The promised F4 W this morning was a flat calm until noon. A group paddled to the pub, and had lunch. At 15:00 a big fleet took the promised wind down the harbour and with a limit of August Rock, played in the F4-5 with occasionally stronger gusts. Many families stayed in the river with their smaller boats and young crew had the chance to helm.
The wind died to sensible levels and two boats took to the waters for a bit of a blast, spinnaker broad reaching on the plane. Plans are afoot for the PET bottle rocket competition and the raft building competition
As the low pressure approached us last night, the intensity of the downpours and the strength of the wind increased. Following a particularly heavy cloudburst the following squall was enough to capsize a couple of dinghies on their trollies. In the last of the daylight and torrential rain, a team secured the dinghies and all was well for the rest of the night. The eye of the low came close enough to give us a quiet night. With F6-8 NW across the field, no one sailed in the morning. One tent failed the stress test, and fortunately the family had bought a spare just in case.
First sailing day saw a Gold fleet of seven dinghies cruise to Gillan. It was a broad reach/run to the cardinal mark at the entrance, and then a beat in fluky wind to the shop. Two years ago it was a cafe, now we feasted on cheese crackers, ice cream and coffee. The fleet split, three adventured to the top of Gillan Creek, the rest beat against the building ebb to the Ferry Boat In for Betty Stoggs and ice cream. Meanwhile the Silver fleet consisting of families with children sailed and paddled locally. When the Gold fleet reunited we beat in decreasing zephyrs to camp against the ebb tide and all arrived in good time. There’s a stillness to the atmosphere this evening; the calm before a storm.
Sunday 21st was a wonderful Cody sail from Stokes bay to Bembridge. Three boats went: one crewed by Stephen and Adri, the second by Anna, Julie and new member John visiting from Australia and the third sailed by Anne and Simon. We met at Stokes bay about 10:30 rigged and set off about 11:30 the wind was from the southwest force 3 to 4 throughout the day. It was a nice reach both ways and this allowed for a fast passage: about 1 hour and 15 mins each way. We stopped at the beach just outside Bembridge. All had a great sail and the weather was as best as it can get for this sail. All really enjoyed the sail
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.
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.