Trip on Spellbinder starting 2008-03-16 in BSAApril08
There was just one report, by Steve Freestone, on a midweek sail on the PYC yacht “Spellbinder”, skippered by Gordon, on 16th - 19th March, with Crew of Steve Freestone, Anita Freestone, Sue Fowle and Graham Constable.
All but Sue arrived Sunday Evening who joined us early Monday morning. After stowing all our gear and making Spellbinder ready for the next morning, we retired to the local pub for a well earned pint and a good steak. Early to bed on what was a very cold night, in fact a very cold north-easterly stayed with us for the whole three days.
High water Portsmouth was at 7.43 am on Monday, one day after neaps, wind forecast N - NE Force 3 – 5.
After the equipment and safety briefing, we left at about 10.30 am to sail around to Southampton Water for lunch. Raising Sail in Haslar Lake, the engine cut out at about 1500 rpm while motoring. This was to re-occur on several occasions throughout our three days and has been reported to PYC. With a quick re-start we continued out to the Swashway channel for a good sail around Gilkicker, crossing Stokes Bay on a reach up to the East Bramble LM where we entered the North Channel. Headed into Southampton Water, we arrived, as timing would have it, along with two tugs and a large tanker. Our reach turned into a beat and although we were on starboard and under sail no quarter was given or expected. Making use of several lifters we were able to gain ground away from them and made it through to the small craft moorings at Hythe Sailing Club where were to anchor for lunch. With a little persuasion and a degree of coercion our skipper agreed to try to pick up our mooring buoy under sail. All was going well until a little technical problem - we ran out of water- depth was down to about .25 m under the keel so we aborted. After a quick reconnoitre we motored on to a buoy with about .75 m at low tide.
After lunch we laid plans to make for Yarmouth, but with the stream against us and the wind dropping, speed over the ground was falling. We got across the main stream, passing East Lepe buoy, and headed into Thorness Bay, to do a Coast Hugger up to Yarmouth. The wind was now behind us and falling, and time against us, so it was decided to cut and run to Cowes. Good move as it was getting cold, and warm showers at East Cowes awaited. That evening a run ashore into Cowes found us five, out of what appeared to be a total count of about fifteen people in the town, on a cold Monday night. The best option seemed to be the Pub at the end of the High Street where a log fire was well received, along with good food and beer.
We decided on an early start for Tuesday with well laid plans to have breakfast on the Beaulieu River. With a falling tide we needed to get our tidal heights right. This proved a useful exercise in course plotting and pilotage. Arriving at about 10.30 am we got in and picked up a buoy. Getting out and over the bar was going to be trickier so timing was all important. Out and with cm’s to spare we headed up to the North Channel which proved a challenge with wind and tide against us gusting to 4 - 5 in confined water. It was then a hove-to for lunch, east of Ryde Bank which proved quite interesting with the Sunsail Fleet bearing down on us under spinnakers.
We then sailed “around the island” in this case Bramble Bank and headed back to Haslar to drop Graham off who unfortunately had to leave early due to business commitments. That evening a trip over on the ferry to Spinnaker Centre, where a pleasant meal was enjoyed in Zissi.
Next morning, up and leave early, with a mission to have breakfast in Bembridge.
Wind was forecast for 5 -6 N - NE so with 2 reefs and 75% Genoa we set sail for an exciting sail over. There was considerable commercial traffic about with several very large container ships, which necessitated us sailing up to the layline before turning for Bembridge. Cracking sail in to the Channel where, with good pilotage from Sue and some careful calculations on tidal heights ensued, to ensure we get out over the bar again.
Tricky mooring to pontoon with wind off gusting up to a 5. On the second approach we made it with some nimble foot work and plenty of muscle power.
Following a great breakfast with Sue as master of the Grill we had hot cross buns and a mug of hot tea, before we set off out again up to Cowes for lunch. Good decision, for we had a great sail, 5 - gusting 6 with Spellbinder handling it all with ease.
Into Cowes and a first for me, I actually had the Chain Ferry wait for me. Wow! There was the matter of the White Funnel Ferry doing a three point turn on my starboard... rock and hard place comes to mind.
Following a late lunch we needed to get back to Haslar pronto so we set our course and sailed in company (raced) a Dufour 38 back to Portsmouth. Very interesting, they sail flatter on the same bearing but we could sail as fast, if not faster with a considerable amount of heel, but without too much leeway. We were pleased as we sailed back all the way with a fine beat right up the Swash Channel from Anita, with only minor adjustments to track and a bit of shooting the mark at the far end of the channel. Oh and of course we got there first.
We came to sail and sail we did, arriving back at Haslar around 4.30 pm tired but exhilarated.