Seafarers to Lepe Daysail.

The planned cruise to Lepe from Seafarers was unexpectedly gifted by an un-forecasted blast of fluky and sometimes strong wind from the North on the way home.
The wind was forecast light from the East when Edmund and Julie, Stephen and Adri, Steve and Mel in Trios, Roy and Jenny in their 2k, Keith and John in the Sport14, Vanessa and Andy in the Vision and Mike and Rob from Seafarers in a Wayfarer at 10am and in variable winds sailed to Lepe. It was a lee shore, we had lunch and set sail to return at 13:30 into the teeth of the ebb tide. By staying in the shallows we made over it and were greeted at Seafarers by Dave, who recovered the boats using SC equipment and then staffed the bar. Thanks to Dave and others for hosting us so well.

Stokes Bay to Seaview – 7th July

The weather this year has been very difficult to forecast, and this weekend continued the difficult business of planning a good daysail. The weather for sailing looked better for Sunday, although the forecast had some drizzle. Keith and Julie sailed in the Sport 14 and Stephen, Adri and Steve in the Trio. Keith and Steve arrived early and pottered about on our boats fettling things, so when the rest turned up the boats were on their trollies and ready to sail. We waited until the tide turned in our favour and headed out in the general direction of Ryde with no particular destination in mind; somewhere no further than Bembridge, but informed by the strength of the wind.
Surprisingly for 7th July, we were beaten not by the wind but the cold – while we were all wearing drysuits we’d not clothed ourselves sufficiently underneath, and in the cold drizzle the beat became pretty miserable. When the public house “The Boathouse” came into view, just stopping and finding somewhere out of the really cold wind and rain became an objective. We sailed beyond the pub to avoid the shingle spit which curves out across the bay, and anchored in the shallow waters.
Ordinarily we’d sit outside the pub, on a nice day in the sunshine, but it was raining and cold and we craved a bit of warmth so we went inside. Unfortunately our presence in wet clothing in the pub caused a kerfuffle. I’m really sure that we were no wetter than any walkers coming into the pub from that rain. We were put at the back of the pub, and then it was clear that the wet floor that we’d caused was an inconvenience. It’s a bit of a shame that we’d been called out so obviously, because we’ve been to other pubs with hard floors right next to the sea under similar circumstances and been made fully welcome. And it is called “The Boathouse”. That having been said, the food was absolutely delicious, quickly served, to a very high quality and good value. At 13:00 the visibility was down to 100m, so we studied and partook in dessert and coffee, and were shoo’d out into the drizzle at 14:00 when the visibility was about 250m and the closest fort was just visible. Using an app we found the compass bearing back to Stokes Bay and both boats used the compass to point in the right direction. Its the first time that I’ve needed a compass in 10 years of sailing about the Solent.
Halfway home, adjacent to the Spithead buoy the back end of the cold front passed, the visibility lifted and the broad reach back to Stokes Bay was straightforward, including the excitement of the crossing IOW ferries. We arrived back at Stokes Bay by 15:20 which is about the earliest we’d ever returned. We took the opportunity to have a brew and more chat, then packed up and headed home. It was a short cruise, and pretty packed. The key learning is that despite being the middle of summer, clothing more expected for March can still be appropriate. The photo is in the sun when we were back at Stokes Bay.

Poole Camp Tuesday

The forecast was SE becoming SW about lunchtime, so imagine our surprise when we launched at 0840 into an Easterly F4. We sailed the reach and run to the Wareham River entrance in very good time with the flooding Spring tide, and arrived at Wareham, with only a couple of beats being required, at 10:17, which is an hour quicker than we had allowed. Second breakfast was taken. Roy and Jenny in the 2k held full sail, Steve ,Mel and Mike reefed the Trio mainsail and left around 11am on the first ebb for Shell Bay. By this time the wind had gone South, which made getting from Wareham to the river entrance again simple with much reaching and running and little beating. We unreefed at the river entrance and beat to Shell Bay Cafe, arriving just as the second flood began. We timed the reach back to camp to arrive just at the top of the second high at 15:00.
What did we learn? Go to Wareham on an Easterly and Spring flood. Leave Wareham on a Southerly and Spring ebb.
It was a really good day of sailing from the furthest navigable point West to the furthest navigable point within the harbour East.

