Trip on Spellbinder starting 2013-03-18 in BSAApril13

Spellbinder - March18-20 2013 – report by Sue Fowle.

Skipper - Gordon Ogden. Crew - Naomi Gillingham, Jenny Ball, Tony Hall and Sue Fowle.

Yet another cold outing but on Sunday night Spellbinder was warm and welcoming as was the Castle with its usual gargantuan meals.

Despite the forecast there was heavy rain during the night. Our anticipated start of 0900 - 0930 slipped by as we discussed our various passage options. Eventually we decided to stay in The Solent rather than brave adverse tides and winds by going to Chichester or Poole. At 1030 we left the marinaMap in a gentle breeze from the east, anticipating an increase in strength, according to the forecast, and there were bright skies also to the east over Chichester. Spirits rose as we headed for Ryde with head and mainsail hoisted looking forward to sun and wind catching up with us.

By 1230 we were cold, soaked through and according to the plotter heading backwards to Ryde from Wotton Creek. Our enthusiasm died along with the wind so we put on the engine and headed for West Cowes marina - fractionally closer than Hamble. As we moored the skies brightened and the rain stopped!

Spellbinder's heater came into its own and soon the boat was sauna-like in temperature and humidity as our wet oilies festooned the saloon. Naomi found that a lanyard would just reach across the saloon at the bottom of the companionway so we had somewhere to hang our stuff where it did not drip on the new upholstery. Smartly dressed in dry Spellbinder jackets we headed for the highlights of Cowes but on a wet March Monday they appeared more like lowlights! All the shops were deserted but it was the skipper who finally succumbed to 'retail therapy', buying smart Sealskin mittens .Perhaps he’s hoping to join the SBS? Time passed…. with Scrabble ,newspaper puzzles, a sleep, an Indian meal and desultory discussion of Tuesday's plans - likely to be a repeat of weather and east-going tides so Gosport beckoned seductively..

Tuesday dawned misty and windless and despite the plan for an early departure to our centrally heated, dry homes there was a reluctance to leave our cosy bunks. And then... just as in the song' Hello Mother, Hello Father' the sun came out and West Cowes looked just like Camp Grenada! Spirits soared along with the temperature so we spent a happy two hours doing boat handling manoeuvres further up the river along with other boats foolish enough to be out. Spellbinder tolerated our attempts at forward and reverse moorings, tight turns etc until we had had enough and headed out of the Medina towards Gosport, anticipating a steady motor back.

As we cleared the harbour entrance Spellbinder dipped her toerail in the water and was soon heading off at a steady 8 knots towards the N Channel - oh, those new sails! The sun shone so warmly that sandwiches were eaten in almost tropical conditions .The wind continued steadily from an easterly direction giving us a sparkling sail back to the Swashway where, with engine on as required by QHM, we sailed as far as Victory before sadly flaking the sails. Then came the boring tidying up!

We all had opportunities for handing the sails and helming, in both light air and good winds. Despite Monday's gloom the improved weather on Tuesday gave us the opportunity to appreciate Spellbinder's attributes - sadly out of reach now until the autumn. Thank you to Gordon as our skipper.


Gosport  50.7904,-1.1165
Weather at EGHN   C, mb