Trip on Quartette starting 2014-01-18 in BSAFeb14

Solent sail 18th-19th January (January Sails Trip) – report by Phil Steele

Phoenix Yacht Quartette 34ft Westerly Oceanquest, Skipper Phil Steele, Ian Collins, Jane Coombes, David Brown and Kieran O’Farrell

The crew arrived Mapon the Friday evening as normal for tea and cakes, and after stowing gear walked headlong for the Castle pub. Since its revamp into a restaurant that sells beer it was noticeably quieter that when it was a pub that sold food when it was standing room only if you could get in. It was also noticeable that Kangaroo and Ostrich were not on the menu.

The weather forecast promised a good day sail in winds SE-SW F5-6 and F7 later on in the day, outlook SW-W building from F3-4. The tides were HW springs at about midday so timing needed a leisurely start to Yarmouth with a smartish departure the next day.

At 10:00 we slipped moorings several times experimenting with the best way to leave this difficult berth and then made good progress against a fast incoming tide to Portsmouth Harbour giving an uncomfortable small wave ride and a considerable offset to the helm. Once we cleared the outer channel we were able to sail on Genoa in slight seas with the SSE wind direct to Cowes entrance with the SOG increasing as the tide went slack and turned westbound. In the afternoon the wind increased and so did the tide giving a time en-route from Prince Consort cardinal buoy to Yarmouth of about 1.5 hours.

Our early arrival at 14:15 forced us to go to the Bugle and drink beer by a roaring fire, this was preceded by some crew checking out the local chandler and subsequently moaning about the prices of boat hooks before moaning about the price of the beer and its temperature. We rushed back to boat for more drinks and snacks then all the way back to the Bugle for supper and a moan about the live music.

Overnight the wind picked up to about S F7 and continued until we got up, then fell to light. We slipped just after 09:00 to catch the last of the favourable tide achieving in excess of 9Kts SOG getting us back to Cowes entrance in one hour on the smooth water. This was unfortunately under engine. As we rounded towards Osborne bay the wind increased SSW F4, the current fell and we started sailing towards Portsmouth. Dave took over navigation and passage planning and provided us with an excellent excursion past Bembridge lifeboat house. This was enhanced by playing I spy with the gap in the submarine wall. As a result of sailing with the current we only logged 39nM for the two days.

It was a pleasure to arrive back in Haslar in daylight to tidy the yacht for the next crew arriving at 18:00 but all gas bottles were empty; fortunately we were able to buy refills from the harbour master’s office and install them.

Haslar Marina  50.7908,-1.1171