Poole Camp Monday Morning

Most epic sail of my year so far. Launched 9am in a stiff SW F4, Jenny & Roy in the 2k and Steve, Mel and Mike in the Trio. Spinnaker run to the entrance, two sail broad reach, then three sail reach planing most of the way to the end of the Training Wall, then a beat to Middle Beach for Second Breakfast. Many fine comestibles consumed. Then a broad reach back to the end of the training wall, and a continuous Port tack from there to Rockley Point, taking in every point of sail. The three sail reach to the entrance was mostly planing, and then a beat into the entrance, a run down to the Poole side of Brownsea and a long beat to Rockley. We landed for third breakfast, then beat in a stiff breeze, three up on the side most of the way, and beat in over the shallows to arrive with 10 minutes to spare on the ebbing tide. Adventurous and fun.

Poole Camp Sunday

The forecast was for a F4-5 SW, so we took the opportunity to see if we could see the seal that lives near Round Island was in. Jenny and Roy, 2k, Mel and Steve, Trio and Ged, Morgan, Mike, Storm17. We left at 8am and beat into a strong breeze directly between the shore and Round Island across shallow waters. Then a reach past the dwellings, and no seal was to be seen. We carried on past Shipstal Point and Patchins Point, and then some way up towards Wareham. The wind against tide generated stiff sharp waves and we got enjoyably wet. We turned and ran and reached home.

Poole Camp Saturday

The plan was to sail on the second ebb out of the harbour, but the low pressure suppressed the second high tide and only the 2k had water to launch. We had a visit from Alastair in his Paradox and took tea and stories. Peter had to leave to attend a family event. Roy and Jenny sailed to Old Harry and South Beach, and while it blew wind across the field the whole time, they had a flat calm at the entrance for an hour. They arrived back just as we were leaving. When the tide arrived, Ben and Mike took the Versa, Ged, Mel and Debbie took the Storm, Simon, Anne and Morgan took Simon’s Trio and Martin sailed Steve’s Trio with Steve. We sailed in a F3 between Furzy and Green, up Blood Alley and round Brownsea, finishing at high tide back at the camp. The wind moved between Easterly and Southerly. It was an adventurous sail in that the beat into the incoming tide required guile and cunning and sailing close to the shore.

Poole Camp Friday

The day started grey and drizzly, but cleared up by launch time at 6pm to be a sunny evening with a steady F3 gusting F4 from the SW. Three boats ventured onto the harbour, Ged and Peter in the Storm17, Roy and Jenny in the Laser 2k and Steve, Mel and Mike in the Comet Trio. We headed straight to the harbour entrance on a steady broad reach and run, with Ged’s downwind performance outrunning the asymmetric spinnaker boats. At the entrance we had different ideas about how best to keep out of the way of the Cross Channel ferry, some sailing into the wind shadow and some crossing the deep waters to more wind. A beautiful beat into the sun, three up on the side of the Trio with the flood tide behind us soon had us at Pottery Pier. Then for fun we threaded the islands and landed at 8pm. It was a spectacular first sail in Poole this year.

Proctor 1974 Penultimate National 18 Capsize Test – two people

In order to be confident in sailing the National 18 as a day cruising boat with two crew, we wanted to be assured that it was possible to recover the boat from capsize with two people. The National 18 is a three person boat, so I was not sure whether a recovery with only two people was possible.

We took it to Bough Beech Reservoir and under the watchful eye of their club safety boat driver we conducted the experiment. The boat was cleared of all loose contents and made ready for capsize. There was no wind so we got deep enough by a tow in flat calm conditions away from the shore.

Preparing for capsize

At the moment of capsize, before the inside filled with water, the boat sat very high.

Just before the mast hit the water

And sat at rest for a moment (while, I imagine, the mast filled with water).

Now full, the boat settled bow down. The centreboard was too far above the water to be got on (righting lines would absolutely fix this, but would not, overall, help with righting the vessel with only two people)

This is the moment when I realised that the downward pressure of the rigging hugely overwhelmed my weight hanging on the end of the centreboard – I was being lifted powerfully out of the water.

The moment I realised that my weight was not even close to being enough to prevent inversion

Despite both of us hanging off the hull, the mast was heading quickly to inversion.

