The Hydrovane fitting went well, and having conducted the final commissioning tests I signed off the work, paid the bill and we slid back down into the water using the Boatworks + rail system, a very effective way of lifting boats in and out. Below are some photos of the final installation and the team fitting the gear:
After our lift in we headed over to Herm, a delightful island a couple of miles away from Guernsey. Negotiating the many rocks and shoals in the area, we tried out the Hydrovane in light airs with success. Anchoring in Shell Bay to the east of Herm, we dinghied ashore and walked around the island, which took an hour and a half. The weather was delightful so we decided to swim back to the yacht, and the boys took the Go Pro and dived down to try and photograph the buried anchor. Below is a photo of Spellbinder in what was a typical Channel Islands anchorage:
After a final night in St Peter Port I left at midday with Tom and Jonty (Sue having flown home to collect our car from Devon). We had an immaculate passage back – putting up sails and cutting the engine just 250 yards from St Peter Port harbour entrance, and dropping sails a similar distance from Cowes. All downwind, it made for fast and enjoyable sailing. We had a good push up the Alderney Race (timing is everything) as this screenshot of the plotter shows:
During the passage the Hydrovane again proved its worth, steering us straight for most of the passage. We also tried out the water generator, which charges up the yacht’s domestic batteries by turning a torpedo-type propellor through the water. Tom did some press ups on the foredeck, and both boys cooked. Coming into the Needles by a cardinal buoy called Bridge, we had a period of boisterous wind over tide before edging into Hurst Narrows just as the tide was turning in our favour.
We tied up in the RYS Haven at 3am, after 14 hours and some 90 nautical miles sailed, trying not to wake anyone up. After the usual 8am raising of the Ensign ritual we enjoyed the Castle facilities and had breakfast, which was superb. We were tired, but content.