Trip on Quartette starting 2013-12-15 in BSAFeb14

‘Jane’s Xmas Party Trip’ 15th-16th December 2013 - report by skipper Phil Steele

Phoenix Yacht ‘Quartette’, Westerly Oceanquest 35. Skipper Phil Steele, Bob Buchanan, Jane Coombes, Andy Gordon and Becky Goddard.

The crew arrivedMap on the Friday evening as normal and started with the traditional Christmas meal of all you can eat at the Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. This was followed by a quiet drink in the local hostelry of Wetherspoon’s for their traditional seasonal ales enjoying the Christmas lights on the way. Many of the boats were also decorated with lights in the marina.

On Saturday the weather forecast promised a good day sail in strong winds W-SW F5-7 and Gale 8 later on in the day, outlook SSW building from F3-8. We agreed that Yarmouth was viable and set off once the boat was ready. Good progress was made with increasing wind but favourable tides until 14:00. The tide turned foul and so did the weather hampering progress, so we tacked to the relative shelter of the island and motored the last hour. This was prudent considering we had ceased making progress under sail and from previous experience this boat will not make good passage under engine as the sea builds past moderate.

That early evening started with mulled wine and stollen cake before venturing out to the main square where the town’s carol service was being held. We took advantage of this by getting a good seat in the Bugle. We achieved seats on the new leather settees by the open fire, sitting by the Christmas tree drinking quality ales. We observed the fine decorations of the town on our return to the marina and were pleasantly surprised that many of the boats were now sporting extensive decorative lights.

Back on board we continued with the mulled wine and snacks whilst decorating the main cabin before sitting down to a roast dinner followed by mince pies and cream, port and cheese. During the night the boat developed a list while being pinned to the pontoon due to the expected storm.

The next morning was calmer but as we sprung off the wind was becoming strong but in a favourable direction. Using a shortened genoa we sailed toward Cowes with winds reaching 30Kts and gusting up to 40Kts in a foul tide of 3Kts. Visibility became moderate to poor requiring lights for a time during heavy rain. We continued around Cowes hugging Osborne bay for shelter before reaching off to Portsmouth. We observed the ferry from Wootton divert around the Fort to the main channel but surprisingly the return ferry came through the main Swashway.

After mooring at Haslar we started to clean the boat when the horizontal heavy rain struck requiring the wash boards, and continued soaking us back to the car park and beyond. Despite the strong winds the weekend provided us with a good sail and pleasant mild weather.

(Secretary’s note: it seems that Phil, having changed the name of his traditional December trip from ‘Xmas Lights’ to ‘Xmas Party’, actually achieved both this time!)

Haslar Marina  50.7908,-1.1171
Weather at EGHN   Wind SpeedKm/h TemperatureCC, Sea Level PressurehPamb