Log 29/4/13 – Scuttlebutt Cruise 4

Brownsea Island ahead

The wind gave us a bit of a break thoroughly the night so when we woke at 05:30 it was calmer and what there was came from the West. So, we had some wind and the tide going our way; perfect! We followed the main channel out past Brownsea Island, and the Redknap residence by the ferry. Quite why famous people would want to live in a goldfish bowl home like that defeats me.

Harry Redknap’s house is the mock tudor one.

The main channel lay ahead, the sky was blue, and the sun in our eyes. We were off! At the end of the channel we had yankee, staysail and just one reef in the main.

The Needles is just visible

Course was set for the SW Shingles bouy 11nm to the east. It was a blast, if just a little too deep an angle to the wind to be more comfortable. But we didn’t mind, and soon put a lot of distance into the bigger boats behind us.

Looking back to Poole. Were we really so far ahead already?

The rollers coming in behind us were regular and easy to surf down the face of; we regularly accelerated to over 9kts doing so.

The Needles lighthouse

At SW Shingles the sea to our left was furious. The waves were breaking and didn’t look like a place to get caught out. The swell increased here as we turned to port for the Bridge bouy. With the wind now on the port beam we tried to clear this bouy in the channel but couldn’t quite make it – so we popped over that shallow section taking pictures if The Needles.

Speed through the Hurst narrows

We had great speed heading towards the Hurst narrows; the highest actually seen was 10.4kts over the ground. Exciting stuff. Once through, the Solent was like a millpond – the breeze pushed us along the friendly tide at continued high speed, and we were soon at Newtown. Other boats arrived and we rafted up for drinks and to finish off the pontoon party nibbles.

Mordor being borded by others just before we set off for a night sail

Log 27/4/13 – Scuttlebutt Cruise 3

Lumpy sea just outside Poole Quay Boat Haven

It’s brilliant fun sailing in the company of other boats; to do so for 20 miles in such conditions exemplifies this.

The day started cold, sunny and still – but it was 06:30 when Skipper went for a Five Star Berthon shower. Then there was fettling and cockpit cleaning. As other crews emerged the breeze did too, and it built as people busied themselves with breakfasts.

At mid morning there was a tour of Berthon workshops where the first 8 Shannon Class lifeboats were being built.

Jet thrusters and engines for the Shannon Class lifeboat

View through the Shannon Class

Shannon Class superstructure in need of a hull

There were even Princess Yachts being sprayed unusual colours for the Saudi market.

Newly painted Princess yacht

Suitably impressed with Berthon, it was time to head off, and after a time keeping the fleet together posing for Yachting Monthly magazine photos we headed downwind and tide for Hurst. We had over 8kts on the GPS.

Pardus heading to Poole

It was a drag race once the corner was turned. The fleet made quite a spectacle as it stretched out over Christchurch bay, and we settled into a slot alongside Perdus. Both of us carried a couple of reefs so stayed together to the point where a big squall hit us and we took that opportunity to head up and make some more North to get back on track. The squall passed and the sun came back as we approached the East Looe Channel – then another squall came. We literally surfed into the harbour entrance under sail.

Looking back to Sandbanks

We had to fight the tide all the way to the boat haven; another big squall hitting us in the last quarter of a mile. As we turned in the sun was back, and it was like we’d arrived in a different country. At least we’d made it safely. We saw two lifeboats race out as we came in – a charter yacht had grounded and fell over at the entrance on a falling tide.

Log 26/4/13 – Scuttlebutt Cruise 2

Heading to Lymington

After a stormy night in Cowes the breeze honked down the Medina river from the North. At least it was drier than forecast. After a fantastic rope shopping trip to the legendary Spencer’s Rigging for 8mm mooring warps it time to head to Lymington.

Where the Medina meets the Solent it’s always lumpy, but today especially so with the wind direction. We’d braved it with a single reef and immediately regretted it.

By now there was well over two knots of tide under us, and very large steel bouys were hurtling towards us at 7kts; no time for complacency.

7.4kts speed over the ground

The plan was to ride the tide mid channel, but to be over on the Lymington side just after passing Newtown Creek. Just as we were making North what looked like a squall hit us – but it was a weather change of rain and up to 30kts from the NW. It was quite disconcerting, and we longed for that second reef. It was too severe to do anything about it single handed.

We battled on, and in time the wind lessened enough for us to drop canvass and motor the now short distance to Berthon marina where the early departers from Cowes and others awaited us.

Pete climbs the mast of Ariam

That’s ‘prv’, a follower of this blog, trying to climb the mast on his boat ‘Ariam’.

Log 25/4/13 – Scuttlebutt Cruise 1

Mooring at Emsworth channel

My Scuttlebutt Cruise actually began on Wednesday, with a short motor from Northney to pick up a mooring for the night in Emsworth channel. The morning bought an unusually warm day – and there was plenty of fog around.

Live Magic leads the way from Emsworth

By mid morning we were ready to leave, and on cue Live Magic came out from Emsworth to lead down to the harbour entrance. We picked up Thalassa there, and with fog horns blaring peeked out beyond the Bar Beacon.

Live Magic and Thalassa

We sailed three abreast to the submarine barrier and made a dash over the busy Portsmouth entrance as the fog was at its thickest. Not long after we breathed a sigh of relief as the fog dissipated to leave a stunning afternoon.

Thalassa heading to Cowes

My sails

Looking towards Cowes

By 17:00 we were alongside at East Cowes marina. Dabchick and Ocra were already there, and we were joined later by Mordor and Black Pearl.

Log 20/4/13 – Chichester Harbour

Sparkes marina just before sunset.

Since the weather looked promising we took advantage and set off early for the South Coast, arriving at Northney just after 9am. It was going to be one of those rare occasions with the Skipper’s wife on board. He even bought new cockpit cushions!

‘Scout’, Cape Cutter number 10 at East Head

We motored into the wind down Emsworth Channel, then set sail for the anchorage at East Head. Conditions were perfect but for being 10deg colder than it looked. We sailed in and dropped anchor next to ‘Scout’, Cape Cutter 19 number 10.

‘Thalassa’ leaving East Head after our raft up.

Soon after we moved and rafted alongside Thalassa – a Crabber. She’ll be sailing to Poole with us next weekend.

As it got colder we set off the short sail to Sparkes marina for the night, where our guest was lavished upon with fish and chips in the Piranha Bar.

Skipper’s wife tucks into fish and chips at the Piranha Bar, Sparkes marina.

Video – crossing Tremadog Bay

This is just a few minutes of the trip from Barmouth to Pwllheli in early April, 2013.

It was freezing cold in the strong easterlies which gusted into the Force 6 range. It was a very exhilarating sail which saw speeds over the ground in excess of 7kts as we get picked up by waves. In the video it shows 6.8kts.

New shelving

It’s much tidier in there now.

The internal lockers have a back wall and floor which double as the hull – this makes them slopes. The consequence is that whatever you put in them ends up squashed in a heap at the lowest point; you can therefore never find what you need. Ours have now had a lower floor and upper shelf fitted.

The woodwork has been painted a similar colour to the interior

A routed software architrave has been used to stop stuff falling off the end.

Softwood bearers have been glued to the hull to support the shelves.

The water pipe passes through the shelf floor.

Routed architrave provides strength to the shelf.

As you can imagine, all of the wasted space at the top is now useable, and the lower lever is better too. And all this with some bits of left over plywood.