Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Oh ello :)

Well Ciao Bella may still be kicking back with her feet up on the front lawn but I have managed to sneak out for a few days.

A couple of weeks ago Lapwing Paul and myself struck out East in Lapwing.  Lapwing is a bilge keel Corribee and is no stranger to to the posts on this blog.  On Saturday 8th July Paul brought Lapwing to the end of the pier and we loaded up with beer, cider, rum and some other stuff. We caught the Easterly going tide late afternoon.   We had a very loose plan which involved trying to go to places we hadn't been before.
We put this plan into action straight away by going to Keyhaven.   I had anchored at Hurst before but never been down the river to Keyhaven.

The sailing club at Keyhaven is very friendly and there is a great pub across the road.  Unfortunately we'd missed the time for food at both.  The moorings are for and aft and although it was a calm night anyway, it did seem well sheltered.
The next morning we slinked off to Cowes to kill some time before moving on to Bembridge.  Because of the tide times it was working really well.  We were abl to stagger our journey East giving us time to enjoy stops on the way while we waited for the tide to turn again.

I like Cowes, it is good value compared to the likes of Lymington and Yarmouth.  There is always space and the town is a funny mix of boat people, locals and tourists.  We had a proper lunch to make up for the lack of food the night before and took it easy.  Ice cream as always was high on the agenda.  This launched a week long pondering over who the famous late film producer from the Isle of Wight ice cream family was.
While there 'Islay Mist'  came in. Islay Mist had recently been sold by one of our club members and the new owners were sailing her back to the East coast.  Funnily enough, she had come from the East coast when Pat bought her.
The time to leave Cowes came around and we pointed Lapwing out of the Medina, passing the new break water and back into the Solent where an enormous motor yacht was at anchor.  Not sure how an honest wage pays for something like this ;)

The journey to Bembridge was very pleasant, passing the splendour of Barton Manor, Osborne House and the faded glory of Ryde with the hovercraft belting backwards and forwards.  One of the enjoyable things about going to a new destination is planning the approach.  Bembridge has a definate channel to follow and we didn't want to mess it up.

Bembridge harbour itself is lovely.  Most of it dries at low tide giving a twice daily change of scenery. We took the footpath up to St Helens and tried a couple of local 'Goddards' beers.  Good beer which helped to wash down the good food.  Back on board we had a reasonably early night as the tide to Chichester would be quite early.
The crossing to Chichester harbour was pretty straight forward, although with few landmarks a good compass course needed to be followed and a good look out for shipping was required.

 We entered Chichester harbour almost before we knew it.  The conditions had been pretty good.  Not really knowing the harbour or how quick the water disappears, we made our way toward Bosham.  The harbour is a sprawling network of channels which invite you to explore.  Not far into the harbour we spotted this wonderful Corribee which had been converted to junk rig by  Spence, it's owner.

At Bosham we picked up a mooring not far from the sailing club.   After consulting the almanac I phone the club to see what the score was with visitor buoys.  I started to say 'Hello, we've just arrived at Bosham' when a voice came back and just said 'bos'm. I guess I've been told.   Anyway, the mooring were someone else's responsibility.  A chap was swimming out to his boat and said, so long as we were gone by midday on Monday, we could use his mooring... sweet :)

BoSHam is a beautiful place although there is not a lot there.   We had a cracking steak and chips at the 'Anchor blue'  To save ourselves from sending the whole day in the pub, we walked around the village twice then walked to Fishbourne.. Fishbourne is a place which I will try to avoid in the future.  Back in the bussom of Bos'm we popped into the sailing club where we were made to feel very welcome.  They weren't doing food so we pottered back to the Anchor Blue for another hearty meal.

