Trip on Spellbinder starting 2015-02-16 in BSAMar15
BSA Trip 16 -18 February 2015 – Spellbinder report by Don Hirst
Pensioners’ Progress – A Gentleman’s Sail
The crew, Penny Luck, John Hartland, Richard Trim and Don Hirstand Skipper Gordon Ogden met on the Haslar pontoon and admired Spellbinder looking resplendent after her recent refit. Pity it can’t be done for some of the crew. The handover check for Spellbinder was quickly completed. The experienced crew were reminded of all aspects of the safety brief. We then headed for Wetherspoons to do what we do best, meet up with the crew of Quartette to socialise and confirm our sailing plans. The most challenging of which was an 8am start.
Monday started benign with a gentle southerly breeze. An 8am start was achieved by both boats. We had a delightful upright Gentleman’s sail. Spellbinder’s sails were marginally shortened to match Quartette which appeared to be sailing really well. The weather gods must have been taken by surprise by BSA’s prompt start and had not been paying attention to the BBC and Coastguard warnings of a change of wind direction and increase to Force 7. We prepared lunch early while enjoying the flat conditions in the Solent before passing Hurst Point upright at a SOG of 10 knots. We still achieved a good speed as we turned to starboard into the North Channel after avoiding ‘the Trap’. Having passed North Head we set course for Poole at a very leisurely pace, sails let right off, so much so the helm had a senior moment nearly causing an unintentional gibe before settling down to lunch. We had just taken our first bite when the weather gods woke up creating a 90 deg wind shift, throwing in strong downward gusts to really confuse the sea and helm. The light rain became more persistent. Lunch had to be temporally abandoned and full attention given to sailing. Order was soon restored. The promised Force 7 never materialised, we briefly touched Force 5, but it was all over before Poole. The wind dropped, the uncomfortable rain stopped, the sun even threatening an appearance. We arrived on berth in Poole harbour marina in good time to dry off, spruce ourselves up for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles aboard Quartette, prior to our run ashore to Alcatraz, who were doing a half price Monday night dinner and drinks promotion of which we took full advantage.
Tuesday dawned bright with a gentle northerly breeze. Tidal conditions at Hurst Point for entry to the Solent allowed for a relaxed late start. There was time for a shopping expedition to the chandlers, and a coffee, while sitting out in the sun. We slipped at 11.30 and had a gentle motor sail out of Poole harbour and up the main channel, unlike Quartette who turned to Port taking, what I was informed, is the East Looe channel. The one with England on one side, sandbanks on the other, and very little water in between. We had a gentle sail towards the Needles Channel, an uninterrupted lunch in the bay, while enjoying idyllic conditions. We had however promised to host pre dinner drinks and nibbles at 18.00 hours, originally at Hamble, but the risk of missing the 18.00 hr deadline was too great, we reluctantly had to resort to engine power and change the destination to Yarmouth to avoid being late for this appointment. We arrived safely in Yarmouth in good time to host après sail socialising before setting out for the yacht club. In true BSA fashion we did not make it beyond the Kings Head where we had a pleasant meal.
Wednesday dawned bright, another 8am start, Tuesday’s gentle breeze had almost disappeared and although we attempted to sail against the tide we had to use the engine as we set off for a large big boy ham omelette breakfast at Newtown Creek. It was beautiful moored in the creek, time ran away with us, the wind still did not pick up sufficiently to drive Spellbinder against the adverse tide. Reluctantly the engine was started. Progress was not good enough to allow time to engage in the planned boat handing and lunch in Cowes. We headed directly for Haslar, had lunch in transit, refuelled, tided up and left at 16.00. The Crews express their thanks to the Skippers for managing an excellent trip. The women crew members have asked for a special vote of thanks to be given to both true Gentlemen Skippers.