What a fantastic little boat these are! if you pack sensibly there is plenty of space for 2, she sailed lovely on Saturday in an F3/F4 - we had enough time to go from Chichester down to Nab tower past Bembridge to No Mans land fort then towards Horse Sand fort turned back to Ryde grabbed a mooring for an hour, cooked some soup then into Bembridge.
We arrived in Bembridge 4 hours before HW in the evening! (6pm), all the larger yachts had been moored/rafted up 5 deep since lunchtime!!
We came tootling in at low water & due to our length got our own spot we could step on & off the pontoon! - I think this got under the noses of some of the larger 'Yachtie' types as our atempts to say a friendly 'hello' to people sat looking bored on boats who'd just watched us come in was met with a mixture of silence, scowls or just looks in the other direction!
Have to say the staff at Bembridge marina (Duver) are absolutely fantastic, extremely helpful & made us feel very welcome, I will definately be returning. (I have never seen Cod & Chips so large as served up in the Vine pub!)
The 2 tea candle lanterns not only supplied cheap powerless light, but plenty of heat too!
I slept under the open hatch watching the stars.
The trip home Sunday was blowing a lot stronger F4 with F5 gusts, my 30cm undersized mainsail along with the Genoa worked superbly, some of the waves passing us were as tall as we were but we didn't get wet once! - and made Bembridge to Chi entrance in a little over 2.5 hours! average speed 4.1kts & without having to tack!! (luck!? or skill?!)*
The entrance to Chichester harbour over the Bar, was always going to be 'interesting' with a Southerly wind & Ebb tide, but we'd carefully planned for it, everything below was stored away (thx Kathy! x), we motored in with just the main up, boats twice our size and then some were heading out slamming into the waves and looking at us in our 17ft'er with utter amazement!!
The yacht in front of us (Hunter 23.5) attempted this with his main and genoa and was getting tossed around like a rubber duck in the bath, he really struggled with his course varying wildly from side to side of the harbour entrance, yet Monty held her own!
I don't know if i'm mad, adventurous, or just lucky! - but we were by far the smallest boat out there, we'd just done a 9 mile trip accross an unsheltered part of the Solent, & didn't once feel we were in immenent danger!
*Reviewing our route once home, a straight line from Bembridge to Chi takes you far east of the shelter of the IoW, next time in similar conditions I would seriously consider heading north out of Bembridge towards Portsmouth then turning East along Southsea & Hayling.