Mind the laundry – adventures on the Exe.

A last minute decision to take a trip to Exmouth on the evening of Friday 5th October saw Mel and Steve travel to Exmouth to join Nick and others on a daysail in the estuary on Saturday.

The forecast had been for F4-5 from the East and Topsham would have been an easy destination, but as the week progressed the forecast abruptly changed to zero for Saturday morning.

The millpond of the estuary – paddling only…

And it is onto a millpond of reflection that four boats began the paddle; Nick and his crew in his beautiful Trio, two people in the Wayfarer and two in an RS Vision (I apologise, I am useless at remembering names). After an hour, and with 20 minutes left of the flood tide it was clear that Topsham was not a likely destination, and we diverted to the unbelievably picturesque Lympstone. This is where the laundry comes into the story – the dwellings in Lympstone have no gardens, and the locals have taken to hanging their washing on the shoreline on ropes strung between great wooden poles to dry.

Foreshore laundry.

We avoided the laundry as we made land and shortly afterwards enjoyed the hospitality of Susannah’s Tea Room, a lovely traditional coffee-shop cum centre-of-village-life walkers cafe with yummy cake and drinks.
While we were enjoying the good company and coffee, the wind built to a F3 from the SW. The other boats headed back, and we followed the navigation marks to Topsham. As it happens, the twists and turns of the navigable river forced us to enjoy some lovely spinnaker broad reaches.
The water gets shallow in Topsham, and without local knowledge we chose not to land, because it looked like it would be easy to get stranded; at one point it looked as if we were in the middle of the channel and were in only in 70cm of water with 40m to the shore…

The beat back to Exe SC was in F3-4 was with the ebb tide under us. We briefly stopped at a secluded beach just north of Lympstone, nestled between the red Triassic rocks of the area, and mused that a Cody SC expedition to this estuary should include a stop here for lunch. In total, we sailed about 14 miles.

Triassic Rocks and Trio.

Thanks to Nick for arranging the facility at Exe SC, and pies, Laura for helping us drop the boat at the sailing club late on Friday, the skippers and crew of the other boats (I should have taken a pad and paper with me) for their engaging and knowledgable company at the coffee stop, and apologies again to Annie for shying a soft drink all over her just after she’d provided it to me at the bar.

The wind on Sunday was forecast F4-6, and when we got to the club, also blowing a F4-6 so we left the racers to it.

Bosham Camp – Twice to Dell Quay

On Friday a couple of boats made a tour of the harbour, from Cobnor up to Dell Quay, then on the ebb to HISC and out of the harbour, then back to Cobnor on the early flood, arriving as the sun went down.
The evening social was lovely, around communal BBQ’s which then turned into camp fires (far enough off the ground to leave the the grass unharmed).
Saturday the camp started in full, and at 11am, 5 boats sailed to Dell Quay, in the flood through the moorings against the easterly wind. We were made very welcome at Dell Quay SC, and sat on their sunny verandah, eating lasagna and cake. The return journey was a drift for most of the way, with a southerly wind picking up near Deep End, so we decided to run to Bosham for an ice cream. We arrived at Bosham SC’s concrete slipway in the teeth of the ebb tide, gained ice cream and made the beat through the moorings for home just as the fierce ebb was slowing, arriving at about 17:00.
The evening was again a lovely gathering, with two members joining us for the campfire on the field from their yacht that they sailed around from Portsmouth. We finally found out how one of them broke their finger.
Sunday morning saw six boats head out into a westerly wind, and the spring flood was too fierce with the little wind to make out to Chalkdock, so we settled happily for Dell Quay again, with the wind from completely the other direction. A dead run in very light winds, and the sea breeze built behind us and we arrived at Dell Quay at noon. Fortunately their racing fleet was just away and we were welcomed for a second lunchtime to DQSC’s verandah, more lasagna, piri-piri chicken and lashing of hot tea and coffee. We left at the top of the tide, 13:20, and the breeze stiffened to a F3 for the beat through Chichester Pool, and the reach along Itchenor Reach and back to the camp.
All this on both days was in horizon to horizon sunshine, and dry sailing in shorts and t-shirts.
Good weather, good company and lovely sailing.

Six hours out, one hour back. Lymington to Alum Bay.

The journey to Lymington was blighted by a 45 minute traffic jam on the way, which caused a few of us to be not as early as we had planned. Had we been able to launch at 09:30 we might have made it to Alum Bay straight away, but the Merlin Rocket Open Meeting commandeered the public slip just as we hoped to use it, and we got away at 10am. Three Trios, a Laser 2000 and a home built boat took to the river.
The northerly wind drove us nicely out of the river and we made it to the centre of the ebb tide in good time, but not early enough to get beyond Hurst Castle, and we found ourselves adjacent to Totland Bay.
One Trio towed the Laser2000 to the beach, the home built boat rowed beautifully, and the other two Trios had outboard problems (one, user error, and one a blocked breather hole starving the engine) so they paddled in. Totland Bay is a lovely place to visit, with a good cafe and a public loo, a mermaid and shoals of tiny fished making dark patches in the clear water across the fine white sand. It’s not somewhere on our usual list of places to visit, and it is now.
After about an hour on the beach the predicted SW F3 blew in, and we headed for The Needles against the wind and tide, knowing that if we couldn’t get there we were up tide and upwind of our launch place.
By keeping at the very edge of the channel it was possible to make against the flood tide, and all bar the Laser2000 got to the choppy waters off The Needles by 4pm when we turned for home.
We were back in Lymington by 17:20, having the neap flood tide and SW F4 behind us, especially the exciting bit of the sail through the jumpy waves that form at the Hurst Narrows. Boats packed up, social conversation at the pub, then we headed home.
Approximately 17 miles, the first 10 taking six hours, and the last six taking about an hour.