Both crew attempting to keep the boat level, and failing. The boat was well on it’s way to inverting.

At this point it became clear that two people are simply not enough to keep this National 18 with it’s mast level with the water, and the experiment was stopped and a third person joined us in the water to right the boat.

The boat became almost completely inverted, with the air escaping from the hull and centreboard as it settled with the waterline at floor level, and it was possible to get on the hull and onto the centreboard. It took the weight of two people on the centreboard to raise it, one standing and leaning back and the other hanging on to the end and pushing down.

Unfortunately, we had no one scooped in the boat for the first righting and it proved a point that I had speculated; with a ton of water above the buoyancy tank it would be unstable until drained., The weight of the water above the buoyancy made it highly unstable and it immediately capsized.

We established that it’s critical to have two on the centreboard to raise the boat and the third person must be scooped into the boat to dynamically stabilise it while it self-drains for about 30 seconds. The floor is about 2cm above the water line and the centreboard slot is level with the deck, so the water drains very quickly through the slot – a great safety feature.

It was easy to get back in. On shore there was little water in the buoyancy tanks.

Note: This experiment cannot be used to extrapolate to all National 18s. This is a 1974 Proctor hull which has been fitted with full length under floor buoyancy at the level of the centreboard case. We had no masthead buoyancy, and no righting lines, it was exactly as we raced it.

Conclusion: This National 18 cannot be raised from capsize by only two people. With both crew on the centreboard the boat will right and immediately capsize due to the instability due to the water above the buoyancy tanks. One person on the centreboard is insufficient weight to counteract the weight of the mast.

Keyhaven 4 Day Camp 2019

Many thanks to Keyhaven YC

Our thanks go to Chris and the management team at Keyhaven YC for organising a place for us to camp, store our boats and have access to the lovely club facilities, the river and the bar. Further thanks must be extended to the current members of the club who all made us very welcome.

Thursday – set up

We occupied the camping field from lunchtime on Thursday and got some boats prepped for sailing. We had a communal chat around a camp fire and planned for some adventure on Friday. The tide was a couple of days short of the top of the Spring tide, and with a F4 Easterly, careful planning with the tidal atlas drew us to the conclusion that we’d need to sail with the tide and against the wind on the way out to be up tide and wind for the return journey.

Friday

The only constraint we had is that we either had to leave before or after the 25 boats in the Keyhaven YC Easter Regatta, and given that the start times slipped each day we chose to launch after them on Friday and Saturday, and before them on Sunday and Monday. On Friday we mustered at 09:30 and slipped at 09:45.

The weather was a forecasted F4 from the East and no hint of light airs or no wind. Destination Newtown Creek, with the backup plan that we’d head for the North Shore as soon as the tide changed.

GP14; Mike, Gary
Storm 17; Ged, Anna
Comet Trio; Steve, Mel

We sailed in good wind to the centre of the channel, and as we approached Newtown Creek the wind went very light. Ged and Anna in the Storm 17 and Steve and Mel in the in the Comet Trio immediately headed for the North shore to stay out of the ebb, but Mike and Gary had become detached from the fleet, unreachably upwind, and did not immediately head North. Without wind, a motor, and with ineffective oars the GP was swept towards the narrows at Hurst point, and while we maintained visual contact at all times there was little we could do. The Storm and Trio made it to the North Shore adjacent to Oxey Lake (we were swept further West than Lymington).

Since it’s best to raise a concern with the Coastguard early, we had been in communication with them, fearing that Mike and Gary may be swept out beyond Hurst Point to Milford-on-Sea, and were able to stand Solent Coastguard down when Gary called Anna to say that they were ashore. With extreme paddling, Gary had got the boat close enough to the spit at Hurst Castle and they landed on the channel side of the spit just East of the fort. The Storm 17 and Comet Trio sailed comfortably through the Hawkers Lake entrance and made it safely ashore at Keyhaven. Ged, Anna, Mel and Steve took the last Keyhaven to Hurst Point ferry, met Mike and Gary, carried the boat to the water and walked the boat around the spit to set them sailing on their way to Keyhaven, while we walked back along the gravel bank. It took about the same time to sail in very light airs as to walk, and we met Gary and Mike at Keyhaven to recover the boat at Spring Low tide. It meant pulling the GP up the river a little way before mounting it on the trolley. The strength of the ebb was not a lesson we needed to learn – we knew that. But by not staying with the fleet, and being out of reach up wind, Mike was disconnected and not able to be part of the conversation that we had about how important it was to get across the channel.

