Tuesday, 26 May 2015

EDSC Solent Cruise.


At last... I have managed to get away on the boat for a day or two.  EDSC traditionally has a cruise to the Solent on the Bank holiday weekend,  this year we had four boats heading east for a leisurely sail.
We all left Poole at different times,  I set off as soon as my keels were free to go, ideally Id have left before the last of the ebb but no worries.
As I was leaving so was the TS Lord Nelson.  Always nice to see a tall ship, although she's not exactly pretty.

It felt good to be heading in to the Solent again.  The weather was a bit pants, in that there just wasn't enough wind.  When it did blow there was plenty to push the boat along nicely at 4 or 5 knots but in the end I had to motor sail in 'Solent trim' most of the way across Christchurch bay.

Yarmouth was busy when we arrived, but they found a space without any trouble.  One of the joys of having a smaller boat.   Jamiebump was already in when I got there and Mark helped me to moor up.  After a chat with the neighbours I popped over to Jamiebump for a cuppa before going to the office to pay up.. Oh my god,   £21 for my wee boat and it doesn't include showers.. My flabber has never been so gasted!
Ciao Bella and Jamiebump (white Pegasus 800 with red stripe) Mark on mooring duty for the Bay Cruiser.

Four deep on the pontoons
I went for a recce to try and book a table for food,  all the pubs said that we'd just have to turn up and grab a table if there was one free. Not ideal when there are six of you.  I hadn't though about the yacht clubs but noticed a sign for the 'Royal Solent' and visiting yachtsmen welcome.  It very posh looking and having just stepped of the boat in my shorts and tee shirt I didn't really fit in,  but I was shown the menu and made a booking for 7pm.

Fleur Paul still hadn't arrived so I sent the menu to entice him in,  He made it in time, in through the entrance at 6:30 and sat at the table by 7pm.   The meal was spot on great value and a fantastic location with views across the solent.
Fleur arriving in Yarmouth.


Corky the Catamaran had spend the previous night at the Folly so we thought we'd have a day sail in the solent and all meet up  at Keyhaven in the evening.  Fleur and Myself decided to go to Cowes for lunch while Mark and Jennie on Jamiebump felt like having a lie in then pop up to Newtown Creek for lunch.   Irt was another light wind morning as I drifted up towards Cowes, eventually it became a bit more steady and I actually did some sailing.

With a good chunk of tide running with me I  went past Gurnard Point to see Corky sailing towards me (against the tide) make good headway.   A quick wave and a hello and I carried on to Cowes.
The new breakwater at the entrance of the Medina is looking good and will definitely make it calmer in the river when it's blowy.  I radioed  into the Yacht haven and was given a berth.  I'm not sure Ciao Bella really fits in with the surroundings,  She's a bit diminutive :)
After a shufty around town, a quick pint then into a Cafe for lunch, I hit the supermarket and spent big...  There's enough here for Dinner, breakfast and lunch and all for under a fiver :)  (a good job I like sausages).

I left Cowes around 4pm and raised full main and reefed genoa.  I quickly realized that the wind was a lot stiffer than this morning and put a reef in.  The reefing lines that I put on during the winter worked a treat.  I set up the tiller pilot, applied the topping lift, let off the main halyard, pulled a cleated the two reefing lines, tensioned the halyard and let off the topping lift.  It all took about 1 minute and was very calm.  Reefing used to take me at least 15mins think about whether I wanted to go through the ordeal before I even start to reef.  All I need to do now is set up the lines for the second reef.
Not sure what this ship is called but she did look fantastic, try contrasting this on to the Lord Nelson from earlier.   Because the weather had been a bit lively I'd forgotten to call Mark to let him know that I was heading back from Cowes.   I saw a text from Mark so called him.  There had been some conflicting news about this evenings weather. 
I bet this is fun
Most had said W turning NW which was great for Keyhaven but one dubious source had said Southerly for the early hours.   In the end we trusted the Shipping forecast and  all was well.

After my luxury dinner of Sausage in a tomato and garlic sauce and Pasta, I inflated the trusty coracle grabbed a bottle of red and paddled over to Corky for the evening.
As a stop off, anchoring out side the river at Keyhaven is ok but it was a little uncomfortable in the swell.  I would probable go into the river next time, Fleur picked up a  bouy in the river, I shall have to ask how it was.


Corky left first, around 5:30am,  as they needed to get up the river to Wareham today.  I woke about the same time but was going nowhere until I'd had some sausage and egg and a big mug of tea.

Jamiebump at Anchor, Fort Victoria in background.
I love the contrasting light in the early morning. 
Corky setting off for home
I pulled up the anchor and set off  around 0615.  Mark was up on deck and preparing to leave as well. Once again there was very little wind but surprisingly once moving I was getting 4 knots through the water.  This lasted well until just past Hengistbury head.  The light breeze made a distinct shift then died.  Time to motor again.  The breeze returned for a while, allowing me to sail as far as Canford cliffs before petering out again.  
It looked like I'd be back on the mooring by noon and I didn't feel like finishing there. I called home and managed to persuade Jewels to join me for a trip around the harbour and a little walk on Brownsea.  What a great end to the trip.

Mrs Ciao Bella press ganged onto the boat

Ciao Bella at Anchor off Brownsea.

All in all a really nice weekend.  Some good sailing, good company, a new anchorage and Caio Bella performed well with no nasty surprises.  Looking forward to the rest of the season.


  1. ...cracking post - well done on a great weekend! We probably passed within yards of each other on Sunday - the Jolly Boys Outing were in the Folly on Sunday lunch time! :o)

  2. Oh blimey, if corky hadn't of left the Folly I might have gone up there myself.