Trip on RelaX starting 2018-11-30 in BSADec18

RelaX30 November – 5 December 2018 – reports by Gordon Ogden

PYC Yacht RelaX of Phoenix

Part 1:30 November – 2 December 2018

Skipper Tom Lynch, with Nigel Aldridge, Paul Carlin, Janet Carroll and Janet Dalton and Gordon Ogden.

RelaX is the PYC replacement for our beloved Spellbinder! She is a 10-year old X-40 by X-Yachts of Denmark. Tom Lynch advised that in her early PYC trips, RelaX had shown a distinct tendency for the bow to blow off in any kind of strong wind, especially during close-quarter handling. Also, the advice is that she must be reefed early! She has a 2.1 metre draft and the familiarisation process involves some tidal height/secondary port calculations!

I joined this PYC weekend cruise principally to complete the required ‘familiarisation’ on RelaX, in order to be cleared to skipper her for our trips. In the event, it proved to be a most enjoyable sailing trip, characterised by strong winds, rain, poor visibility at times, good company and much jolly banter!

RelaX had been at Hamble for repairs and maintenance and had been lifted back into the water on Friday and the engine and drive gear tested. Four of us got aboard late on Friday afternoon. The forecast for Saturday was poor, so Tom decided we should get RelaX back to home base at HaslarMap that evening. As the mast and sails had also been put on that day, Tom decided we should motor, rather than wrestle with the newly bent-on sails in the dark!

Saturday, 1 December dawned wet and windy, so the morning was spent doing some boat handling in Portsmouth Harbour. Nigel Aldridge was doing both his familiarisation and PYC skipper appraisal and was our ‘acting’ skipper for the trip. Towards mid-day, the conditions appeared to be improving a little, so we set off for Cowes. A heavy weather jib and three reefs in the main and gave us lively sailing in winds up to 30 knots, with occasional poor visibility in the rain showers. Quartette was also out and her crew joined us in the pub at West Cowes.

Sunday’s weather continued very windy as we set off back to Haslar, pausing for a spot of anchoring practice in Osborne BayMap on the way. Nigel navigated us into the main Portsmouth approach channel, between Spit Sand FortMap and the bank of lights erected, we understand, for the new Navy aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The ‘fun’ started as we approached RelaX’s berth! A strong wind was blowing straight out of the berth and, after a couple of efforts, we could see that RelaX really didn’t want to be berthed in a forward direction! The bow was proving very difficult to turn into the strong wind and controlling the yacht whilst manoeuvring slowly with the strong wind on the beam was making life difficult. Tom tried a different approach and skilfully backed us into the berth to bring our trip to an end.

Thanks to Tom and all the PYC crew for an enjoyable trip in trying conditions.

Haslar Marina  50.7908,-1.1171
Osborne Bay  50.7577,-1.251
Spit Sand Fort  50.7704,-1.0991