Trip on Quartette starting 2013-03-20 in BSAApril13

QuartetteMarch 20 - 22 – report by skipper Phil Steele

Crew – Bob Hayes, Bernard Smyth, Jane Coombes and Roy Cook and Phil Steele. Yacht – Quartette, 35 foot Westerly Oceanquest owned by Phoenix Yacht Club.

We arrived on Tuesday evening and after stowing the provisions and our gear we navigated to Wetherspoons for a steak supper. Roy had been asked to provide a passage plan and taking account of the expected light wind included stops at the creeks and rivers before arriving at Yarmouth, the stronger winds could be used on a successive day for a passage to Poole.

Wednesday we had a F2 Easterly and Thursday the forecast included potential F8 at times but better weather for Friday. We set offMap and had sufficient wind for a direct sail in the cold easterly wind for Yarmouth with the intent of using Roy’s ideas for Thursday. The sail was pleasant but slow going against the morning tide with Bob navigating supported by Roy’s expertise as we sought shallow waters to avoid adverse currents. Bernard coached Jane, a first time sailor on helming which she seemed to take to very easily in the relatively flat sea. Lunch was served on the hoof with hot drinks provided all day before arriving in time for a shower and walk around the town. The usual club evening followed by drinks on board before dinner in the Bugle.

Thursday morning we departed in stronger winds and a moderate sea but relatively sheltered on the island side of the Solent. We tacked the full width of the Solent experiencing the rougher conditions with Jane on the helm at times who seemed to have no trouble in putting the boat in its groove and keeping it there. She commented that it was no more difficult than keeping an old tractor with dodgy steering on track. Roy piloted us into Newtown creek for lunch where we picked up a buoy in strong biting winds. We decided that we would sail to Cowes and wait for better weather expected the next day. A rigorous afternoon sail against the wind and tide saw us arrive at East Cowes for an early bath. The afternoon weather forecast threatened overnight and morning gales, obviously the weather had deteriorated. A night in Cowes would have been nice but the cold winds deterred us so it was to the local pub, The Lifeboat, after on-board beverages.

Friday morning dawned and though we were relatively sheltered in the marina the white horses were clearly visible at the entrance to the Medina. The plan was to wait until midday before setting off in what might be abating weather. We set of at noon in poor visibility and at the entrance the harbour master came alongside and warned us of a large vessel approaching from the east. We were intending to motor along the coast towards Wootton creek and then head straight to Portsmouth. Progress was very slow in the very strong head winds and the roughish sea whipped up by the upper F7 and F8 northeasterly winds despite the wind and tide going in the same direction. We were only able to make about 2 Kts SOG under engine. When the opportunity arose we managed to sail with a small amount of genoa on a close reach but the leeway was so significant resulting in a near beam reach. After several tacks we reached Gilkicker and were able to make a good direction to the point where once again we had to plough under engine to the small boat channel. It was a long 7.5 mile journey taking 3.5 hours. Very few yachts were out and all going with the wind except a Challenge yacht that followed a similar route but did better than us under engine.

A very wet and salty crew packed up the vessel leaving for home a little later than planned except Roy whose life seems to be a continuous sailing holiday and was off to join a civil service boat (Sea Essay) at the Hamble. Jane said she felt the earth move for the following two days.

Gosport  50.7904,-1.1165
Weather at EGHN   C, mb