Trip on Spellbinder starting 2015-03-23 in BSAMay15
March 23 - 25 on ‘Spellbinder’ – report by John Hartland.
Skipper – Gordon Ogden
We arrived at Haslar on Sunday evening at low water. The walkway pontoons were aground and sloping to the right, making it more difficult than usual to control the luggage trolley. Having made it without mishap to Spellbinders berth we found she was also touching bottom. She was afloat again by the time we walked to Wetherspoons for supper. It was agreed to make an early start the following morning, provided we were not stuck in the mud.
As soon as breakfast, boat checks and safety briefing would allow, we slipped out of Haslar leaving our fellow sailors on Quartette to finish their preparations for sea.
The forecast had been easterly winds becoming variable westerly F3 -4, in effect it was mostly westerly F3. Spellbinders Genoa was away being repaired so we had to make do with a much smaller headsail than usual. We enjoyed sailing down on the tide, then going through the gate in the submarine barrier off Southsea.
Turning to starboard we sailed out towards the deep water channel and then on towards Chichester, where we planned to go for lunch. High water was around 13:30 so this would give us plenty of depth over the bar and on into the harbour. Just after taking the turn into the Chichester channel we saw a spectacular clash of waves to starboard, this was barely outside the buoyed channel. Quartette passed us as we dropped Spellbinders mainsail so we followed them up the channel on the incoming tide. Quartette’s skipper had mentioned going up to Bosham and turning to port he took the Bosham arm of the channel. We followed, picking up a mooring buoy with a good view of Bosham church. We resisted the views opting for lunch in the comparative warmth down below.
Hearing Quartette leaving, we did the necessary chores and followed them about twenty minutes later.
As we were making very slow progress heading to Cowes, Gordon rang Chris on Quartette to change the arrangement for pre-dinner drinks.
We passed thet, anchored in Stokes bay, at a respectful distance as we didn’t want to be accosted by the circling security craft (no doubt armed to the teeth). The aircraft carrier was visiting Portsmouth but was too big to enter the harbour.
Cold and tired we tied up in East Cowes marina, then thawed out with wine and a fine selection of nibbles provided by our fellow sailors onboard Quartette.
Our evening meal at The Lifeboat was enjoyed by all, but no one was keen to leave for the chilly walk back to the boat on distant pontoon ‘A’.
We left Cowes after a leisurely breakfast with the idea of making for Hythe, in Southampton Water, where we could pick up a mooring buoy for our lunch stop.
A sleek racing boat passed us being towed at high speed down Southampton Water, the boat was riding well out of the water on hydrofoils. We later found out from Quartette’s crew that this was Sir Ben Ainslie’s boat which they are training to use for the Americas Cup.
Not making much progress tacking against the north westerly wind and with the tide against us we decided it was time to seek a pontoon in the Hamble for lunch. Having selected our spot we approached with the wind blowing us off (Beware the offers of help from inexperienced crew of other boats) the lines were thrown and caught but one of them thought he just needed to hold it. It looked for a moment he would be pulled off the pontoon into the water, luckily we managed to get on to the pontoon and with the help of the other crew member tie up. The squall that hit with force 6 winds happened just at the wrong moment but within a few minutes it was much calmer. After lunch, while we were getting ready to leave, Quartette headed past us out towards Southampton Water.
Once out in the Solent we had some good sailing down to Yarmouth, the tide was helping us to achieve a good speed over the ground and we had to take care not to get swept past the entrance. We had only just finished tying up when Quartette came in and tied up behind us. It was our turn to welcome Quartette’s crew on board Spellbinder for pre-dinner drinks.
Gordon insisted on treating us to a G & T at the Royal Solent Yacht Club where we were warmly welcomed by a small group of members. In chatting to them we were informed we were welcome to use the clubs showers free of charge when the club was open.
We had supper at the Kings Head which was generally good but were charged £17 .50 for a cheap bottle of house wine.
That morning we decided once again to make the best of the day, leaving before Quartette. Wind was forecast to be north becoming south west F3 - 4 increasing 5 - 7 later. We had some good sailing to start with, tacking up the Solent towards Cowes. With a variable north easterly wind blowing we managed 10 knots over the ground for a while. As the wind started to drop we took the reef out of the main. We were still sailing when we saw Quartette motoring up towards us. We thought the tack we were on might take us within hailing distance, but this was not to be, the wind died and they passed us about twenty boat lengths away. The wind became very fickle off Cowes and occasionally non-existent. Reluctantly the engine was started and course set for Haslar. Chris and Colin from Quartette were standing on the pontoon ready to take our lines as we returned Spellbinder to her berth.
Thanks to skipper and crew of both Spellbinder & Quartette for making yet another very enjoyable sailing trip.