Ahead of Friday’s Crusing planning meeting here is a reminder of one of last years events.
Three boats comprising Geoffrey & Martha Bush in their Mk 4 Wayfarer, Nick , Mike and Kevin in Nicks Tela, and Andrew Bagley and Reuben in Andy’s 2K launched from Warsash public hard, whilst Tony Bridget and Charles in the Carter’s Stratos launched from the club jetty on Lobster wharf at 10.30.
As expected weather was fine, winds were light, and the tide was going out . It was soon evident as departure was delayed that our original destination Wootton Creek could not be achieved before the tide turned and so we decided on a repeat attempt at the Folly, which is more westerly and closer. Even so the outboards on Cicely and Monsoon were going to be vital in getting us out into the Solent and back against the tide.
Crossing the Bramble bank around noon, the sea breeze duly arrived and allowed us approximately 15 minutes of fresh sailing close hauled into Cowes harbour . Geoffrey and Martha in the Wayfarer managed to get through the harbour under sail, but the others were delayed by the ( Green) Red funnel ferry and the rolling bridge . Even though the tide was rising, wind had slackened and outboards were needed to get to the Folly . Three anchored on the beach upstream, whilst the Wayfarer used the pontoon mooring downstream. As tide was rising those on the beach had to progressively move their anchors and eventually tie up to rings on the sea wall.
The beer was good ( Abbot or Starboard) but the food service was poor. Nick and Kevin had to wait an hour for their fish and chips whilst crew of the Stratos were reprimanded for taking the initiative and consuming their own food on the pub premises. Even so all look happy enough in the photo below, ignorant of the conditions ahead.
After picking up a buoy and hoisting the main, we again needed the outboards to get us down river and through Cowes harbour which was busy with a number of vessels leaving port .
Tony elected to tow the Bush’s out the main channel and went head to wind for Solent Breezes whilst Cicely towed the 2K out the small ships channel taking a more easterly route. It was 16.00 on the town clock.
Crossing Cowes Roads against a rip tide running east to west and head to wind proved very difficult .With the Bush’s boat down tide side and yawing on their short painter Tony was almost sliced in half. The tow point was transferred to the starboard side with Charles left arm acting as a tensioner . Even though the sea got calmer over the Bramble Bank progress was slow, especially for the Eastern pair boats, who looked like they might be headed for Portsmouth and some wished they had not taken on so much liquid at the Folly !
Although the first boats arrived back at Warsash around 6 pm and were swiftly hauled out and de-rigged it was almost dark by the time Cicely and the 2K were packed up. It had been a long day for those who had driven down, helmed close behind their tow boats and then drove back to home.
PS For those who were lucky enough to be able to stay Saturday night, sailing on Sunday was a completely different story. Leaving by 11.00, we had a fresh breeze from the west , allowing the use of the Gennaker and Gybing down to Meon beach by 12.30. Rather than head for Wootton Creek we turned about and feverishly tacked back up the Hamble for lunch at the Jolly Sailor. It was a lovely day !