle on to Cowes was glorious. The pouring rain fell vertically and I could hear noises again. I wanted to paddle for hours but I was shredded and my back not happy. Plus, Cowes gave a good landing vibe. At 7pm I pulled in and was directed to a UKSA sailing centre. £32 a bit of a budget stretcher but if I was to design a somewhere to land, it would look like this, and the bed absurdly comfy.
Looking back on the day I’m as proud of it as any day previous. Another timely reminder that the measure of a day is not in the mileage.