Great to be back in Hamble
Wherever we go, we always say how lovely it is when we get home to Hamble.
Four months of “sailing the UK”, visiting the most delightful coastal reaches of our wonderful islands, seeing & experiencing amazing scenery revealing itself around every corner, wildlife, history, culture & whisky does not diminish the joy of coming home.
And so it is this week as our circumnavigation comes to a close.
It is true to say we have done it our way & we have loved the journey & how it has all worked out.
22 intrepid adventurers have joined Kasara, Jan & I, unsure at the start as to what to expect and what would unfold for them. Every day providing a new challenge & literally a new horizon.
We have thoroughly enjoyed their company, positive attitudes, comradeship and evident joy of being involved with our crazy plans.
Top Job everyone.
Our “Home Run” over the last week has been another great adventure. Ruth, Mike & Mark have once again been a top team. Jan joined Kasara in Cowes for the final windless chug to our neglected mooring at Hamble Point.
Our final leg started once we had already enjoyed a lovely couple of days at South Dock in London. Ruth joins the team and we lock out turning Kasara up tide & up river for the last of the flood towards Tower Bridge for a look at the “City” old & new.
As you can see the sun continues to shine.
Sun, little wind, smooth seas most of the time - possibly as we approach The Solent just maybe a stronger breeze coming in from the South West. Sounds like AB21!
Ports of Call:
Sharfleet Creek anchorage (Medway), Ramsgate, Dover, Eastbourne, Brighton, Itchenor, Cowes, home.
We have had a schedule to keep all along. It is staggering to report that over the whole 119 days nothing has got in the way of our progress, save one half day of fog at Croabh back in June.
Our top wind under sail has been gusting 34 knots (F7) in the Moray Firth - not one single gale.
If we have had rain on more than a handful of days (& generally only showers at that) then I am probably overstating it.
Unbelievable, what a year to choose!
Leaving the Thames we enjoyed a good beat to windward, a chance to put the new team through their paces.
Best sailing: however, goes to a glorious F5 sail under blue skies & crashing foam as we beat all the way from Brighton to Chichester Harbour. Our 35 mile route turned in to 61 miles through the water. A tough, but exhilarating 10 hour sail at last.
Best Mooring: goes to a delightful (if muddy) anchorage (recommended by ”Sh_t’ole”, our hilarious pal from Shotley) tucked away past Queensbury on the Medway. Very peaceful, and just around the corner for an early start through the Swale -a fascinating short cut South of Sheppey, linking the Medway to the outer Thames Estuary which I never knew even existed.
Apart from Sharfleet & Itchenor our stopovers have been marinas. Dover gets a special mention because it remains alive & vibrant - so much going on (including the port activities) & leisure developments around the harbour, a far contrast to Ramsgate, which was looking somewhat unloved.
Cultural Highlight: Also goes to Dover. Mark managed to get to the castle before closing time & and enjoyed a tour of the underground tunnels along side the long & varied history of this important landmark. Well worth a visit, as was a the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club who serve a mean G&T!
Eastbourne & Brighton remain welcome safe havens & the lock at Eastbourne is an experience!
Itchenor is lovely as ever & here we said cheerio to Ruth.
Which brings me on to Wildlife of the week:
Seals & Dolphins are standard & no exceptions this week. But what if I said Walrus!
Ok so it is one of those “Nessie” picis - inconclusive at best. However, I can tell you that me and this beastie faced each other across a short divide (just outside St Katherine’s Dock), looked at each other full and square & he/she definitely had tusks!
The Thames Mammal Society have been contacted & are “dubious, but excited”. If proved correct this would probably be the first ever siting of a walrus on the Thames!
Well, I remain convinced, other crew members “think” they saw it too - maybe one has to consider that the whisky below was by this time empty. But a tusk is a tusk (or is it two) 😂.
Best Eat in: Some pretty awesome risottos & of course the fruit baked & pickled in rum washed down with endless rounds of Monopoly Deal.
Now, being an Island, the UK is known for it’s extremities such as Lands End, Ardnamurchan Point, Cape Wrath, Duncansby Head etc. This week it was North Foreland, Beachy Head & Dungeness all passed under motor in glorious sunshine!
Hot work in the best of times! So we made for Newhaven bay for an end of season, end of adventure dip in the briny.
And so to Cowes, Jan & I jumped ship and headed to the Royal London Yacht Club - our room turned out to be smaller than any cabin on Kasara, but breakfast was great and the view delightful.
Best Eat out: turned out to be the Red Duster in Cowes, delicious home cooked fare to die for in a Fawlty Towers type atmosphere - hilarious.
and ..... what a delightful homecoming. Thanks to everyone who turned out to see us in - it made us feel very special as did the numerous congratulatory messages we have received.
AB21 has been a blast. We feel very lucky, especially to be "offshore" enjoying ourselves during a Covid year. Many places we have visited have been hurt by the pandemic, shops and businesses closed & restricted access (we were not able to land in IOM - only to anchor).
A big thank you to all the teams who joined us:
Nick & Joe - Summer arrives in the South West
Ken, Jonathan & Paul - Wild Atlantic
Tim & Karen - The Whisky Trail
Sandy - In search of the Dutchman's Cap
Chris & Barbara - Just 'Chillin'
Andy & Mandy - When the Whales came
Rob, Pat & John - Flying Machine
Jonny & Jamie - Pirates Pilgrimage
Mike, Mark & Ken - East Coast 'Surprise'
Ruth, Mike & Mark - Great to be back in Hamble
Kasara Logging Out (for now).