Sailing the Solent
The Solent is a stretch of water on the south coast of England, situated between the mainland and the Isle of Wight.
(picture with reference to Wikipedia)
Even though it is a big stretch of water, compared to the open sea it is relatively sheltered and apart from being a major shippinglane, favoured by yachts and pleasurecraft.
Cowes on the Isle of Wight is one of the major yaching centres and there are many beautiful spots, lovely harbours and marinas dotted around the Solent.
It can get quite busy and on a lovely sunny summerday there are lots of yachts and boats to be seen;
The variety of boats and ships goes from very small folk boats,
to very big yachts;
traditional barge type vessels,
to massive tankers....
This does mean you have to look out for shipping all the time, keep yourself to the 'rules of the road' (which exist just as much as if you had visible roads and traffic signs, you just have to know them all without these aids) and give way to those who have right of way, which of course include the big containerships as they are not easily manoeuverable.
It can get very busy, especially near Cowes where a lot of traffic is entering or leaving Cowes as well as having a major turning point for the big commercial shipping around a sandbank just in front of the entrance.
Here is the speedferry leaving Cowes;
and the passenger ferry entering (yes... it is the IKEA ferry! a good way of advertising..);
When you are leaving Cowes and see one of the BIG boys coming towards you...
You do start to feel very small indeed when within minutes this ship is about this size...
Very scary when it looks as if it is coming right for you!! (and sometimes these ships were hooting big deep horns at tiny boats that were in the way.... eeeeeek.....).
This time however, we knew we were not in the main channel and that the boat would turn before it got to us, which it did, so rest assured... we were never in any danger... but just imagine how scary that would be if you got it wrong like some boats did.....
Most of the time, away from the main channels it was very leisurely and more looking like this;
Occasionally seeing some of the big racing boats, like Icap Leopard;
or some of the many big yachts who have taken part in the Clipper Round the World Race and now are back here for the most part having groups onboard for Corporate Entertainment.
And when the day is done, and a good, energetic, sunny, breezy, fantastic day on the water is over, you can feel your skin glowing from the sunshine, and you anchor in a creek, or moor in a marina and have a good sleep in your bunk, being rocked to sleep gently by the movement of the boat.
These two, in one of the smallest craft on the Solent, are on their way to just a good nights sleep like this...
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