Trip on Spellbinder starting 2007-11-19 in BSADec07
3.1Spellbinder from Phoenix YC, Gosport, November 19th –21st - report by Nigel Buck
Did any of you see the weather forecast on the eve of Sun 18th of Nov? It wasn’t the best of outlooks for the 3 day trip from Gosport to wherever we could reach and back again. Force 7 forecast and not much change. Kate and Nigel arrived later than the others to find them contemplating whether or not to cancel the trip, as they pumped out the water which was leaking down the mast. Apparently Spellbinder had been handed over to David from the weekend’s skipper with the warning that he had just returned from Yarmouth through the worst seas he had ever seen in the Solent! This being Nigel’s first BSA trip and first sailing experience in UK waters he wasn’t sure quite what to make of all this, surely this was what UK sailing in November was always like. Cold, wet and miserable?? We decided to wait and see what the morning bestowed.
Blue skies, sunshine, and certainly no Force 7, so we headed out from Haslar into the Solent. Pretty lumpy coming out past the hovercraft port, but once we had made our turn it was great. We switched the motor off and sailed to East Cowes. Kate took us into the pontoon and we had lunch before heading straight back out into some good wind (23.6 kts) and great sailing to Yarmouth. Don took us into the marina and we all took ourselves out to the oversized and overpriced food of the Bugle. We took a peek through the windows of the Wheatsheaf on the way back towards the boat but all decided it was too bright and full of kids so we opted for a few in the Kings Head before retiring to our berth.
Tuesday woke to a forecast of force 4-5 wind becoming cyclonic 5-7 and rain. Hmmm, should we believe it? Yesterday was anything but what had been forecast. We showered, had breakfast aboard and Nigel took us out into the misty dull morning and headed under sail to the Needles on a calm sea. A slow and rainy morning, we all worked out where the sand bank and shipping lanes were and turned about and sailed to Beaulieu river for lunch, or at least we would have done if time and water hadn’t prevented us from attempting to get in, so we changed course for Newtown Creek instead. Bernard’s cold got a lot worse in the day’s passing showers and David said he’d probably be dead before Christmas – their friendship is something special!
Wind picked up in the afternoon and we got some good, if damp sailing in (gusting 21 kts) as Nigel helmed us on our way to Cowes Yacht Haven (North basin). Spellbinder’s heater then packed up and we were forced to find refuge in a local establishment that sold food and intoxicating beverages – The Union Inn. Cheaper and better food than Yarmouth. Walking back to the boat, two crewmembers who shall remain nameless, but who weren’t Don, David or Bernard, decided that the one thing that was missing from this trip was Whisky. So undeterred by the lateness of the hour and grumpiness of the co-op staff, they hunted down a fine malt while Kate attempted to re-model the shop interior by gently breaking off pieces of the newsstand and replacing them elsewhere, while the grumpy staff made condescending comments. Back aboard for cards, a few drams and a rather bouncy night’s sleep.
Wednesday’s forecast was SW 4-5 becoming cyclonic 5-7 but by this time we knew the score…we popped our heads out to sunshine and no wind. After a slightly clumsy cast off, (the bow line came off too early …well it’s not always easy to hear everything from the bow through woolly hats) we refueled and motored out of Cowes. We then caught the breeze and had a long and lazy, sunny, goose–winged sail followed by some nice long tacks up through the forts to Bembridge bay for lunch on anchor at LW in more glorious sunshine.
After an exhausting haul up of the anchor, Kate sailed us back to Gosport and arrived bang on 4pm. When the heavens opened and didn’t stop until we were all half way back to Bristol. Great trip in good company – oh, and never trust the weatherman!