Trip on Spellbinder starting 2015-12-07 in BSADec15
Spellbinder7-9 December 2015 – report by Gordon Ogden
The forecast for Monday was S 5/6 winds, increasing to 6/7 later with moderate or rough seas! We set off in S force 5 wind, flat sea, and mild weather with sunshine. We all dashed for our sun glasses.
Outside Portsmouth we passed Ben Ainslie testing / training on his Americas Cup yacht. We couldn’t get him to take on the challenge of us lot on Spellbinder. He sailed away eastwards!
We enjoyed lovely sailing down the Solent and found a mooring buoy outside Yarmouth for lunch. The harbour master felt it was worth his while to come out and relieve us of £8 for the privilege! He said it was the same price inside the harbour and that we would have the £8 set against a night’s stay if we so decided. We were bound for Lymington!
After lunch, we took a sight-seeing sailing trip down to Hurst Point and back. Before entering Lymington, we had to hang around a bit for the ferries to clear the entrance channel. Chris used this time to demonstrate crash stops and heaving-to, with time for people to practice. The southerly wind blowing into the entrance channel enabled Chris to sail, under genoa, right up alongside the town quay, before using the engine for about one minute to drop us onto the pontoon.
Overnight we had torrential rain and woke to a forecast of SW 5-7 and W 8 later, with moderate, rough and very rough seas. We took the afternoon tide up to Cowes, under genoa, in SW 6/7 winds, gusting to about 32 kts. As we approached Cowes we experienced some impressive waves off Gurnard, before turning into the sheltered Medina River. East Cowes marina offered the usual sheltered accommodation as the wind settled down during the evening.
There was some discussion around the dinner table about the final passage back to Gosport the next day. We had the expected forecast of yet more strong wind on Wednesday, up to SW 5-7 and 8 later! Someone said it would be perfectly feasible to take advantage of the tide and set off at 0200, during the anticipated period of quieter weather during the night! It would give us all a couple of night hours in our log books and would be fun! I think the groans of disapproval were fairly light-hearted, but Chris then said we could use the tail-end of the fair tide by going at 0630. More moans and groans! Well, in the event, we arose at 0600 and were under way a little after 0700. We had S/SE 2 wind to start with and deployed full sail. It was grand sailing. So enjoyable, in fact, that we sailed down to Horse Sand Fort, just to extend the trip a bit. By the time we turned towards Portsmouth, the wind was up to S/SW 5 and the final few minutes were terrific stuff under full sail, as Spellbinder romped towards home.
Three days of most enjoyable sailing. Many thanks to Chris and fellow crew-mates.