Tuesday was a somewhat wet and dull day. as the water slowly filled the creek we made plans to go to Dell Quay for lunch and then find shelter in Emsworth Yacht haven for the deluge which was expected over night.  It was a shame the weather was so poor as pootling about the harbour was what we really wanted to do.  The trip to Dell Quay was great but getting back to Emsworth was a wet and tedious venture.  After a day like that, the cost of a walk ashore mooring and a hot shower is irrelevant.
Even better we had arranged to meet fellow Hurley 20 owner, Sparrow Steve, for a beer or two.  Emsworth is a nice looking town with plenty of pubs, but you'd better like Fullers :)  Sadly the last high street bank had just shut it's doors leaving the town with just one ash point in the Co-op.  However, none of these things worried me as I do like Fullers and I had no need for a bank.   Another high calorie high protein meal was taken.  Steak and Ale Pie and chips :)

Wednesday morning came and everything looked brighter, apart from the fact I'd been sleeping in a puddle and had been dripped on all night.  We had time to kill so took a dry stroll around the town until the tide was in enough to release from the yacht haven over the sill.  Unsure of how far we'd get, we thought we'd be be happy to get as far as Ryde but hopefully Cowes.  As it goes, we had a great days sailing an made it as far as Newtown creek, with a little help from the motor for the last hour.

Newtown creek is one of my favourite places but even on a weekday evening it is quite busy.  Picking a place to anchor is nerve wracking, as is the moment, some hours later, when you realise the anchor is slipping through the mud.  We didn't have the will to paddle ashore so Pasta Aribiatta was the dish of the day preceded and followed by Beer, cider and rum.

We woke early on the Thursday as we would need to be underway by 6am if with didn't want to spend another 6 hours in Newtown creek.  The lure of a warm shower, coffee and icecream was enough to lure us across the solent again to Lymington.

It had been a perfectly windless morning so we didn't even attempt to raise a sail.  We motor into Lymington, following the ferry, at around 7am.  By 8am the town quay was buzzng with activity. What a contrast to Newtown.  

 We stayed at Lymington until around 2pm.  Which gave me time to have a much needed haircut and a Chicken Jalfrezi at Wetherspoon. The trip back to Poole was excellent.  We had a decent breeze all the way back and make it back to the mooring before all the water disappeared.  It was great to be back on a pocket cruiser.  Lapwing is a great little boat but she aint my Ciao Bella ;P

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Marlins mission

Well a big adventure has sprung upon Ciao Bella.   I was contacted a while ago to see if I would be  willing to assist Dave Selby from PBO with his 'Marlin's Mission' quest.    For those who don't know, Dave has sailed his Sailfish 18 from Maldon in Essex to Southampton to promote the pleasure of sailing small, cheap boats on a shoe string.  A task made more difficult by the Viral disorder that Dave suffers from called Guillain-Barre syndrome.  

I left Poole at about 11:40 on Monday on route to Warsash.  Quite excited as I've never sailed into Southampton water before.  The forcast was for very light winds but it was just about perfect.  Force 2 from the south gave me a good run across Poole bay and Christchurch bay in 4 hours.

I had to tack a couple of times before dropping through the Hurst channel.  There was a bit of a chop coming through but nothing to exciting. :)

Another two hours saw me approaching the entrance to Southampton water.  Unfortunately the wind was dropping and time was running out so it was time to start the motor.

The sunset was absolutely fantastic over Fawley.  Time to head for Warsash sailing club.

Dave was at Warsash to meet me, as was another Hurley owner, Dave Edwards and Justine with there absolutely stunning Hurley 18 called Womble.  I never seen such a beautifully restored GRP boat.   We spent the evening in the Rising Sun at Warsash.
The next morning we all set off together to sail to the town quay.  The wind was very poor and we spend most of the time drifting sideways so eventually had to start the motors again.


On the way up Dave did a radio interview with Radio Solent and a photographer from Practical boat owner came to the quay to meet up and get some press photos.

Womble, above, is just stunning and pictures do not do it justice.

Ciao Bella getting dragged out at the town quay slipway.

The boat show stand starting to come together.  On tuesday we were pretty much the only people here.

Dave working hard

By Thursday the site was much busier.. we are neearly ready to go.   Come along and say hello.  We are on stand A134.

