Trip on Quartette starting 2015-03-23 in BSAMay15
BSA trip on Quartette, March 23-25 2015 – report by Sue Fowle.
Skipper – Chris Watts
Over supper on the Sunday night plans were laid for a morning departure on the exceptionally high tide which unusually for us was in an easterly going direction. Overnight we bumped on the bottom of the marina and the pontoons sloped at a significant angle in the morning.
We left soon after 9am and with some artistic navigation but a detailed passage plan, we cleared the submerged barrier and headed towards Chichester harbour. Winds from the north west were light so we sailed and motored our way to West Pole and into the expanse of water, remarking on the shallow, narrow channels and turbulent waters over the sandbanks. Despite it being his first trip here for 25 years Chris was familiar with the area so led the way in Quartette with Spellbinder behind us to mooring buoys in Bosham harbour. This was a first for most of us from BSA as the tide is often too low. Penny was delighted having waited 10 years since she joined the club to sail to Chichester Harbour and thought she may have to wait for a club trip to scatter her ashes! We had lunch in the sunshine close to the Saxon church and ancient wooden pier, discussing which of the stylish houses would suit us.
A Mayday message came through whilst we were lunching, about a motorboat which had gone aground in Christchurch Harbour. How easy to get the two harbours mixed up so sadly we were not on a rescue mission as we headed out.
After safely retracing the channels we scientifically navigated until the forts were astern when our skipper suggested MOB practice. As the helmsperson awaited instruction there was a high-pitched whizzing noise which took us all by surprise. Particularly the helmsperson as their life jacket went off! Was this artificial intelligence anticipating our next move? The practice was rather forgotten in the gales of laughter.
As happens the winds dropped so after some patient light winds sailing the iron topsail took us into East Cowes where Spellbinder soon caught us up .We gleefully used up one of the last Phoenix free berths before nibbles and food.
Tuesday morning the wind gave us some lively sailing in The Solent and Southampton Water, and Ellie soon got the hang of the wheel after usually sailing with a tiller. We failed dismally however to keep up with Sir Ben who tacked closely round us. The only rain of the trip arrived in a nasty F6 squall which drove us to the Hamble for lunch where Chris showed us how to moor alongside using the boat’s central cleat.
Yet more variable winds led us to Yarmouth where skippers treated their crews to G&Ts in the RYC – a rather desultory place on a midweek spring evening. The debris on the harbour slipway indicated the height of the tide that week.
Wednesday dawned bright and cool with the wind promising more than it delivered so after an unsuccessful trip to replace the lifejacket canister we made the most of the tide to take us back to Gosport. We passed close by the US aircraft carrier,which was a great tourist attraction. The deck was lined with planes and we got surprisingly close to it. Apparently it had a ‘crew’ of 5000 and looking at the blank sides of the ship must live the life of moles or perhaps, submariners. Portsmouth and Southampton were apparently expecting a boost to their economies but a more cynical crew member commented there may be a parallel boost in the birth rate in 9 months’ time.
So here endeth another winter’s sailing on Quartette and 76 nms added to our logs.
Thank you to Chris for skippering, victualing the boat and providing instruction.