Trip on Appaloosa starting 2013-09-13 in BSAOct13

Solent Sailing 13-15 September 2013 – report by skipper David Lloyd

The crew: Dave Lloyd (Skipper),Jeff Birkin, Jill Hunter, Paula Gray, Alan Gray and Brian Adams

We chartered a Bavaria 36 “Appaloosa” from Hamble PointMap Yacht Charters and, as usual, the boat was in very good condition with no faults. Appaloosa has a new Volvo engine.

Friday: The formalities were completed without undue delay, the provisions all stowed away and crew arrived and settled by about 6pm. The lack of wind and the nearby Ketch Rigger Restaurant meant that there was no collective desire to motor over to Cowes and pay for a berth when we had a perfectly good home where we were. Drinks and nibbles over the safety briefing soon made way for a short stroll to the Ketch Rigger where we enjoyed a very nice meal and pleasant evening before retiring back to the boat.

Saturday: After breakfast we set out down Southampton Water hoisting full main and genoa when space permitted and with nothing more than a plan to see what took our fancy on our way to Yarmouth for the night. Initially a gentle F3 increased to a very useful F4 and the sailing was good. Several options for the day crossed our minds but with a falling tide we settled for a clockwise sail around the Bramble Bank with Brian practicing some nav. We sailed west past Cowes and on to Newtown Creek for lunch. Alan expertly sailed her in on the transit until we lost the wind inside the entrance. Anchoring to the east was not possible as there was less water than expected so we picked up a mooring buoy and took the hit for the fees. The wind picked up over lunch and we elected to put two reefs in the main and roll a bit of genny away as we exited Newtown.

After lunch we made our way towards Yarmouth spending some time on the way for sea trials of a patented MOB safety aid. We anticipated Yarmouth would still be quite busy but we were wrong. We easily got a space on the walk ashore pontoon. The boat was squared away for the night and a recce ashore secured a table at the Wheatsheaf for later. We returned to the boat (it doesn’t take long to look around Yarmouth!) and broke out the refreshments and nibbles. Another brilliant evening was enjoyed in the Wheatsheaf.

The forecast for Sunday was not great and the crew was briefed for an 8am departure Sunday.

Sunday: Overnight the wind was forecast to back from NNW to WSW and increase through the morning towards gale force by early afternoon. The plan was to get into the lee of Southampton Water by about midday.

The boat was up before 7am as the sun peeped over the town. The mist had settled in the harbour and there was not a single solitary puff of wind anywhere. So much for the forecast - or so you might have thought! Slightly seduced by the calmness we departed at 08:15am, shook both reefs out of the main and motored east hugging the island. Out of the harbour we had a whopping 5knt of westerly breeze. The sail hung like a limp rag. As we crossed Hamstead Ledge and opened up Newtown Creek the wind increased a little so we ran out the genny cut the engine and first gybed towards Newtown shoal before gybing again across the western Solent towards the main land.

The wind was increasing rapidly and I thought about a reef or two. I glanced behind me and the decision was obvious - we took the main down completely and broad reached on full genny. Within about 30mins we were recording 30+knots of wind from the west. We had an exhilarating sail across to the north shore, gybed a few times in about 3m of water before gybing again across towards Egypt Point. We stayed on this course until we could gybe one more time up the Thorn Channel towards Calshot Spit. We were now regularly seeing gusts up to about 45knots and we rolled away about 1/3 of the genny on the final gybe.

In the Thorn Channel we met the supertanker “Marbat” in ballast departing Fawley. This is probably one of the biggest vessels you are ever likely to see in the Solent at 320,000 Tonnes DW. We elected to pass up-wind!!! The rest of the day was uneventful as we returned to the Hamble, re-fuelled and handed the boat back.

Many thanks to Jeff for doing an excellent job with the provisioning and everyone else for making the whole weekend such an enjoyable event.

Hamble Point Marina  50.8518,-1.3099
Weather at EGHI   6 kts from WSW 17.0C, 1019mb Mostly Cloudy