Trip on Kismet starting 2007-11-02 in BSANov07

3.1Weekend from Gosport, Nov 2 – 4, report by skipper Jeff Birkin

We arrived at Gosport Mapin glorious sunshine for our ‘introduction to sailing’ trip, aboard Kismet, a Bavaria 36 from Victory Yachts, with four of the crew, Emily Fletcher, Sarah King, Briony Tomkies and Anne Giles new to sailing, plus the experience of Dave Lloyd and Becky Goddard, and skipper Jeff Birkin. The crew quickly began their training with a safety briefing and boat familiarisation introducing them to the various terms. One member commented of the main halyard ‘It goes up automatically by itself doesn‘t it?’ At this point, we knew we had our first volunteer for raising the mainsail! Another commented. ‘Our en suite has two doors!’ The rest of the crew replied ‘So does ours’.

Kismet’s berth is extremely awkward and surrounded by large motor cruisers. A tight turn to port is needed or risk ramming between gin palaces; Difficult, as we were informed the boat kicked to starboard! Deciding to use a central ‘snubber’ line to pivot about the keel, we cast off releasing the bow first to straighten up the reverse course a little and the boat slid out cleanly spinning easily and leaving plenty of room to spare. It took a few moments to realise the rudder was actually connected to the wheel because there was no pressure running astern or prop wash running ahead. Lacking ‘feel’ proved a problem for novice crew and experienced alike but when coupled to the stiff throttle lever meant more problems than necessary. That first night, everyone took a turn on the helm and enjoyed the sights before returning to the berth then off for a meal and a drink followed by a nightcap and a game of cards.

Saturday saw a bright sunny morning as we left early for Cowes and a rendezvous with Egons for breakfast. Explaining the confusing scene of small boats, buoys and ferries as we departed, we then talked about the memorial transit allowing the new crew to decide which way to turn. Exhausting that subject, someone turned the wind on. ‘Now where’s the person who said it was automatic?’ .. so we got the sails out. By now, everyone had forgotten correct terms learnt the previous evening so ‘halyard’ became ‘string’ and ‘sheet’ became ‘string’ and …. You get the picture. But seriously, it didn’t matter in the slightest as we made sure there was always sufficient time to work in. It was a marvellous first sailing experience topped off by an uneventful mooring in Cowes and breakfast at 11:00 in Egons.

By the afternoon, the wind had dropped so we motored to Yarmouth taking the opportunity to explain the tides and do a little basic navigation on the way. Mooring on the pontoon in Yarmouth was equally uneventful but was followed by some brisk movement when we found there was only 15 mins left to take a shower before the block closed. Later on, with great reluctance, the crew all went ashore and forced fajitas and more alcohol down their necks followed by another nightcap or two … If anyone ever mentions my toes … it’s a complete fib!

Sunday was a latish start in what was, yet again, absolutely glorious sunshine. Just before leaving Yarmouth there was an Easterly 4-5 and a west-going tide so a trip to the Needles was on. Soon the wind dropped and was just hitting a 3-4 as we made our way past Hurst demonstrating down-wind sailing. Turning with the tide we headed east with full main and Genoa making the best of the wind for a fabulous return trip from the Needles. (Again we noticed the helm still had no ‘feel’ or hint of pressure.) Unfortunately the wind dropped to absolute zero just past Hurst so we began the long motor back home, tidying the boat as we went.

Few weekends have offered such good conditions for an introduction to our sport. The only raised voices were laughs and we had plenty of those and with such a great crew it was a joy for me to skipper.


Gosport  50.7904,-1.1165
Weather at EGHN   C, mb