Trip on Quartette starting 2011-02-21 in BSAMar11
Midweek sail 21-23 February 2011 – Report by John Wilson
Yacht: Westerley Oceanquest Quartette (Phoenix Yacht Club, Gosport)
Crew: A quartette (non-singing!) from Bristol Sailing Association. Skipper: Phil Steele.
The crews of both boats assembled at Gosport on the evening of Sunday 20th Feb and, as usual congregated in the pub for a meal and a chat! Prevailing winds and the tidal state influenced the decision of both crews to head west for the initial destination; Poole.
On the Monday morning, following boat checks, Quartette refuelled and set sail – usual passage through the Swashway and then up the Solent for a anti-clockwise course around the Isle of Wight. Winds were force 3/4 and the sea state was slight and viz poor to moderate. Once past Cowes, we were able to set a course direct to Hurst Point with the wind almost directly behind us. Refuelling in Gosport
As we went west, the wind decreased with the result that when we went past Hurst Castle with the intention of taking the North Channel, the tidal stream swept us between our intended route and the Shingles. However there was plenty of water. The waves breaking on the Shingles were clearly visible as was the noise audible. Nature prevailed and Quartette was swept with light winds astern towards our destination.
As we ran (goose-winged) to the west, the wind decreased and the visibility gradually got worse and so navigation became more dependent upon GPS readings and the chart plotter picture. At approximately 17.30, the cliffs south of Studland Bay were spotted and the lights of the Poole approach channel were picked up. By this time, the winds were light and it was decided to furl both sails and motor into Poole where we berthed at 18.45 in the town marina. The passage up the approach channel was marked by a quartering swell which made steering quite difficult.
Spellbinder had arrived about 45 minutes before us. Plans for an early start put an end to any ideas of a wild night in Poole (in winter????) and a two-crew Italian meal was undertaken (food reasonable and service quite quick). It was decided that each yacht would go its own way following departure: Spellbinder for the Isle of Wight (Cowes and Bembridge); Quartette for the Hamble.
Next morning (22nd Feb), we departed at 07.30 and by 09.10, we were at the bottom of the Poole Channel with the aim of using the North Channel to get back into the Solent. Winds were light with a 1 metre swell from the south west. With the east-going tide, we managed to sail around Hurst Point (12.30) with the tide underneath us but the wind soon died and at 12.45, we started to motor, keeping to the north side of the channel. Spellbinder passed Hurst at about the same time but kept to the southern side of the channel, close in on the island.
As we motored east, the tide turned to oppose us. Visibility worsened and navigation was on a buoy-to-buoy basis. At one stage, nav lights were switched on. Our planned course took us up along the coastline into Southampton Water, across the main channel and then into the Hamble, reaching the Mercury Yacht Harbour (about ¾ mile upriver) at 16.50. In the poor viz, the AIS was very useful during the early part of the approach to Southampton Water to give warning of ship traffic – the viz then improved allowing visual detection of channel traffic. Ablutions were welcome as facilities at Poole were out of action. The highlight of the visit to the Hamble was dinner in the Bugle Inn in Hamble (about 20 minutes walk from the marina). The food, beer and service were excellent and worth the walk along a rather dark lane! (Note for future visits to the pub – take a torch to warn drivers!!)
Next morning (Wednesday 23rd) we departed just after 10.00, in heavy rain and a good sailing breeze achieving 7.7knts close hauled, with the aim of sailing back to Gosport. On reaching the bottom of the Hamble, we found that there was a reasonable wind which allowed us to remain on the same tack right through the North Channel down past the Bramble Bank. Again, the wind decreased as we approached Gilkicker Point but we sailed on with the intention of going up the main channel into Portsmouth Harbour. The wind freshened again and we went on to Horse Sand Fort before turning to benefit from a flooding tide into Portsmouth. We berthed in Haslar Marine at 14.10.
Points about Quartette
Overall, the boat was well equipped with nav equipment.
The aft and forward cabins was very spacious and en suite, a good galley with two sinks, fridge and cool box, the nav table well located opposite the galley
Quartette was quite tender in quartering seas but this may have been due in part to light winds. Whilst sailing in the Solent on Wednesday morning, the wind was stronger and the boat sailed well.
When going astern, it was noticed that there was considerable paddle-wheel effect kicking the stern to starboard – this point is worth noting as it can affect the approach to the berth in cross winds and tidal streams. In certain circumstances, an astern approach is worth considering. It is recommended that skippers should try both ahead and astern power as soon as possible after leaving the berth to assess the astern kick.
The in-mast main sail reefing was very easy and quick to use and the pole was short and light making for easy deployment with the jib sail. An electric anchor is fitted.