Trip on Spellbinder starting 2007-12-10 in BSAJan08
3.1 Spellbinder from Phoenix YC, Gosport - 10-12 December 2007
The forecast was pretty foul and in truth at least two of us were not looking forward to the 3 days sail. On the premise ‘never trust the weather man’ we met up on the Sunday evening in high spirits and ate at about 9:00pm at the Lightship at the end of the Haslar Marina where they were not best pleased to see us. We arrived on the point of closing as they had not seen a soul since 4:00pm that afternoon due to the weather. When the huffs and puffs had passed they provided a sound meal and Keith was more than impressed with his sea food platter. The following morning the situation had calmed amazingly. The NE was still blowing 5/6 gusting 7 however it was not the predicted 8 and while the seas were moderate to rough and the passage to East Cowes, a bit of a bash it was not unpleasant. The East Cowes Marina, selected by Keith, proved to be excellent value for just £10 winter mooring. The facilities were excellent and while access to West Cowes necessitates a little walk and use of the free chain ferry it is definitely a deal to be commended.
At the far end of town, the Union Pub serves a fair meal and next morning the seas were unbelievably - millpond flat calm. Since sailing looked unlikely we made a leisurely start and motored round to Newtown Creek for lunch. For a while there, we were a lone boat, under clear skies and strong sunshine lulled to the cries of the curlews. We left not a moment too soon as we had an appointment with the Queen! The possibly ill-fated £300m , due to start her maiden voyage from Southampton Water at 17:00hrs and we were keen to join the flotilla in her wake. With the tide against us for most of the way we struggled to arrive on time. Having lost the light by 16:30 hrs we had an interesting time following the correct markings. With some checking and rechecking we just made it for the spectacular firework display and then tucked in behind the 90.000ton Queen (smaller than her sister Queen Mary but larger than her predecessor QE2). She was a stunning sight with her 18 decks lit from stem to stern however undoubtedly due to the chilly temperatures there were not so many boats with us and we were possibly the last as we turned to gingerly pick our way up the Hamble to the marina.
Although Port Hamble was pretty empty, even with discount the mooring fee was a substantial £32. From sundown onwards temperatures were pretty low and with a fair amount of frost around particularly hazardous in the morning. We ate at The Hart Inn where the large log fire was more than welcome. For the following and final day the weather was perfect for the sail back to Gosport, sea state slight, wind 3-4 and we arrived back at Haslar around mid afternoon for the obligatory scrub up. Spellbinder as ever, proved to be a comfortable, solid boat that rides the seas well. She is well equipped and thank goodness the heater was working. We had concerns about the health of the engine and a few instruments weren’t working e.g. wind speed and rev. counter, however she never let us down. The fore cabin continues to be very damp and she is certainly now more than due for the promised make over. Many thanks go to Keith for stepping in at such short notice for Chris Watts our original skipper and thanks go to Kate our most able victualler.