Trip on Quartette starting 2018-11-13 in BSADec18
‘Quartette’ Nov. 13 – 15 – report by John Hartland
PYC Yacht ‘Quartette’ – Westerly Oceanquest
Ewart and I arrived at Gosport late on Monday afternoon and after a provisioning trip to Morrison’s, we picked up the keys to Quartette. As we were stowing everything away, Quartette’s boson turned up, he had been working on her earlier and had left his phone on the chart table. He gave us an update on the work he had been doing, assuring us he had done all the engine checks. After he left, we headed to The Star in the High Street for a bite to eat. Returning, we met Gordon on his way to find us. Sue arrived on Tuesday morning and after a leisurely breakfast, we made ready for sea.
The plan was to circumnavigate the Nab Tower before heading into Chichester Harbour for the night. We had a south-westerly force 4 / 5 wind giving us some good sailing. A large container ship passed us and made a turn towards the Nab Tower. From our view it looked as if it was on a collision course with the tower but it passed well on the far side and continued on its course. Our intention was to tack around the tower, and so after passing it we put in a tack. It soon became clear we would not make it and another tack was called. Gordon gave it more than thought necessary before calling for another tack, surely we would make it this time, but no, it was as if there was a magnetic attraction to the tower. A final set of tacks saw us on a clear course around the tower. We were just feeling pleased with ourselves when we heard five toots on the whistle of a freighter, they were very short toots just to remind us he was there. He probably thought we were going to go about again and get in his way.
A cup of tea or cuppa soup would have been appreciated but we could not get the gas to light. On arrival the previous evening I had found the gas bottle locker and turned the gas on! Not the usual tap but a quarter turn type (my excuse was it was dark and in an awkward position). Having shore power we had not needed to use the gas. Both the furling line and sheet for the headsail run over the gas locker making it difficult to open under sail. After a tack I could open the locker to check the gas and found I had turned it off the night before. (A lesson learnt; check you can light the gas before putting to sea.)
After we entered Chichester Harbour, Gordon called Sparkes marina to get a berth and we set about finding the way in. Not obvious at first, it curved around to port but as soon as we spotted the channel marks it became clear where we were going. What we thought was B3 turned out to be B11 and was a short pontoon, while thinking about moving one of the staff came along and pointed us to a pontoon just opposite. A very good move, as it was a much shorter walk ashore. Our evening meal was taken at the onsite Drift Bar, it would be a good spot on a warm summer evening but half way through November did not have the same appeal, we were practically the only customers.
Sue & Ewart volunteered to do some homework on secondary ports while we waited for enough water to leave. The wind which during the night had set halyards clacking had all but gone. A walk ashore gave a good viewpoint of the entrance channel to the marina; it was surrounded by mud banks on both sides. We slipped at about 11:30 and made our way out. The wind was from the south but only force 3 so speed over the ground was slow. The Cunard cruise ship ‘Queen Elizabeth’ passed us, probably on her way to Brest, where she was starting a 16 day refit. A Spitfire circled over the ship a couple of times before heading over the island. Nearing Cowes we calculated we had enough water to take the small boat channel into Cowes. We also decided to go into West Cowes Marina for a change. The Union Inn was the selected destination for our evening meal, where we discussed options for Thursday. The proposal was to go to Bembridge for lunch before returning to Haslar.
The following morning we took the small boat channel again, this was where the ferry ran aground a few weeks ago. The wind was now south easterly but very light force 2 – 3 and bang on the nose, so we motored down towards Ryde. Here it was misty but we could still see land. Within a few minutes the mist thickened losing all reference points and the temperature dropped. Gordon determined we were south west of the North Sturbridge buoy and set a course to steer, now that we had abandoned going to Bembridge. We kept a careful watch all around, listening for the sound of any approaching engines. We passed a couple of small boats anchored and fishing with rod & line. Near Gilkicker we made out the Wight ferry leaving for the Island. Shortly after this we heard the first fog horn; Gordon thought it may be HMS Blazer according to AIS. As we neared the entrance to Portsmouth it sounded as if the fog horn was on our stern rail, this was disconcerting as we could not see a thing. We were feeling our way in along the line of port hand buoys in the small boat channel when the owner of the fog horn appeared, it was the Wight ferry. We were soon in Quartette’s berth and after lunch started the cleaning up, before leaving for home.
Another good BSA trip, thanks to our Skipper Gordon, and the other members of the crew.