Marlin's mission -

Monday, 5 September 2016

Seagull cam

Sorry Dom, I stole your facebook comment for the post title.
Not the most exciting bit of sailing footage but a huge thanks to Richard from Skitch pics for bringing your drone along. Would be nice if we could control the weather  :)

Friday, 2 September 2016

Fluky (motor) sail to Studland

Blimey, a week and a half late...I must try to keep this blog up to date :)  
Anyway, after returning from Summer holiday I was desperate to get out on Ciao Bella.  We'd been camping in Brittany which was lovely but also absolute torture as it is sailing heaven.
The view from my tent.
I persuaded James to come along for a saunter out to Studland, I new Lapwing Paul would be out there, so it would be good to catch up.   We spent a bit of tie in the harbour as a Friend of mine had brought his drone over to do some filming.  Unfortunately the wind around Brownsea castle was not very good so most of his footage was either just bobbing around or motoring :( 

We motored out of the harbour and left the engine on until the end of the training wall.  From then on the wind picked up abit and we could sail properly over to the moorings.   With the weather being quite nice there weren't many moorings.  I did get on to one not too far from Lapwing and started to pump up the dinghy.. only to see Paul jump in the water and start swimming towards us.  He's clearly mad but made it in quick time.  

We considered going ashore but that would have made us miss the tide and be very late back.  Instead you just had a bit of a chat then Paul swam back to Lapwing and we set off back to the club.

The sail back was also pretty slow and eventually had to stat the engine.. It became a bit of a push to get through the entrance and I hugged the shallower water to get back to my mooring.
All in all a bit of a rushed trip but better out than not. :)   James clearly enjoyed it, he took all the pics.

I've not been able to get out again since but hav been over to check on her... looks like the antifoul has given up and the Terns are starting to redecorate the whole boat Grrrrr.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

West country cruise

Saturday 16th July

Poole to Weymouth:  
We had a civilised start time from the club this time... no need to russh about bleary eyed.  Actually heading west is alway easier as there is always plenty of water in the harbour.  I had loaded most of my stuff onto Ciao Bella the evening before so it was just Johns kit to get out there.  We dropped the mooring around 0930 and circled a bit while Lapwing got his sails up.  This gave John a chance to re acquaint himself with Ciao Bella.

There was just enough breeze in the harbour to get us under way but the strength and direction beyond the chain ferry meant it was better to motor sail.  Out towards Old Harry the breeze picked up but still in the wrong direction :)  The trip to Weymouth was quite lengthy and we eventually had to start the engine.   Getting into Weymouth around 8pm we rafted up with two Hurley 22's who were on there way to the BYHH event in Plymouth.  Shortly after we arrived a Seawych turned up with a family of four onboard.. how cool is that :)

Sunday 17th July

We had a civilised start to the day with all the small boats setting off roughly at the same time. We had a bit of a faff before even getting to Portland, Pauls engine was playing up a bit.  I jumped across to have a look. I thought we'd got it sorted but it didn't last long. It had some kind of a fuelling problem.  Would run ok on the internal tank but not on the large remote tank.  

Spindrift and Intrim on route to Plymouth
Underway again and a little behind schedule, we made it around the Bill.  Not long after Lapwings internal tank ran out.. could be a looong day :)  I jumped across again to see if we could improve things.  No joy but I did spot the problem.  The remote tank had the wrong connector on it. It seemed to fit but leaked.  Not much we could do for now so I gave Paul my spare can of fuel and we got under way again.

The only way we'd get across the bay in reasonable time was to motorsail, it didn't need many revs, just enough to give us an extra nudge.
As you cans see it was very relaxing :)  Thank the lord for the auto helm. It was a long old day but we were entertain by a pod of dolphins which came to have a closer look at Lapwing.
We had hoped to get as far as Dartmouth but had to give up on that as the daylight and tide were start to run out.  Time for Plan B so we altered course for Brixham.   Brixham was a good move, A walk ashore mooring right in the town. Fabulous.

Monday 18th July

First job today was to take a good walk up the hill to the chandlers.. why on earth the handlers is at the top of the hill when the boats are down at the water is beyond me :)  However the chap was spot on and we soon found the correct fuel connector for Pauls engine.

