Trip on Otter starting 2021-05-21 in BSAJune21
Neyland Weekend 21st May 2021 – report by Ian Collins
Jeanneau SO 379 ‘Otter’A Weekend of Contrasts
At noon on the 21st May Dougal Mathews collected me, my sailing bag, my boat bag and several bags of assorted food for a weekend sail. Throughout the proceeding week the forecasted weather had gusted from pathetic to painful. On our way out of Bristol we picked up Alan and Paula Gray. So, heavy laden, beneath grey skies, we crossed the Channel into Wales. A text from Rhian and Kath confirmed they were on their way and would meet us at the Yacht Haven Marina. We had chartered once again from Pembrokeshire Sailing their Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379, OTTER.
We met up in the bar, our enthusiasm intact, whilst ignoring the weather. This was a crew suffering all the symptoms of sea, salt and sailing deficiency and prepared to put up with whatever the weekend offered, just to be back on the water at last. It had rained on us as we had made our way through Wales. It spat at us as we boarded the boat, but it failed to dampen our enthusiasm. A meal of Lasagne, a few glasses of wine, and the wind and rain beating against the hull, could be ignored.
We woke on Saturday to a day bearing little in common to its predecessor. Not spectacular weather for late Spring, but passable. Dry, 65% cloud, and a force 3 to 4 wind coming down the estuary from the West. At around 0930 on the bottom of the tide we squeezed out of the creek that is Neyland Yacht Haven keeping close to the boats to starboard and the uninviting mud bank to port. Once clear of the creek and into the main channel we turned towards Dale and into a North West wind 4-6 and tacked, with occasional engine assistance till arriving at the sheltered bay to the south of Dale where, avoiding the divers, we anchored for lunch. During lunch the wind continued its journey eastward so by the time we left we could sail, We travelled back to the Marina in a series of long tacks allowing everyone the opportunity to practise sailing close to the wind. We berthed, scrubbed up, and were in the restaurant by 1915 for a very good meal and back to the boat to top up with more wine.
We woke the following morning to a worsening weather situation. As the wind speed increased and the rain matched it, the intention to set sail was put in abeyance. As the storm showed no intention of abating at around 1040 a decision was made to stay where we were. The interior of Otter is light, airy and spacious enough for six people, long locked down, to comfortably socialize. This we did till around 1600. Our charter time up we faced the weather and exited the boat and began a horrific drive back buffeted by wind, torrential rain and motorway spray. A big thanks to Rhian and Dougal for their sterling efforts in returning us all to our homes safely.
As much as the sailing was limited to just one day, the sailing we did manage was excellent. I thank the crew for their good spirits, good sailing and good company.