Trip on Loxley B starting 2012-07-20 in BSA2Aug12
Cross-Channel from Hamble to Fécamp on “Loxley B” – July 20 – 23 2012
The crew of Loxley B consisting of Nick Kinsley, Dave Britton, John Hartland, Lee Davies, Jo Ferguson, Liz Stubbs and Chris Baxendale and skipper Jeff Birkin came together on the evening of 19th July 2012 just across the marina from eVent. With shopping list in hand, half the crew went off to get supplies and the fish and chip supper whilst the remainder helped me with the boat inventory and checks. After our late meal, we had a safety briefing followed by an update on the sailing intentions and bed in preparation for an early start.
Friday 20th July we slipped from Hamble at 02:20 and headed out into the eastern end of the Solent punching tide and arrived at the Nab tower just before sunrise. Unfortunately, there was hardly a breath of wind so we motor-sailed throughout the crossing with the exception of a lift off the land as we closed the French coast. This gave us a pleasant hour or so without the engine until we arrived in Fécamp just after 4 pm. After booking in at the Marina office, we headed for a meal in the nearby Le Maritime restaurant. Some of the crew retired early whilst others went to listen to the outdoor rock band playing nearby. Needless to say, we all went to sleep about the same time.
Saturday morning began with a walk to the local market and a coffee in the town square. There was more of an appetite for sight-seeing than sailing so we all became tourists for the afternoon visiting the Benedictine Palace and Chapelle Notre-Dame du Salut high above the town. We rounded off the day with a little al-fresco dining on the boat and watching the numerous late arrivals mooring 9 deep on the end of the pontoons.
Sunday 22nd we departed at 04:00 and crossed the Channel to Brighton with, yet again, no wind. Our course and the tides kept us slightly west of the traffic separation schemes where large vessels made for some interest in a largely uneventful crossing. However, having used the autopilot extensively, as with all things electronic, it decided to have a breakdown when we least expected it. The resultant tight left hand turn proved to be the highlight of the passage.
Closing on Brighton Marina the GPS, charts and plotter all told us were heading for exactly the right position, not something we believed until we eventually spied masts behind the harbour wall from less than a mile out.
We spent a great evening in Coast to Coast, in the marina where we unwisely decided to try and come to terms with the trip accounts. Unfortunately, this nearly brought about serious consequences for our health and almost required emergency medical care as the most inept person in the gathering of inept mental mathematicians declared his occupation – a maths teacher.
On Monday morning we slipped at 06:30 and in very light winds, hugged the coast as we headed west. On passing Selsey Bill, the wind picked up and we were at last able to sail – for about 20 mins. Motor sailing into the Solent, tide took us toward Southampton and through a fleet of fabulous luxury sailing yachts, all struggling in the light breeze. After a long wait near the fuelling pontoon, we cleared and cleaned the boat and headed home in much better weather than we had on the outward journey.
It was a great weekend with a lot of laughs that would have only been improved with a bit of wind – other than that supplied by a certain member of the crew.