During the day Keith and Andy joined us with his Sport 14 and pottered about Keyhaven. Simon H joined us in the evening with a club Trio.

The evening was spent at camp, around Ged’s camp fire, and the highlight was some superb Calvados.

Saturday

It was the busiest day for members of the club of the long weekend. Stephen joined us for a daysail.

Comet Trio Steve, Mel, Mike
Storm Ged, Stephen, Gary
Sport 14 Keith, Andy, Anna

Destination, Newtown Creek. Weather Forecast, East and Variable F3

We got wise to this light airs, extreme tide vibe and all took motors.

The destination was Lymington.

We set off after the racers, at 10am with the intended destination of Lymington, and again the solid F3 powered us out of Keyhaven and into a flat calm. We got just south of the entrance to Lymington when the flood current changed from east to west and we did not make the entrance.

Oxey Lake has steep, slippery sides at high tide.
The wind was very still…

Since Oxey Lake was right there, we stopped on a slippery concrete slope for first lunch. The tide had dropped about 15cm in 45 minutes so we departed and on a strong current and good SE wind got to Keyhaven in 20 minutes, exceeding 8kts over the ground. We had second lunch on the shingle bank at the entrance to Keyhaven, then went for a little sail for no good reason and picked up Simon H who had come out for a potter about in the Trio with girlfriend Ginny and Rory, Ginny’s son. 

It was frustrating to have failed to reach a destination half the distance away, and for a second time, and the winds were very fickle.

We were joined by Martin and Ben with their Comet Versa
More Calvados and we made a plan…

Like probably many Cody I was juggling family commitments over the Easter holiday weekend and I could not get away for the whole period much as I would have liked to do so.
Instead, I visited Camp for a day on the Saturday. It was a nice drive through the New Forest early in the morning and I arrived well in time to help get the boats ready. We had the best weather at Easter for 70 years and it was warm and pleasant. The day was a great success with a gentle breeze that was fun to sail in and that took us towards our lunch time stop at Oxey Lake.

We were back in time for me to be at a BBQ at my in laws’ who live in the New Forest in the early evening. 

A perfect day. I really value the opportunity to sail for a day like this. Thank you Cody. – Stephen

Sunday

Launching at Keyhaven.

Comet Trio Steve, Mel
Storm Ged, Mike
Sport 14 Keith, Rob
Comet Trio Simon, Ginny, Rory
Comet Versa Martin, Ben

Leaving Keyhaven, taken from Hurst Point

Having looked at the tidal charts really closely it becomes clear that the flood tide reverses direction off Lymington near the high tide while still flooding, so the plan was to get to the starting platform which is to the East of the entrance, and be carried into the entrance and up the river. 

The wind started well, we got into the main channel and were bring carried nicely East and then the wind died and we drifted slowly North and a bit further beyond Lymington than we liked. The tidal current changed at the point where a very helpful Southerly F2 kicked in and we ran not only into the channel, but also ran past the ferry terminal and into the slipway at the Town Quay. It was surreal to be in the hustle and bustle of the centre of Lymington, and cafe’s provided food and drink.

We arrived at exactly high tide, having sailed on a run until a few metres from the entrance to the quay.

We motored out of Lymington. Martin and Ben were rudely and carelessly crushed between two giant powerboat cruisers and it really was not Martin’s fault – the gin palace driver simply had not seen them when he unexpectedly and without checking moved his boat sideways to berth alongside another gin palace. The breeze has picked up for our return to Keyhaven, and we enjoyed a drink at KYC before turning in.

Monday

Comet Trio Steve, Mike and Ben
Storm Ged, Mel
Comet Trio Simon, Ginny, Rory
Comet Versa Martin, Rob

We left at 09:30 for Newtown Creek. (We have to apologise for one of our helms not getting the rudder down quickly enough and bumping the enormously strong KYC committee boat just on leaving). The wind was again promising as we took the incoming current towards the East, but huge holes developed which Steve, Mike and Ben sailed into, then they got wind as the others got a hole. We made it in good time, mostly carried on the tide to the entrance to the creek and the SE wind was good enough to enter fairly easily. We moored in the creek to the West of the entrance and spent until high tide enjoying the sunshine. 

