Since we were still stuck waiting for new anchor chain, but crew and boat were craving a little test cruise, we decided to go to Eastbourne for a couple days.
The sail there was amazing, downwind in a good 20 knots, with the tide giving us a lift - speed records were broken and the brief tidal overfalls around Beachy Head helped clear some of the fouling from the hull.
A coastguard helicopter was just taking off from the top of Beachy Head and a lifeboat was on the inaccessible beach below - collecting dead bodies from two suicide jumpers that day as we later found out through the news.
In front of Eastbourne there was barely room to turn the boat upwind for all the fishing markers deployed right outside the channel entrance. Eventually got the sails in and made it into the channel and then the open lock.
A marina employee gave us a nice hand drawn map marking a pontoon -- then as we approached it radioed us in the last second to not go there and instead go to pontoon C, which was exposed to some wind funneling down a gap between houses, so we had some fun getting into there. Good exercise for the crew ;-)
Eastbourne town is technically a nice town, but overrun by pensioners whom you can see decaying along the beachfront. Perhaps the large number of mobility scooters is the reason why the path into town is littered with "No Cycling, max fine £500" signs.
The way back to Brighton was less fun, tacking upwind until the wind died, then motoring the rest of the way. On the upside, Elvyra spotted our first ever dolphin! We immediately stopped the engine to see if it would come closer, but it seemed otherwise occupied.
Everything worked fine on the boat, and the new solar array proved itself very well. We made a constant 150W on an overcast day and a whopping 450W on a sunny day. The former lets us sail all day long and come home with full batteries, and the latter will easily recharge the battery bank after a night sail. Well pleased about that.