Round the Island - Walking the Course part 4

Mike Broughton talks us through the final stage from Bembridge back to Cowes
Previous articles: Walking the course with Mike Broughton part 1: Cowes to the Needles Walking the course with Mike Broughton part 2: the Needles to St Catherine's Point Walking the course with Mike Broughton part 3: St Catherine's Point to Bembridge The Final Leg - Bembridge to the Finish 14 nms Go near to No Man's Land Fort - Sailing against a foul tide, always keep away from the middle of the gap, when heading between the Forts. The tide is considerably stronger midway between and it is best to route a little to the south of the rhumb line to No Man's Land Fort (southern most Fort) when approaching from the SE, then curve north at the last minute, to pass the Fort close to port. Once through the shadow created by the structure, head off to the west for a mile to make the most of the tidal shadow to the east of Ryde Sands. The strong tide that flows between the Forts (gap one mile), extends in the shape of a tongue for about two miles in the direction of Dean Elbow buoy. The Island Sailing Club, as a safety measure, recommends staying away from the middle of the gap, to keep away from shipping. The Sand Bank with the steepest sides - When sailing against the tide it is usually worth routing south of track, across Mother Bank and Peel Bank in the shallower water and less tide. Ryde Sands is a definite hazard for the unwary and right on our route to the finish. There is not normally enough water to sail over it as mid-afternoon coincides with low water. Shaped by the strong tides, the northern side of the bank, is steep so beware if resorting to an echo sounder to feel your way in (the depth goes from around 13