Friday, 30 August 2013

Three days in the solent

I had three days set aside to play in the boat.  Checking the tidal flows my best departure time for heading west is three hours after high water Portsmouth. This should let me get off the mooring before it dries and go out with the tide through the harbour entrance. The tide is still west going in the bay but staying close to the beach minimises the effect.
So, I planned to leave the mooring at 0630bst... Unfortunately like all good plans this one didn't happen, someone had 'borrowed' the starter cord from my Seagull outboard, by the time I'd found something suitable the tide was ripping out. I got to Ciao Bella just in time for her to settle on the bottom. 
In the three weeks since I'd last been on board the local seagull community had designated Ciao Bella as their preferred dumping ground.

It took a good half hour to scrub the worst of it off. In the meantime the cabin had acquired a festering smell and it was emanating from under my bunk.. I thought it might have been a old pair of pants but when I looked the back section of the keel void had filled with water which in turn had turned black and stank.  I used a sponge to get nearly all of it out, when I couldn't get any more out (5 or 10mm) I poured some toilet cleaner in and sprayed with disinfectant.  It will have to do for now.
I managed to get away by 0920 and was out of harbour by 0935 pushing tide I was making  2.6knts over ground at full throttle. 
Poole harbour entrance

The next three hours were  good sailing, making 4 to 5 Knt close hauled. Into Christchurch bay the wind starting to drop, in fact calm enough to brew up. 1310 gib away engine on. Immediately wind picks up :)
I motored through Hurst (7.5knts) then cut the engine again.  A Sadler 300 just in front of me lost its forestay and issued a pan pan.  I stayed close incase they needed help but they soon had it tied down and scuttled of to Lymington.
 I had plenty of time so I got the rod out and spent the next 2.5 hours drifting around in search of Mackerel, I eventually started the motor as Newtown didn't seem to be getting any nearer. Into Newtown creek and after procrastinating over a suitable anchorage I set to gutting the Mackerel and frying them up.

  A bit of a plain dinner as I had nothing to go With them but they were, as they say, 'ansome :)  After mackerel and a sleep I inflated the coracle and paddled off to the quay... Might have to rethink the length of the painter.. Stood on the quay the painter was at full stretch.  Just then the phone rang so I made myself as comfortable as possible with the phone in one hand and the painter in the other but that just made me an easy target for a ginger Labrador pub... No I'm not mistaken, that wanted to lick me and get muddy pawprints all over me.   After a short walk to the pub I was a little concerned that I'd be Billy no mates    As it happens a lady with a whippet and a saily couple where the best company that you could ask for.  Nigel and Jo even towed me back to Ciao Bella afterwards where it must be have been time for a rum and coke:)
Jo and Nigel towing me back

  There is a rough plan to meet up with Arran (fant 19 'Pamala') tomorrow and go for a sail.  Not sure where yet but we'll work it out.
Sunrise in Newtown creek

0530.. A beautiful sunrise, it's one of the great things about anchoring in the quiet places. Back to bed for another hour or so. At 7am I got out of bed for real, have to move before I dry out again. Motored out of the creek and anchored so I could brew up, have a wash and tidy Ciao Bella.
Entrance to Newtown Creek 

 Plenty of sun but no wind, I did a combination of motoring and drifting towards Cowes. Experimented with Genoa sheets, mine are a little short so I thought putting a strop on the clew would help... I obviously hadn't thought this out as all it did was reduce the amount I could sheet it in; I guess I'm going to have to buy new genoa sheets.1130 the breeze had started to fill in and I finally got to sail the last wee bit to Cowes.  I stopped at the fuel pontoon as I was running low and the forecast for tomorrow was for light winds again, then into Cowes yacht haven.
Arran at the helm of Ciao Bella

I'd arranged to meet Arran ( Fantasie19 'Pamela') who came out for a sail in the afternoon. A fabulous few hours, good but variable wind.  Reefed genoa and full main. We went out towards Portsmouth, back towards Wooton creek then back to Cowes.  Before returning to the yacht haven we had a motor down to Pamela.  As a special treat we went to the ale house in Cowes for pie and ale... Yum
Pamela looking good at East Cowes Sailing Club

Had an early night, as wasn't sure of the plan for Wednesday. 
Wednesday: Had a lazy start to the day, up at 8:30 and just relaxed, well that's what this sailing lark is all about ;)Spoke to a couple with a Gorgeous marine ply eventide, 1967, a good vintage, and still looked like new.  I left Cowes at about 10:30 and made my way to Stokes bay for a pint, I would have had some chips but the queue went on forever!

Stokes Bay with the iconic Spinnaker tower behind
I left stokes bay at 2.20 and goose winged in very light winds 2 to 2.6 knts back towards Cowes.  I needed to crack on so by the time I'd got to Osborne bay I'd started the engine and motored across the entrance to the Medina.  The wind picked up again from SW so I cut the engine and tacked my way across the East Solent.  By 7pm I was just past Yarmouth.. Going to be a long night. Finally out into Christchurch bay and the with the wind direction and the setting sun I decided it was time to roll away the genoa and start the motor.  I took a back bearing off Hurst lighthouse to give me good clearance off Hengisbury head... I didn't want to bump into that in the dark.. would have made an embarrassing blog entry :)
Approaching Hurst castle
Once past the head Bournemouth and Poole are lit up like a christmas tree so very easy to find my way home.. the only worry is the amount of pot markers.. there is no way to see them  in time to avoid them.  
I had a nice easy motor sail back home and was back on the mooring by 11.30pm


  1. I wondered if you'd gone.... nice one!

  2. I see you managed to sneak out yourself :)

  3. I'll drop some Silky Marine - Deep Cleaner off at your place. Might help get that Seagull guano orf.