Tuesday, 16 September 2014

A weekend in Yarmouth

I took a last minute decision to go to Yarmouth this weekend, when I say last minute, I mean I have a fantastic and understanding wife :)   I'd taken number one son back to University on Friday evening and didn't get home until 2am on Saturday,  on the long drive home I'd let my mind drift to the possibility of getting over to the Solent, I new that I'd have to go early so left it to fate.. ie I didn't set an alarm.
I magically woke at 6am and brokered the deal to disappear for the weekend.... some making up for this needs to be done!   Unfortunately 6am wasn't quite early enough as Ciao Bella was sitting high and dry when I arrived.  

The south route is the track out 

I walked out to Ciao Bella and chucked my bags on board,  To my disgust the Terns had made Ciao Bella their dumping ground, so I spent the next hour scrubbing conrete off just about every bit of the boat.  I was ready to leave the mooring on the rising tide, around 9am, and Goosewinged across the harbour to the entrance.  Although the tide was coming in, there was a nice back eddy close to Sandbanks which assisted me to the entrance.With the nose in the Swash  channel the engine had to go on and stayed on through the East Looe Channel.  

I'm sure the Isle of Wight should be there.

Once in the bay the engine was lifted and I beat into the North Easterly. Initially I thought I'd be able to make Hurst Channel in one hit but with subtle changes in wind direction my heading drifted out to about 110 degrees. I stuck with this direction as long as possible as I guess the tide in the solent approach would help drag me in when I had to make the inevitable tack.  The Visibility wasn't great, very hazy, The island is usually visible from Poole but stayed hidden until I was well passed Hengisbury head.

The wind picked up for a while and I felt the need to put a reef in the main, it was a good decision,  the speed was maintained but the comfort was increased. An hour later I shook it out again, I must look into an easier way to reef.
I needed to be through Hurst Channel by 2pm and it was getting a bit tight.  I was tacking along the Needles north channel, avoiding the Shingles Bank to Port and the large rolling Waves to Starboard.

I just had the two fort behind me when I felt I should tack out of the way of the Waverley, which seemed to be steaming straight at me.  I lost some ground with this maneuver and the tide had definitely started to flow against me so the engine went back on. 

Half an hour later and I was rafted up against Lapwing.   There was a good selection of East Dorset boats in Yarmouth, I guess the end of season 'get some sailing in bug' must have bitten :)
Ciao Bella and Lapwing
Silver Lady

Once safely secured and said Hi to everyone, refreshments were required.   We took a wonder to the Kings Arms, which had a fabulous array of decent real ales.. It's not often that you hear someone ask for two wild Geese and an Otter!  
Apparently there was a large Gin palace in the harbour which was either owned, Chartered, borrowed or stolen by a London car dealer which seemed to be crewed by less than delicate under-dressed girls who were causing great amusement. 

The 'Crew' of a particularly crass gin palace causing much amusement in Yarmouth.
Fortunately they'd left by the time we returned to get cleaned up for the evenings entertainment.  We'd invited to pre-dinner drinks on Silver Lady before taking a stroll into town for dinner.  We squeezed eight and a dog onto two small tables in the Bugle where we were serenaded by two chaps with an electric guitar and a steel guitar playing Blue grass stylie.. I think?

Serena and Lapwing leaving Yarmouth
The following morning was an easy affair, we just relaxed around the town and harbour waiting for a suitable time to leave. In Yarmouth there is a really nice deli where you can buy lunch and the old Post office is now a cafe with really nice coffee and tip top Pain au chocolate.. what better way to start the day.

We left the mooring around 1:30,  the tide was still running west to east which, as Paul and I where both broadside to the tide and the Easterly wind, helped us get away from the pontoon .
Silver Lady along Hurst spit
The tide was still against us by about a knot as we went through Hurst, I found staying close to the island helped but I still had to cross the faster flowing channel to continue to Poole.
Soon the tide was with us and the wind behind so with the Main pushed out and held with a preventer and the Genoa poled out Ciao Bella scooted across Christchurch bay.
Serena at Hurst
The wind direction altered by a good 40 degrees after Hengisbury head which allowed for a nice broad reach across Bournemouth Bay.  The waves were rolling in from the South East which kept life interesting, often picking Ciao Bella up for a little surf  :)
Lapwing leaving the Solent

I made it back to the mooring around 5:30pm, had been a great sail back and really nice to have had a weekend away again.  As I'd walked out to the boat I was fortunate that one of the other guys was passing in his tender and offered me a lift back... better than pumping up the Coracle :)

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