Riff Raff is currently resting at Weymouth – at least she was last Thursday when I had to dash for a meeting in London. It all seemed so logical when it was planned in the winter but I had reckoned without the sun…..
I digress (as usual).
Riff Raff slid off her trailer a week ago last Wednesday evening, into the murky waters of Northney Marina. We left at crack of dawn (about 08:30) to dash down wind to the entrance to Chichester harbour and catch the tide west along the Solent (we’ve done this before, it’s easy). We didn’t make the mistake of passing the wrong side of the fort and were soon (or so it seemed) amongst the throng of traffic.
This time the navy had joined in the fun. I realised that the big green buoy off to starboard was the one HMS Montrose and the cross channel ferry were going to turn round – we were safer on the “wrong side of it”. And, to miss-quote Captain Kirk, we made it so.
It was just about lunch time as we approached Cowes. There seemed to be an awful lot of boats about and it was only Friday. I thought I’d better see if we can find out what’s going on and if we can find a berth for the night. There are at least three marinas in Cowes – they all use the same VHF Channel, as do several on the mainland. This weekend, each marina seemed to have a similar sounding young woman (I have to be careful here, dear reader, I wouldn’t want to sound sexist) on the airwaves. An old buffer like me gets confused ‘Cowes Marina, Cowes Marina, this is Riff Raff’. ‘Hello Riff Raff, this is Cowes Marina, stand by’. It’s a bit like being put on hold but at least they don’t play you music of indifferent quality. ‘Hello Riff Raff, this is Gosport can I help you, over” Hnag on, I was on hold of Cowes, why is the girl there now pretending to be from Gosport – then the penney dropped – it’s all because they use the same channel. So I abandoned the VHF and used the mobile phone. It sounded like the same girl answered but at least she was now speaking for Cowes. The found me a berth amongst the confusion explaining it was the Isle of Wight festival weekend. We were perched on the end of a pontoon amongst a throng of larger boats. As you can see from the picture, they certainly crammed them in – I was gald we were on the end, it meant we could get out when we wanted to go!