Trip on Firebird starting 2008-12-01 in BSADec08

Trip from Gosport on “Firebird”, 1st-3rd December 2008 – report by Phil Steele

Skipper: Gordon Ogden.

Crew:Sue Fowle, Sonia Russé, Bernard Smyth and Phil Steele.

This 34ft yacht, an Elan 340 acquired new a year ago, is a light displacement cruiser-racer with a 2 metre draft. It had some irritations such as inadequate fiddles and lockers that do not stay closed. Overall it is well laid out and boasts an electric anchor winch, single line reefing on the main and a furling jib. The heating system made it very comfortable below decks in the cold weather. The heads had two generous sinks, a large wet locker, a shower drain and a heater outlet point. A useful inclusion was a pole mounted on the foredeck.

We were unable to join the boat until the Monday morning so we agreed (very reluctantly) to meet at HaslarMap at 08:30 (“to make the most of the day”) on a cold clear and frosty morning lifting our spirits with hot drinks and croissants for breakfast. We then set off towards the forts with 2 reefs before turning west with the tide and facing the NW wind as we headed to Cowes. The third reef was necessary and had to be tied in at the mast end; there was provision for a 4th reef. It was very cold, with a cold, mainly N/NW wind blowing up to F5.

Lunch was on the hoof which was difficult to prepare despite the very slight sea. At this point the crew learned that Gordon does not like cucumber and reminded us of this fact frequently for the next three days. Jock would like to know the wind speed and other weather conditions but I’d rather report that we had the kettle on every 45 minutes.

At a democratic meeting on deck Gordon decided that we would stay the night in East CowesMap forgoing Sonia’s shopping opportunities. The evening commenced with mulled wine, hot mince pies and other snacks before dining at the Lifeboat.

The next morning we set off at the crack of 11:30 (not making the most of the day) after a porridge breakfast, heading for Yarmouth Map(having lunch) with 3 reefs until Gordon took a turn at the helm changing course to Somerton in Somerset. Luckily he handed back the helm to Sonia and we were able to berth on a walk ashore pontoon. Point of interest - the showers are available only until 17:00 in winter. The weather continued as before and so did the hot drinks.

After the mulled wine etc Gordon was so elated he bought the crew G&T’s in the Yacht club (which does not serve food in the off season weekdays). The Kings Head did however and the log fire was most enjoyable

On the final day we started eastwards with the intention of stopping at one of the creeks for bacon sandwiches. Gordon decided to torture Sue with secondary port calculations that were checked and double checked so we entered Wootton Creek but we turned back out immediately due to insufficient water at that time. We had to cook the bacon on the hoof with the excellent cooker. Gordon continued to torture Sue by making her helm as we short tacked up the Portsmouth approaches. Report on the weather and the kettle is the same. Pasties were warming in the oven while we cleaned down bringing an ending to a very satisfactory 3 days.

Haslar Marina  50.7908,-1.1171
Weather at EGHN   6 kts from NNW 1.0C, 1003mb Partly Cloudy
East Cowes  50.7529,-1.2917
Weather at EGHN   6 kts from NW 3.0C, 1007mb Scattered Clouds
Yarmouth  ,