After a good breakfast in town and swapping over the fuel connector, we got under way again.  As we'd had to sort other things out in the morning, we didn't have time to get to Salcombe.  So instead we went out past Dartmouth to Blackpool sands and dropped the anchor.  
Nice to get out for a swim ashore.. the sands are not sand at all, more like pea shingle but lets not split hairs.  We had our lunch here before pulling up the anchors and sailing back to Dartmouth.
Dartmouth was pretty busy so we ended up on the Kingswear side.  Nice to try some where different. Kingswear is a nice place to be, it has a couple of pubs and a steam rail station and great views across to Dartmouth.

Tuesday 19th July

We left kingswear quite early to make our way around to Salcombe.  It was much rougher out in Start bay than we had at first anticipated.  We made our way along the coast towards Start point.  The plan was to drop anchor somewhere to have breakfast but it was just too lumpy.

Approaching Start point is the scene of a man made tragedy,  Hallsands was a busy fishing village which, due to dredging further out to sea, got washed away.

I had seen Hallsands from above the cliffs before but it's easier to see from the sea. Click here to read more about Hallsands.

We rounded Start point very close in. It was very rough but only for a very short while so worth staying in close.  The overfalls were only about 20 or 30 yards wide here.

The run into Saclombe was lovely.  One of the prettiest places I've sailed into.

After a bit of a search we found a mid river buoy that we could both get onto.  It worked out really well as town pontoon was a very short paddle away by coracle.. John took the posh option by usng the water taxi.

Wednesday 20th July

After a good night in Salcombe we started to make our way back East again.  We wanted to try to get to different ports on the way back to give us some variety.

Our main target was Teignmouth with Torquay as a back up plan.  We made really good progress, flying round Start point and across Start bay.

The Skerries bank mark with the Dartmouth day mark in the back ground.
All along this stretch were hundreds of Jelly fish,  Dartmouth flew by and we were soon upon Torquay.  There was plenty of time left to get to Teignmouth so we carried on.
Big Jelly fish

Wow, getting into Teignmouth was a rocket ride, the entrance seemed really narrow and fast flowing.  There are no walk ashore moorings here but there are two pontoons just off the beach.  

Although there was room for us both to be along side the harbour master has asked us to raft up in case a mooring holder came in over night. Teignmouth was an interesting town,  pretty busy with all kinds of water activity going on.. Swimming, paddle boards, kayaks, jet skis, motor boats, rowing boats dinghys and sailing boats.

There was even a proper ship in the harbour which amazed me as the entrance didn't seem big enough.  I cooked onboard while John and Paul went into town.  I met them later and went to some decidedly iffy pubs.   John got propositioned by a lovely lady who wanted to take him back to her flat to show him the tide tables.. he turned it down in favour of a night on Ciao Bella :)

Thursday 21st July

Getting out of Teignmouth was even more interesting than coming in.  A lot of engine was required to push us through the race.  Our next target was West Bay (Bridport).  Not too far but we'd not been in here before.

West bay was easy enough to get into but room within was limited.  After a bit of waiting and manoeuvring we got ourselves tied along side a pontoon.  Time to relax and wander into Bridport.

Friday 22nd July
I woke very early and went for a walk to enjoy the view.  The mist came rolling in over the iconic cliff and just hung there until the sun finally burnt it off.  We couldn't go anywhere until we'd got fresh petrol.  The harbour master had offered to drive into town with our tanks to get them filled up for us.
We had plenty of time for a leisurely sail from West bay to Portland Bill.   There were no dramas going around the Bill and made it into Weymouth for early evening.. the is the first return port of the trip.

Saturday 23rd July
Well what can I say.. Our departure time from Weymouth was early morning.  Visibility within the harbour was not too good but once out of the harbour it was pea soup. Almost immediately I got disorientated, not a nice feeling.  Back on track and we followed the compass on a 100 degree course, straining our eyes and ears.  We hoped the fog would burn off with the sun but it stuck with us all the way past St Aldhelms head.  

As the fog lifted the madness of the first summer holiday weekend was upon us.  Streams of motor boats churning up the water and paying absolutely no regard to us small sailing boats.  I'm just glad that we didn't meet any of them in the fog.

It's been another fantastic summer cruise.  Salcombe was brilliant, I thought it would be a busy pompous place but on the contrary, it was calm, chilled and gorgeous.