The Friends of Chiddingly Church had organise a fund raiser on Saturday 18th May (our original departure date) in the village hall, an 80’s music (?) celebration in fancy dress. It was decide that we would bring the boat up to Eastbourne’s Sovereign Harbour on the day before so that we could attend the event.
Our dear friend and fellow Grumpie, Peter Wingate Saul, offered to take us to Gosport, later on pick us up at Sovereign Harbour, and deliver us in sufficient time (by 7pm) to enjoy our normal Friday night session at the Six Bells, Chiddingly. It was going to be a four hour run, and we were leaving by 2pm.
The engines were fired up and off we went , the course was via the Outer Owers Buoy and directly along the coast to Eastbourne passing the massive Rampion Wind Farm, which produces enough energy for 350,000 East Sussex homes. Later we passed the magnificent Seven Sisters leading to the famous Beachy Head and its lighthouse. A few miles further up the track is the entrance to Sovereign Harbour, who were not answering on Channel 80. Another boat was going in ahead of us, the lock gates were open and lights on green, we just followed her in. The berthing master came and met us in the lock, I asked why they weren’t listening on Channel 80? Because we listen on Channel 17.
Note to self, consult your 2019 Reeds almanac more thoroughly and don’t make assumptions about anything.
We were allocated a lovely berth with more than adequate pontoon space to have a little leaving party on Sunday 19th May, this marina being only 12 miles from where we and most of our friends live. This party to follow the 80’s celebration the night before, so hopefully no sore heads.
This was obviously just a coastal stretch and presented very little navigational problems. The previously reported plotter software problem had not been resolved and everything was still at right angles, I did have a compass however and a paper chart. the auto pilot still held the course to steer even though it was 90° out.
The boat was hosed down, Peter arrived in good time to get us to the Six Bells, and a celebratory jug of Harveys Best (plus a Kronenbourg 1664 for me) was shared by ‘The Grumpies”.
Leg one achieved in four hours or so at an average speed of 16 knots on slight seas.