Trip on Quartette starting 2015-12-19 in BSAFeb16

19th - 20th December 2015 (Jane’s Christmas Party Trip) – report by Phil Steele

Phil Steele (Skipper), Becky Goddard, Jane Coombes, Richard Trim and Bob Buchanan on PSC Yacht Quartette an Oceanquest 35 with in mast reefing.

We commenced the Christmas festivities on the Friday evening with the usual seasonal Chinese all you can eat dinner admiring the decorative lights enroute in anticipation of a party weekend with sailing included even though we had a small snag list from the boatswain.

The boatMap was freshly delivered from the boat yard and had some winter servicing carried out so we completed the usual checks in accordance with PYC standing instructions plus a few we always like to do in addition. This did not prove to be enough.

The weather forecast promised S-SW F5-7increasing 8 with strong gusts and moderate to rough seas, locally we knew that we would be sheltered in the Solent. So we set off in dry bright conditions, the helmsman as usual seemed to be reluctant to bow spring out and made for an entertaining and exciting departure with copious amounts of engine use, there is a reason I mention this on this trip as will be revealed. We had nearly a half tank of fuel so we had planned to tie up at Yarmouth. With a head wind we motored toward No4 Bar buoy to decide if we were going to use both sails. As the ferry neared to us the engine died and would not restart. The Genoa was rapidly deployed but main had just been refitted and was untested under load. We headed back into Portsmouth notifying the harbour master.

The problem could not be quickly found so we decided to lasso a buoy adjacent to Ballast post between two moored yachts and was successful on the 3rd attempt. The suspicion was fuel starvation and after calling the boatswain for clues we opted for Seastart especially after being instructed not to bleed the system ourselves. We checked the fuel tank isolation valve which was very difficult to see and very hard to access but seemed ok, the filter bowls were full but would not bleed. After lunch Seastart arrived from the Hamble and confirmed that fuel was not coming from the tank, a new sight gauge had been fitted and we had used alternative means to check the tank level. Bob heroically dived into the locker with a broom handle and pushed the valve handle to fully open after discovering that the lever was not perfectly aligned, cause solved now the engineer commenced a very difficult bleed of the system and had to use his power pack when the boats battery went flat.

We were on our way by 14:30 and soon had both sails up making 8Kts plus with the engine running for the first hour to charge the batteries. The sea was slight and winds built requiring reefing without loss of speed on a close reach. We arrived in west CowesMap in time for an early evening beer or two after the Genoa furling line became detached. Back on board Jane heated the mulled wine and readied snacks while Becky erected the Christmas tree and played corny Christmas carols soon the decorations were up and the Christmas crackers placed on the laid table in readiness for the roast dinner, mince pies and cream. The marina had not charged us for electricity because the supply was interrupted soon after arrival, the mild weather and red wine meant the lack of the oil heating was not a problem.

The next day the ladies went to the Christmas market while the non shoppers set about the furling drum which appeared to have a securing clip missing and the line was intact. The system was jury rigged so the sail could be furled. After this delay we got off by 12:00 achieving consistently over 8kts with the Genoa only in the repeated forecast. We extended the sail by taking a longer way back and sailed up the main channel. Bob recorded over 9kts on his GPS abeam of Wootton creek.

We would like to thank Richard Ash, the Bosun, for his tolerance on having to take several calls and texts from us on the busiest shopping weekend of the year and apologies for breaking his boat. PYC are very reasonable and only charged us for two half day sails and they are letting us use them again. A big thank you is in order to PYC and especially to the people who work so hard on maintaining the yachts to a high standard and to those who administer the club.

haslar marina  50.7904,-1.1213
west Cowes  50.7624,-1.2958