Trip on Quartette starting 2016-01-18 in BSAFeb16
18th – 20th January 2016 (January Sails Trip) – report by Phil Steele
PYC yacht ‘Quartette’ was opted for because ‘Spellbinder’ had an engine concern, and after last month’s misfortune with Quartette’s engine it seemed a wise choice.
All the crew met for a late Sunday briefing in Wetherspoons and discussed passage options and agreed that Poole and Northney were out. The decisions were based on foul tide and it would be a hard push to Poole. The adverse weather was unlikely to abate early enough to ensure a safe passage over the bar at Chichester. It was agreed that Yarmouth was the best option followed by a trip up the Hamble on the Tuesday.
We set off the next morning turning at the Swashway, the wind was southerly F4 gusting 5 in the sheltered Solent with a risk of rain, so a reefed main and genoa were set. Engine off as usual except when the stop was pulled the alarm did not sound. The engine control panel was dead and restarting was not possible. I have broken ‘Quartette’ again, how embarrassing. The obvious was checked but no joy. We shortened sail to reduce speed and contacted Richard Ash, the bosun who gave excellent information on the possible causes. We called Seastart who instructed us to head into Osborne Bay.
Meanwhile investigations into the problem continued at which point the electronic chart plotter showed its true value, providing instant navigation and ship movements whilst working below. Full credit to the on-deck crew managing the boat. The attempt to hot wire the starter failed but the Seastart boat was approaching. The engineer arrived and continued the investigation and discovered a broken wire in the engine compartment. Once fixed we headed of towards Yarmouth.
The delay meant that we caught the worst of the tide at Cowes entrance just as the strong winds abated. We sailed on having to use the engine for the last couple of miles. In Yarmouth we were diverted to a non-visitors’ berth due to dredging operations which had a powerful back eddy making berthing difficult. Following mulled wine we made our way to the Bugle for dinner.
The next morning the decks were covered with ice and unsafe, so we did not leave until it had thawed at about 11.30. Surprisingly we had more wind than expected from the forecast, high for a while, and we sailed most of the way, using the engine from Calshot. We tied up in Mercury Yacht Haven to be confronted with the prospect of more overnight dredging. After mulled wine again we walked to the village and dined in the Bugle (under new management and can no longer be recommended). Another starlit frosty night-walk back to the marina.
The marina staff reported minus five degrees at dawn so the boat did not defrost until noon. Another surprisingly good sailing breeze SE F3 provided a good sail back to Haslar. Cleaning up as temperatures fell below zero again.