Trip on Sea Essay starting 2013-04-29 in BSAMay13

April 29 - May 02 on CSSA boat ‘Sea Essay’ – report by Sue Fowle

They say the Devil looks after his I spent 3 cloudless, warm days on Sea Essay on the Solent along with 3 other 'students'. There was wind every day but it was very fickle in both speed and direction - perhaps there should be a GODDESS of wind - sorry, ladies!

The object of the trip was to have an opportunity to learn about sail trimming and handling. With such variable winds this was quite testing but we all did some windward trimming of the headsail on day one as well as sailing on and off buoys before heading west down The Solent.

The following day we tackled trimming the mainsail and some initially un-coordinated tacking. Reefing, hoisting the cruising chute and storm jib followed - in F2/3 winds! Fortunately there were few boats around to wonder at our use of such sails in those conditions. We hove - to, did MOB, anchoring etc. One was reminded that though the principles of rigging various sails remain the same each boat has its individual set-up.

Tacking more proficiently we headed for Bembridge but as we were between Springs and Neaps felt disinclined to risk entering the channel as even though we arrived just after high water - the next one being at 0500 gave us little incentive to attempt the pilotage. However it was a good opportunity for those less familiar with the entrance to do some navigation re tidal heights and to inspect the tide marker.

On the previous night at Yarmouth we experience the ferocity of the tide as we ferry glided on our pontoon with the speed of a hydrofoil, skimming the bows of a moored yacht! We ate at a different venue that night - the Foresters’ Bistro which is on the right hand side of the street between the chandlers and the shop.

We had some pleasant cruising but it was good to have the opportunity to learn some theory as well as practice tho I find a lot of the technique is hard to learn, not being an intuitive sail-or nor having any dinghy experience. Our instructor however was calm, humorous, very patient and we benefitted from his previous experience racing on Sigmas.

The Solent looked fantastic in the sunshine, was remarkably quiet apart from the Sunsail racing fleet, and to sail in fewer layers of thermals, only protected by factor 50 was a great treat. And I shouldn't think any of us need to go to the gym the following day!