The 2015 boating season produced some strange weather, but overall I had a good one. I spent 43 nights on board Margherita (185 now since first using her in 2008) and about 36 days sailing. Most of that disparity came about from being stuck in Yarmouth after YOGAFF (see earlier entry). The last big event of my season was…….
Solent OGA Race and Rally 2015
This was probably my best and longest cruise yet, taking me from Poole to Portsmouth and back over the 8 days and nights I was on-board. I left Poole on Tues 1st of Sep and made good progress towards Christchurch, on a brisk NW breeze and favourable rising tide. I had lost some of the rising tide waiting to get off my drying mooring so I knew it was going to be tight getting past Hurst Castle before the ebb set in, but I decided to go for it anyway rather than stop at Christchurch….how hard can it be? Well, quite hard actually. By the time I got to the lighthouse at Hurst the ebb was well under way and I snuck through close to the shore with full sail on a broad reach and the engine flat out, making 0.5 knots over the ground at one point, surrounded by lots of eddies and small standing waves making hissing noises. I was happy to eventually turn the corner to port and get into Keyhaven harbour out of the way. I picked up a vacant buoy, just astern of the lovely Ed Burnett-designed “Zinnia”.
|Keyhaven - moored aft of Zinnia|
On Wed 2nd Sep, I drifted, sailed and motored with the tide along the mainland shore of the Solent, into Southampton water and into Ashlett Creek. Somewhere I had never been to before. Tucked in behind a line of oil tankers and between the derelict Fawley Power Station and the refinery, it does not sound idyllic, but it is a lovely little spot, complete with a tide mill. I moored on the Ashlett Sailing Club pontoon for the night, and was made most welcome.
|Ashlett Sailing Club|
|Tide in at Ashlett Creek|
|Tide out - bottom Springs|
I arrived at the top of the tide, which stood for ages - and then vanished rapidly, leaving a vista of deep, deep, mud. After a good supper with a friend in the tide Mill, I found that Margherita had settled at a jaunty angle onto the edge of a pre-existing hole in the mud , which made sleeping rather uncomfortable.
On Thurs 3rd Sep I waited for some water to re-appear (it took ages) and after lunch motored across to Cowes to berth in Cowes Yacht Haven for two nights. It was cold, grey and windy. Several of the Gaffers fleet had already arrived, including the Secretary, who plied me with gratefully received hot cups of tea. On Friday 4 Sep, the rest of the gaffers began to arrive and it was nice to see interesting boats and old friends again. The marina also filled with lots of Fairey Marine powerboats, who were also having a rally on the back of the Cowes-Torquay race that was starting on Sunday. We all had supper in the Island Sailing Club, and as the sun set, saw the ghostly shape of the Russian three-masted Frigate “Shtandart” waft in to the harbour.
Sat 5 Sep was the Solent Old Gaffers Association (OGA) race day, to Portsmouth. I do not race as it has never really appealed to me and, from what I have observed, gaffer racing is often afflicted by too much wind, or too little wind, or a foul tide, or buoys in the wrong place - or indeed any combination thereof. While the racers this year struggled with adverse currents and falling wind, I had a perfectly pleasant sail from Cowes to Portsmouth and In company with a few others, I was all settled in Haslar Marina by lunch time on a bright sunny day. Supper and prize giving at a local restaurant was the usual hilarious and good natured evening.
On Sun 6th
Sep the fleet dispersed again. I spent
the morning at the excellent Submarine Museum and departed Haslar after lunch,
motoring out of the busy harbour with some trepidation, before hoisting sail
and heading for Ryde pier and then to Wootton creek. It was a slow sail against the wind and
across busy shipping traffic, so I motored the last part and moored on the
Royal Victoria Yacht Club Pontoon, intending the stay the night. But it was bouncy and exposed to ferry wash,
so I motored to the top of Wootton Creek and, after stopping for a cup of teas
with Dave and his wife on Maude (we had been at the same rally) I moored in the
shallows and settled down for the night. I was having a bad mud week as I was
awoken to find the boat at a strange angle.
When I looked out, all was flat mud, except for the ditch that was under
my bilge keel!
|Haslar Marina Gosport|
|Three views of Wootton Creek|
|Too close for comfort...|
|Newtown River - North or South?|
Up early on 9 Sep to find it grey with an East wind, so back to the boat club where I put Margherita to bed on her mooring.
A fantastic week’s sailing and lots of good company..........