Some time ago, I paddled around IOW in one go just to see, whether I can do it. Now, I felt it was time to try again, faster; or at least as fast as I could. One thing that I remembered from last time was, that Needless are the place, where one can gain or loose a lot.
With that on my mind I decided to take a gamble and to start the circumnavigation attempt from here. The advantage of this is, that one can start when the flooding tide builds significantly and still have full ebbing flow on the way back. Of course there is a disadvantage, too. Nowhere to launch means that one has to paddle there first, and more importantly to paddle back from there to wherever the car is. This makes paddling day a bit longer.
My attempt started well, at 5am I launched from Hurst Spit across from New Lane having parked the night before, and paddled in leasury pace to Needless. After 40 minutes wait for the tide to get some speed, it was time to switch GPS and stopwatch on. Few hours in I realised that I have forgotten how it feels to paddle hard and of course started to question myself, why do I put myself through this. By Ventor I could feel something wrong with the rudder. Pin came loose which ment landing and putting it back in place. Maybe ten minutes lost?
The only pleasure in Solent was that I could paddle faster into the increasing headwind than yachts could sail. At the end of the Solent with the changing conditions, it became obvious, that either I’d overdone it and paddled too hard or skimming ceilings and walls for two weeks wasn’t the best training. Or maybe I am simply not as good as I would like to believe. Anyway, by Hurst Castle with 8:30 on stopwatch, I knew that although I could be by Needlees within half hour, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it back. So I turned north and cut the circumnavigation short and paddled along Hurst Spit back to the car.
It took me sometime while driving back to realise that although I did not paddle all the way back to starting point I actually paddled full circle around IOW. And it did not take that long as I though, 10:20 give or take few minutes.