I was away only for a week.... But what a week. Very testing at times with plenty of ups and downs and not just the waves.
My solo sailing week, kind of, went like this:
Day 1. Delayed start due to fog and mist. Moored at Queenborough (Kent) for the night.
Day 2. Left Queenborough for Brightlingsea. Got to Essex side of estuary, and after checking with Ron and Clare about weather forecast (winds increasing next couple days) I decided to return back to the Medway for safety. Sailed to Chatham and then back to Queenborough for the evening. Disappointed couldn't get to meet up with old work mate at Brightlingsea.
Day 3. Due to change of plan left Queenborough for Chatham (Medway)... 15 mins later I run aground!!! RNLI visit me, they take details, and all is well and i refloat a few hrs later. I sail the Medway and moor up later in Chatham Marina for two nights.
Day 4. I spend a lovely day at the Chatham Historic Dockyard ... Brilliant. 5hrs of soaking up naval history.
Day 5. Weather forecast not good.. Very high winds and gusts. I left Chatham hoping to make it back to Grays. Just as I was nearly leaving the Medway, and entering the Estuary, I looked back at my towed dingy and could see its taking on water!!! Motoring in the Medway had been heavy going, very choppy waters, and the wind and gusts increasing... What was the estuary going to be like? I feared the dingy could take on more water and cause problems further on. .. I turned back for Queenborough. The wind and gusts were horrendous. Landing at the pontoon, in very very rough conditions, I'll never forget. I spent the night, fully clothed + life jacket, dozing in the salon, popping up on deck every so often to check mooring lines and fenders. The boat was bouncing, rocking and rolling all night long. I was very disappointed not to make it back to Grays.
Day 6. I want to get home. I'm tired and fatigued. Clare dropped of Ron so he could assist in my return to Grays. The weather was still bad... High winds and dangerous gusts. Could we go the following day... No... Weather forecast the same as today. We went for it. It was an uncomfortable journey back to Thurrock Yacht Club.. Crash, bang splash. ... But we got there..... 1st pint in the clubhouse... Lovely well earnt!
In only a week I have gained soooo much experience...unbelievable. I learnt what my boat and I can do single handed ...I believe we went to our limits and then beyond...... What's next?....