18:32 – For the final stretch of the Solent from Cowes back up to Colwell, the clouds started to thicken and while we could straight line it in the boat, close to the shore and out of the chop, poor Ross was beating upwind, blasting far out into the Solent as he slowly clawed his way to the finish line. Far in the distance we could just see a headland, which was Hurst Castle, and that stretch seemed to drag on forever. In the boat I had four cans of beer in the cooler but was determined not to crack one open until we had completed the circumnavigation; torture!
Ross – “The last stretch was all beating into wind. I was on a slalom board which was not the perfect tool for going upwind. By that time my ankles were feeling the strain. I would sail on one tack for as long as I could stand it and then tack and just keep zigzagging up the Solent. As it became narrower I was pretty much doing runs right across to the mainland which was kind of cool. I shortened my harness lines to bring me closer to the boom so I could get more lift off the fin. I used my body and my legs and kind of twisted myself to get that board flying upwind. The more power you can generate then generally you can point higher upwind. From Cowes to Colwell Bay that last leg seemed to go on forever. I don’t think I would have been able to make it if I had been going against the tide. The Solent has some of the most complex tides in the world, complicated by the fact it has two entrances and Southampton water running up the middle, the current can be up to five knots working against you, so making headway against it would have been tough and added hours to the passage. It was hard work even with the tide, I could see the headland at Hurst castle and it was miles away but I knew Colwell was even further than that.”