Trip on Shropshire Lady II starting 2009-02-27 in BSAMar09

Weekend from Hamble, 27 Feb – 1 March, report by Sue Fowle

Boat – Bavaria 350 Shropshire Lady 2

Crew - Phil Steele (skipper), Nick Kinsley, Alan Gray, Liz Freeman, Kendon Mc Donald and Sue Fowle

We arrived in dribs and drabs on Friday evening and ate in the restaurant at mercury marinaMap, but after excellent showers next morning were well cemented as a crew by large bowls of porridge. Nobody was allowed to leave the table until their dish was clean!

Saturday was grey and still so after plumbing the river to check our keel depth we drifted slowly down the Hamble – even the swans felt safe playing chicken in front of us. We were navigated out on to a glassy Southampton Water where we wallowed around for some time gaining experience in helming in light winds. For some of us this concentration was far too demanding!

The original plan had been to sail east until HW and then turn at about 1300 to catch the W-going tide and sail to Yarmouth – shopping in Cowes having been vetoed by the male contingent on board. Instead Nick, who was skippering, decided we would do secondary port calculations to see if we could cross the bar into the Beaulieu River. Kendon seized the challenge and we safely motored up the river following the withies whilst munching delicious sandwiches. As we turned at Bucklers HardMap, after a brief history lesson, it felt as if there may be some wind but as we came out into the Solent the tide was roaring W, so any wind had hardly any influence on our progress. Despite more rapid calculations Shropshire Lady was soon well past Newtown so we arrived disappointingly promptly in YarmouthMap at about 4 pm. Nick however had had the foresight to ring and book us a space – the harbour rapidly filled up behind us. Alan moored us snugly on a pontoon after a close call with a lunchtime boat which seemed not to be under command. We passed them, just, with gritted teeth and restrained from comment. Hard work for some of us! The water taxi deposited us safely in Yarmouth and we had a tasty meal at the Kings Head – resisting watching rugby this time but indulging in intellectual conversation.

Sunday dawned misty – hardly a breath of wind and the forecast was for rain coming in. Not the most exciting conditions for sailing. Some of the crew however were in a better mood than Saturday morning, having mutinied and bought muesli and yoghurt for breakfast.

Alan deftly left the pontoon and once out of the harbour the water was silvery grey and still, so it was decided we would motor up to the Itchen and see how far we could get up the river.

Kendon navigated us buoy by buoy towards CalshotMap, Phil again instructing in light wind techniques, Liz learning to steer with her foot and then, as all good plans go astray, out came the sun and a wind blowing down Southampton Water! We spent the next four hours happily tacking and gibing in Southampton Water, even winkling Kendon up from the chart table. So impressive were we that tugs, container ships and ferries rushed to join in the fun! Sadly it was all too soon to return to the HambleMap and berth the Lady.

Shropshire Lady has recently been refurbished and was in excellent condition – the only problem being with the heating on Saturday night – possibly low battery power.

Despite the weather conditions there were opportuniyies to practise old skills and learn new ones as well as sailing with new people.

Thank you Phil for victualling and the main sandwich maker Liz, who kept us well fed and watered all weekend. I was just there to write these notes.

Mercury marina, Hamble  50.861,-1.3121
Bucklers Hard  50.7991,-1.4207
Yarmouth  50.7061,-1.5023
Calshot  50.8143,-1.2914
Hamble  50.848,-1.3066