Trip on Spellbinder starting 2016-03-07 in BSAMar16
Gosport – Poole 7-9 March 2016, report by John Hartland
Phoenix yacht: ‘Spellbinder’.
Skipper: Gordon Ogden.
Once everyone had arrived we braved the cold wind to go to the Star rather than the Castle for our evening meal; one or two of us were unable to get our first choice from the menu and some second or third, we supposed being Mothering Sunday had something to do with it...
As the forecast for Monday was good with North Westerly force 4-5 wind it was agreed we would leave as early as we could to take full advantage of the tide going down the Solent through Hurst.
With boat checks and safety briefings completed we set off. With two reefs in the main and not all the Genoa unfurled we headed towards Gilkicker keeping to the transit. We had to put in a couple of tacks to clear Cowes and to put us on advantageous course down to Hurst. Quartette had left Haslar earlier than us and we thought we would catch up with them on our way down the Solent. It soon became apparent they had made good progress and we were not going to catch them. With the wind picking up and the tide starting to influence our speed over the ground we went through Hurst at 10.4kts. Heading along the North Channel we were forced to put in a tack, just as we did, we were hit by a 30 knot gust. We were all thankful the sun had some warmth as the wind was cold and seemed to penetrate all the layers we had put on.
As we crossed Christchurch Bay and on into Poole Bay we were all looking out for Quartette as they had chosen the Needles channel. Gordon said he hoped that they were not having a rough time of it. We could see a few sails in the distance that looked as if they were not making much progress and thought Quartette must be one of them. Gordon thought if it was that uncomfortable Chris might decide to turn and head back into Yarmouth. We were flying across to Old Harry and it was then Gordon rang Chris to find out where they were. We were all pleasantly surprised to hear they could see us and the entrance to Poole. A few minutes later we saw them coming in behind us, and gave them a wave as they passed us towards the chain ferry. It was slow progress through the entrance as the tide was still running out of the harbour. By the time we got into the town quay Chris, Ewart & Colin were waiting to take our lines. We were invited on board Quartette for pre-dinner drinks and nibbles which went down a treat after a long but enjoyable sail. Our usual restaurant was where we headed for our meal, Alcatraz seemed to have changed and several said they thought not for the better, most thought the automatic addition of a service charge on menu price was a step too far. Consensus was we would choose to go somewhere else next time.
As the forecast for Wednesday was looking increasingly grim the decision was made to leave early the following morning and stop in Yarmouth for the tide to moderate before heading to Gosport. Starting at 6am we had breakfast and quickly made ready to leave, with no wind we motored out of our berth at 6:45 with the orange glow of the sun on the horizon. In places as we crossed Poole Bay the sea was almost millpond smooth, a complete contrast to the day before. The sun tried in vain to poke through the thickening cloud and by eleven we had a light shower. Progress through Hurst was very slow with the tide now firmly against us. While manoeuvring towards the entrance to Yarmouth we were entertained by a singlehanded yachtsman rounding the port hand buoy which he did with what looked to be inches to spare as he was being pushed onto it by the tide. He was later seen halfway up the mast and presumably on auto-helm, still sailing. A small power boat was following him and we came to the conclusion they were making some sort of promotional video.
Leaving Yarmouth around 3pm we let out the Genoa but kept the engine running to get us back to Gosport as soon as we could. As we rounded Gilkicker a drizzly mist was making it difficult to see the leading marks but we were soon across and heading up the small boat channel into Portsmouth Harbour. This was when we had an overheat alarm from the engine. Without delay we made our berth and switched off the engine. The water level was topped up the following morning. Quartette came in shortly afterward and it was our turn to catch lines and host pre-dinner drinks. A cold wet walk to The Star for dinner and back to a stormy night in Haslar Marina. After a late breakfast we cleared up and secured Spellbinder. Skipper and crew of both boats met for coffee in the nearby cafe before leaving for the journey home. It was later reported that the RNLI had been busy securing boats in Poole that had dragged moorings.
Thanks to skipper and crew of both boats for making another enjoyable sailing trip.
Distance covered approx 80 Nautical miles.