Cobnor to the IOW and back, via Langstone Entrance

The Saturday of the Bank Holiday Weekend had a superb wind forecast, F3-4 from the SE, good sun and warm temperatures. The DCA were in the middle of their two week camp at Cobnor, and Simon had circulated an invitation from Tudor SC to join them on their outing to Priory Bay.
Putting all these together created a passage plan that we knew would be ambitious.
Starting from a slightly chilly Cobnor at 07:15 we took the ebb with a lovely F3 spinnaker run to reach out of the harbour, past West Pole and picked up the ebb, deliberately sailing offshore on a spinnaker broad reach to maximise the help towards Langstone. The visibility was hazy, and when roughly the entrance was abeam we gybed onto the starboard broad reach that took us to Langstone Fairway and into Langstone Harbour.
The tide was ebbing, and by staying close to the eastern shore we took a series of back-eddies and anchored at the pub and cafe. We arrived at 09:30. Hot drinks at the cafe, and a change out of the drysuits were welcome.
We contacted Simon at 10:15 and he confirmed that the white sails we observed up the harbour were Tudor setting out. As their first boat passed us we joined in for the close reach to Priory Bay. Tudor sail with safety boats, and it seemed that any boat was welcome, including a Laser, several Wayfarers, Simon in his Trio, a Lightning, an RS Vision and so on. The safety boats made sure that crossing the main big ship channel was safe, and herded us to the beach.
I’ve not been to Priory Bay before, and it’s lovely, if lacking basic amenities. The gently shelving sandy beach is predictable, and has good holding for the anchor. We stayed with members of Tudor and Simon, Adri and Anne until 13:30, when we took to the water to sail the 8 miles back to Chichester Entrance. The visibility was poor with haze, so we used the compass to guide us, past anchored large ships, over the big ship channel and eventually we picked out the big hotel on Hayling seafront which illuminated briefly through the patchy haze to confirm our pilotage. At the deep water channel we hoisted the spinnaker to get across the channel quickly, then continued in light and patchy winds to the harbour entrance. The wind picked up a little and by 17:00 we were in the pub at Bosham having taken the whole flood tide to our advantage. The short sail back to Cobnor completed the 33 mile sail.
Simon reported that Tudor SC had very light winds on the way back. Some boats had a tow for a bit. They got back to Tudor at 17:15 pm having left about 14:00.
Our thanks to Tudor SC for inviting us to tag along, and to Simon for organising the Cody SC bit of the sailing.

Winter programme

Hello Cody sailors, this is an advanced calling notice for November 2019…(it seems a bit odd sending this email today, as we head into a hot and sunny bank holiday weekend, but we need to plan ahead!)
On Saturday the 23rd November, the plan is for a three-part day/evening activity:
1) Day sail in Chichester Harbour 2) Evening meal in Chichester 3) Southdowns Planetarium (SDP)
Participation can be any combination of the above, eg if you don’t want to day sail, but would like to join the evening meal and SDP event that’s fine (or any combination that works for you).
The critical item right now is getting booked for the planetarium event: this is a one hour show starting at 1930, explaining the Northern Lights. Bookings need to be made directly with the SDP (website link below). Tickets are £7 (adults), £5 children (6-15).
www.southdowns.org.uk
There are approximately 90 seats in the planetarium, so book now to avoid disappointment. (I have already booked my ticket.)
Information for the day has been posted on the events section of the Cody website; this will be edited/updated as more details become available. In the meantime, please me know which parts of the day you are interested in, eg all three activity, day sail only etc.
Enjoy the bank holiday weekend, and hopefully see you soon.

Brief sailing in the mizzle

The forecast predicted a lovely sunny day and SW F4 before the rain this evening. However, we woke to poor visibility, an Easterly gusting F5 and drizzle and rain and fog.
We held our last morning gathering, and a few went sailing, while wet tents and wet boats were packed up.
It’s sort of the end of camp, despite it planned to run until Sunday. The forecast of torrential rain and gale force winds means that there won’t be sailing on Friday or Saturday, so many campers left for home today.

Mini Games and Communal BBQ

Again filed under the heading “what Cody SC get up to when the tide is out”, the long awaited return of the on-field games. Three legged races, egg and spoon, assault course and so on. This year a creative contest to parade the best Greek Chariot will be long remembered. Based on a road base, many astonishing interpretations were made in 15 minutes.
The Chicken Run results were announced at the mass BBQ, with the two most accurate boats crossing the finish line -1 and +1 second of their target time.
Lovely evening chat around the camp fires completed a busy day, the last evening that we expect to be able to sit out; the early signs of the oncoming storm scraped Mares Tails across the vivid pink sunset.

Chicken Run – not a race

The annual “Chicken Run” is not a race, in that there is not speed element to it – and it does have arcane and challenging rules nevertheless. The objective is easy to describe – be at the finish line closest to the time you’re given. But having passed a particular mark, one may not backtrack and must get ever closer to the finish. The results will be later, and apparently we are all within 20 seconds of our given time.
It was also a lovely day for sailing, F4-5 in the Helford Passage, bright sunshine and warm sea.

Playing in more wind

F6 for certain today, so we sailed from the beach in the local area. There was paddling to Gweek, sailing to Gweek, and early morning paddling as well. There is a tale of a Sport14 spinnaker being stuck while hoisted, and trapezing and planing.

Playing in the wind

While the F6 in the forecast did not happen, the promise chilled our ambition to sail to Coverack. The fleet played in the estuary in gusty conditions which rarely held steady. Some trapeze and spinnaker action added interest. Showers periodically dampened the tents. The fourth night paddle in a row found good phosphorescence.