Trip on Quartette starting 2012-11-05 in BSANov12

Report of BSA Trip on Phoenix Yacht Quartette, 5-7 November 2012, by Don Hirst

Skipper Phil Steele and Crew Don Hirst, John Hartland and Peter Ashdownarrived at HaslarMap 17.00 Sunday. As we loaded kit and provisions aboard I looked along the pontoon for my old flame Spellbinder, but no sign of her as I went to flirt with the younger Quartette,= a Westerly Oceanquest 34. The skipper had previously e-mailed the manual which contained photographs beneath her hatches of her most intimate parts. The opportunity to meet my new flame was eagerly anticipated, despite the first page of the manual detailing Mayday procedure. Sailing gear and provisions safely stowed, skipper’s brief, audit of some of the liquid provisions complete. We set off into Gosport to partake of J D Wetherspoons Sunday Club offers. The Pub was remarkably quiet; news of our arrival must have travelled in advance. On other occasions customers normally leave after we arrive. The meal was quite reasonable, much better than some later in the trip.

Monday we set sail just before 10.00 for Yarmouth under idyllic conditions a Northerly Force 3 which allowed a Broad/Beam reach all the way. Flat calm seas allowed copious cups of tea, snacks and bacon butties to be prepared and consumed underway. The sort of conditions you see portrayed in sailing brochures, but rarely experience in reality. We arrived at 14.30 in time to wander round the shops, shower and prepare for the evening. Having negotiated our way through the population of the Isle of Wight participating in a flaming torch and firework procession, not without some personal risk of being set on fire by some of the well oiled revellers, we sat down in the Bugle, again not its usual busy self despite the festivities taking place outside. The meal arrived just as the revellers moved off bringing a perfect day to a close.

Tuesday dawned clear and bright without a breath of wind despite the Force 4-5 Northerly rising Force 5-6 promised by the coastguard weather report. His Force 4-5 did not materialise Monday either. We set sail for Chichester under the gentlest of North Westerly’s. The hot air generated from the cockpit providing significantly to the propulsion. Nevertheless we made good progress so much so when we compiled the log for that day we had covered twice the distance recorded. Agreed we had the weak neap tide with us and the usual pessimistic slightly under reading log, but quite remarkable. Two days running Brochure conditions. Just as well really, we studied Tom Cunliffe’s 2006 Channel Pilot with its beautiful pictures and comprehensive descriptions prior to crossing the infamous Chichester Bar. Unbeknown to us at the time the West Pole and a three legged tide gauge structure had been combined into the same mark with the West Pole depicted in the Channel Pilot being removed. It gave a few anxious moments as if the original West Pole had existed as depicted and we had missed seeing it our course would have taken us over a sand bank. Safe as we approached nearing high water, but it would have given the helm a nasty moment if the depths he expected to see were suddenly much less. Learning Point Check the documents you are using to navigate are up to date.

After pleading on the radio Northney Marina provided a berth at twice the price of Yarmouth. A pretty location, good facilities, but remote, shallow channels crissed crossed by several cockle boats and nearest pub over a mile away. We had Red Wine and Steak and Ale pies on board with potatoes peas and carrots. It was deemed that the wine should be drunk at room temperature which was arbitrarily set at about 20 degrees Celsius above boat temperature. We read the meal cooking instructions, times, temperatures, etc., which concluded that the pastry on the Steak and Ale pies should rise to a golden brown. We then completely ignored all the instructions switched the oven full on drank a glass of wine which by that time had cooled sufficiently not to burn your throat as it went down, put the pies in the oven had another wine, put the potatoes in one pan and the carrots and peas in the other switched on our two gas rings and waited and waited, opened another bottle of wine. At last the potatoes carrots and peas boiled, but no sign of the promised rising golden brown pie. Eventually another glass of wine later the pies had risen, but being an all male crew the size of the erection was overestimated and dinner was served. The vegetables were passable but the pie was a light yellow and sagged in the middle, not unlike other items we could mention, but we finished the meal all the same.

Wednesday the plan was to explore the other creeks as far as Chichester, however resolve was somewhat lacking, we only made it as far as Thorney channel entrance when it was time to go about and leave the harbour at half tide and head for Gosport. The wind had finally got some strength and we had a westerly Force 4 not the Southwest Force 5-6 promised by the coast guard which would have made crossing the bar exciting. We had another very pleasant sail back, sailing through the hole in the submarine barrier. We tied up, cooked an omelette, cleaned the boat and drove home.

Our thanks to Phil for skippering an excellent trip on a lovely well maintained boat. A worthy sister boat to Spellbinder.


Haslar Marina  50.7908,-1.1171
Weather at EGHN   9 kts from NNE 9.0C, 1007mb Partly Cloudy