Above: It was nice of them to send Oceana to see us off from Southampton so early in the morning.
It was difficult to put into words, but we could all sense that Arabella was struggling - not with the conditions generally, but with being relentlessly driven as close to windward as she would point. If she was allowed to fall off the wind a little, Arabella would sail comfortably and fast - and stay dry - but that was no way to win our class, and although we caught some of the weaker members of the class before us, a much larger number of our own class were pulling relentlessly ahead.
Above: Our track down the West Solent, up to the point where I disconnected and stowed the laptop to preserve it from the ever-increasing amounts of water entering the cabin. We took the decision to retire soon afterwards. Screenshot taken from PassagePlus software (click the image for larger view).
As Newtown came abreast, I nipped below decks to see what if anything could be done about the ingress of water. It wasn't particularly alarming, but in a small boat like Arabella, there aren't that many dry places left to stow things once their usual homes get soaked. One of the lifejackets had self-inflated, which would make it difficult if not impossible to use if needed - not a problem in itself as we had four on board and only three people, but we wouldn't want to be losing any more if we could help it. To be on the safe side, I also disconnected the laptop and stowed it somewhere waterproof, no sense in losing that too, given that a reasonable amount of water was shipping through the companionway having traveled the entire length of the coach roof.
The part of me that was still being analytical - as opposed to hanging on grimly so as not to be flung bodily up and down the cabin - noted that sea water entering via this route had also entered the locker where the battery was stowed securely. It hadn't reached a level high enough to do any harm yet, but it was swilling round the base of the battery and clearly, with this degree of motion, the risk was that it slopped up and shorted the connections. That was going to need seeing to, as well as the forehatch.
Above and below: Snugged-up and drying out in Yarmouth Harbour.
Conditions: SW F5-6 Heavy overcast early, sunny later. Sea state moderate, occasionally rough
Distance covered (GPS over ground): 37.9 NM
Total distance covered to date (2008): 70.16 NM
Engine hours: 2.5 (total for 2008: 6.2)