Stokes Bay to Seaview – 7th July

The weather this year has been very difficult to forecast, and this weekend continued the difficult business of planning a good daysail. The weather for sailing looked better for Sunday, although the forecast had some drizzle. Keith and Julie sailed in the Sport 14 and Stephen, Adri and Steve in the Trio. Keith and Steve arrived early and pottered about on our boats fettling things, so when the rest turned up the boats were on their trollies and ready to sail. We waited until the tide turned in our favour and headed out in the general direction of Ryde with no particular destination in mind; somewhere no further than Bembridge, but informed by the strength of the wind.
Surprisingly for 7th July, we were beaten not by the wind but the cold – while we were all wearing drysuits we’d not clothed ourselves sufficiently underneath, and in the cold drizzle the beat became pretty miserable. When the public house “The Boathouse” came into view, just stopping and finding somewhere out of the really cold wind and rain became an objective. We sailed beyond the pub to avoid the shingle spit which curves out across the bay, and anchored in the shallow waters.
Ordinarily we’d sit outside the pub, on a nice day in the sunshine, but it was raining and cold and we craved a bit of warmth so we went inside. Unfortunately our presence in wet clothing in the pub caused a kerfuffle. I’m really sure that we were no wetter than any walkers coming into the pub from that rain. We were put at the back of the pub, and then it was clear that the wet floor that we’d caused was an inconvenience. It’s a bit of a shame that we’d been called out so obviously, because we’ve been to other pubs with hard floors right next to the sea under similar circumstances and been made fully welcome. And it is called “The Boathouse”. That having been said, the food was absolutely delicious, quickly served, to a very high quality and good value. At 13:00 the visibility was down to 100m, so we studied and partook in dessert and coffee, and were shoo’d out into the drizzle at 14:00 when the visibility was about 250m and the closest fort was just visible. Using an app we found the compass bearing back to Stokes Bay and both boats used the compass to point in the right direction. Its the first time that I’ve needed a compass in 10 years of sailing about the Solent.
Halfway home, adjacent to the Spithead buoy the back end of the cold front passed, the visibility lifted and the broad reach back to Stokes Bay was straightforward, including the excitement of the crossing IOW ferries. We arrived back at Stokes Bay by 15:20 which is about the earliest we’d ever returned. We took the opportunity to have a brew and more chat, then packed up and headed home. It was a short cruise, and pretty packed. The key learning is that despite being the middle of summer, clothing more expected for March can still be appropriate. The photo is in the sun when we were back at Stokes Bay.