Before the tide came in…
…and after the tide came in.
Group photo of adventurous sailors

Ged went for a row in his boat right up to the bridge across the creek to the West, and motored back to us. The return was the usual race to the North shore in winds that were fickle in direction and strength, from a beautiful F3 from the East to a sudden 160 degree shift to a F3 from the West, South West and every point in between. We made the North shore at Oxey Lake and beat into Keyhaven in a variety of West and SW winds. 

Then we packed up and went home through surprisingly little traffic.

These charts show the crazy wind direction at Hurst Castle and Lymington that we enjoyed on Monday.

It’s almost unbelievable that a F3 could change 160 degrees in under two seconds to a F3 solidly from the other direction. We elegantly gybed from reach to reach without changing course at one point.

It was a surprisingly adventurous camp, and we hope to return to Keyhaven YC in 2020. We have also realised that if we join Keyhaven for their Easter Regatta it will be Spring tides as Easter is a festival set by the full moon. We promise to be better at getting to places next time.

Lymington to Newton Creek – February 2019

The forecast had held steady for several days; a F3-4 from the East for Saturday. Thursday was foggy, Jenny & Roy warned us on Friday of fog, and the BBC on Friday suggested that the wind would blow it away.
I started from home in thick fog and a bit of a heavy heart, because Ged has a long way to travel and I hoped it would be worth it. Ged trailed most of the way in bright sun, only plunging into fog at Dorchester.
In Lymington at 08:30 the sun was clear with light mist and the breeze a F3 from the East.

08:30 and the fog had lifted over the Solent

With Ged, Jim and me in the Swallow Storm 17, and Keith and Tim in their new-to-them Topper Sport 14 we left at 10:30 in a good enough breeze which held for at least 10 minutes before becoming extremely light. At the exact time of becalming, Chimet was showing F4 and Bramblemet showing a F5 from the East. We had got as far as the river entrance in 90 minutes.

Just as we launched the wind dropped

We could see zephyrs and little bits of wind as it filled in, and soon we were heading for Newton Creek, the Storm 17 pulling solidly in the breeze, full sun on our faces.

Becalmed at the entrance, while the East and Central Solent were at this moment enjoying a F4-5 from the East….
The entrance to Newton Creek, and the ebb had set in.

I’ve not been in a dayboat style boat before, and it’s a very lovely place to be; comfy cushions, a self tacking jib, great stability and excellent company. I was overwhelmed by the number of sticks and string, and it would take a little while to work out which rope did what. Ged has had Peewit for 4 years and has it mastered. 
We arrived late at the entrance to Newton Creek, the ebb had begun both in the main channel and at the entrance to the harbour itself, making it a challenge to get in. 

With the wind from the SE and the tide ripping out of Newton Creek, we had to plan carefully to get into the entrance.

By sailing very close to the shore we got out of the tide, shot the entrance accepting that we were briefly pushed into the main tidal stream, over-stood it by what looked like far too far and powered over the ebb on a close reach. It was a puzzle to solve and Jim did a great job of piloting us in, to find ourselves alone in the little lagoon on the western side of the harbour entrance.

The beautiful lagoon on the Western side of the Newton Creek entrance.

Keith had been fettling the complex set of ropes at the front of his boat, and continued to play in the main channel while we had a very quick lunch and began our return journey.
Many will recall the dramatic speed of the ebb in the Western Solent from previous excursions to Newton Creek. With an Easterly F3 we needed to reach straight across the waters heading North. We passed the big Starboard deep water channel buoy to the East, but were carried to the West of the Port mid channel marker as the ebb was full speed. The addition of a fourth sail to the Storm 17, a mizzen staysail, made a considerable difference to our speed. We all made Lymington entrance safely, landed, packed up and retired to the pub for a natter before heading home. 
It was remarkable how warm and sunny the day was, how empty Newton Creek was, and what a joy it was to be out and sailing a ~14 mile daysail in the middle of February in great company and in a lovely vessel. My thanks to Ged for offering me a crewing place and allowing me to helm his lovely vessel on the way home.