Chores Chored….            

…so we are back on the water again.  Car washed – what a faff – bring on the Poles I say, but I like to clean a new car first time to see what condition the paintwork is in.  And sadly I noticed a marking of the silver roof rails and door trim.  Looks like acid rain, so a quick trip to the garage to log the issue and we will get this replaced.  No problems so far.

The fish tank has been cleaned out and what a mess that was in. It must be two months since I cleaned it so this was well overdue.  A trip to the aquarist shop and new plants brought plus fish food brought the tank back up to scratch.  Now we can actually see the fish so that is a result!

Grass cut for what is hopefully the last time this season and if I get my way for ever.  I would like to deck the back garden right over. Hmm, a big job though as it’s on a graduated slope so we’ll see.

So with those chores out the way, we were able to focus on sailing again. Shopping completed and off we go to Chichester to load up trusty electric bikes – my back is now healed from surgery and I can lift and stretch comfortably again. Food shopping and clothes all stored and we can think about where we want to go.

Hmm interesting dilemma – when we are away cruising, it was always the next port along the coast.  In the Solent it’s a selection of ports all with different characteristics. Some industrial like Gosport, others boaty orientated such as Hamble Point or Cowes, and others quiet and peaceful such as Yarmouth perhaps, and Beaulieu.

In the end we chose to go to Beaulieu for a couple of days and then on to Cowes – as it would be easier to time the return to Chichester! Oh no – were on a time line again!  Not supposed to be like this in retirement!  Got to get back for my sisters birthday!  Having looked at the Beaulieu tides we could cross the bar at about an hour past high tide, and have fairly still water at the Marina for mooring.  The marina as some of you will know is in a bend on the river and has quite significant cross tides to cope with making mooring “treacherous” as Jan likes to call it!  Yes it is testing if the tide is ripping through.

I telephoned the marina before we left, only to be told it was full, but we could be accommodated on the visitors walk ashore pontoon which was empty as we spoke.  We agreed and booked accordingly. We had a motor up the Chichester reaches to West Pole and unusually we had a northerly wind, gusting up to force 5, giving us a very spirited sail all the way along the Solent to the Beaulieu River.

I can never remember if its divergence or convergence which pushes the wind off the land round a headland – I think it’s the former – but no matter, we were able to sail the whole way on one tack, hardening the sheets as we rounded Horse Sand Fort and easing them again as we crossed the headland of Cowes. We absolutely flew down to Beaulieu, making the river bar in just over 2 ½ hours from leaving our berth. “Loverly” sailing.  We did have to pop a couple of turns in the foresail to maintain control as we past Ryde; the apparent wind was reading 22 to 23 knots in the gusts – and also ease the main out to spill some wind, but we both enjoyed the spirited ride.

As we pottered up the Beaulieu river, we were struck by the peacefulness of the waters in contrast from the Solent where it was quite lively– wonderful. Indeed as we motored along everything calmed down and I thought I would give the harbour master a ring just to check mooring instructions.  I was delighted to be told we had been found a finger berth in the marina.  And it was a good one too.  First pontoon from the main gangway and four boats out.  Brill.  It would mean much less effort getting the bikes out.

On approach I was watching the tidal flows against the buoys, and was pleased to see my calculations had been right; very little movement as we approached, and the berth was nicely tucked in so we made a very neat approach and were comfortably tied up in good order.  We ate lunch in the sun in the cockpit and were pleasantly surprised at how very quiet it was. Indeed we were not troubled by mobile phones as there is no signal there!

Out with the bikes and we chose to ride the cycle path come footpath to Beaulieu village in the afternoon.  The harbour master showed us the start of the ride. About two and half miles to the village centre.  Fantastic ride, if a little lumpy on the derriere – and given that we had not cycled for a while I will admit to feeling a little red in the rear on arrival– how polite!

A potter round the village was very pleasant.  The garage in the village center specialises in E Type Jags, also hiring them out for an hour, ½ day, day or week at fairly sensible rates.  Very tempted to indulge myself, but was able to resist given upcoming housing expenses.  However I have squirrelled away the leaflet and will as some point get my ride! They will also sell you an updated E Type with original shell but nut and bolt restoration, with electric windows air con etc so they drive as a modern car, but you will need north of £260000 to buy one! I can but dream.

E Type

Walking back up the high street, there is a Chocolatiers, advertising luxurious Ice  creams. Couldn’t resist and we both had a fabulous mint choc chip ice cream when we were ready to head back to the boat. The ices were really very good indeed so I will allow them to be called luxurious!

More “numb bum” along the lumpy path, and we made it back in good time back to the boat.  We have not been to Beaulieu for many a year, for two reasons; first the “treacherous” tides and secondly and more importantly, the facilities were poor – I mean rough rough poor, and way overdue for rebuilding. To our delight, the facilities were brand new, and in my opinion are some of the best in the Solent – whoever designed them had used such facilities themselves, and knew what was required. We were delighted to relax under a nice hot shower after the day’s exertions.

A few beers in the Master Builders and we retired back to Nourishment for scram.  Whilst supping my beer, the food being served looked excellent – and indeed a selection of home-made pizzas looked very appetising.  Given I can’t resist a good pizza, it meant we booked to eat there the following evening.  We had a Chinese meal from M & S which I have commented on in the past. Very good and early to bed given the day’s activities.  We slept really well. Its noticeable now how the evenings are drawing in.

When we woke next morning it was very peaceful.  As quiet as Chi marina.  I popped my head out to see what the weather was like and it was beautiful.  Early morning mist rising from the river and the sun just starting to shine with great potential for the coming day.

Jan cooked up sausage and egg Sani’s. Heavenly. I was only allowed this treat on the basis that we would have no lunch, during our planned visit to spend the day at Beaulieu Motor Museum. We have not visited for many years.  It’s a brilliant day out for us both. We spent five hours wandering about the museum, then riding on the old 1910 bus and the monorail.  Our only break was a coffee stop at about two o’clock. Still comfortably full from late breakfast!

We had ridden our bikes to the museum and were able to secure them in the cycle rack right outside the main entrance.  Good job too, as after so long on our feet it seemed twice as far as the ride there to get back to the boat!  In fact it was quite a way further on the public roads than using the cycle path, but as we were suffering “red derriere” syndrome from the day before had chosen the smoother route accepting it was over two miles further than the path way.

Jan got the bit between her teeth going back and seemed to race away.  I couldn’t keep up with her.  It must have been the thought of a nice shower! Thankfully my weight on the downhill section enabled me to catch up before we made it back! As soon as we got back I folded the bikes away and stored them on board. I knew if I sat down I would cease up! Knackered after two days full on activity.

Food and drink (the inevitable pizza each) in the Master Builders in front of an open fire in the bar was delightful. What a very pleasant end to a great day out.  Boy did we sleep well again that night. Nearly 10 hours straight off.

Next morning, we got ready to depart across the water to Cowes. I had planned a high tide departure but to my amazement the tide was still running hard. Oh dear I thought.  I had a wander  along the pontoon and started talking to a resident boat owner – he described the tide as unfathomable, particularly around spring tides and offered to help us leave our berth.  Indeed I was so concerned I had the harbour master agree to stand by in a dory to help me out of the berth across the tide.  Of course, having taken all the precautions all went to plan and we made a safe exit to the river with no problems.

Easy arrival on Cowes straight into the middle of a regatta! Made getting in quite interesting, as the racing fleet was the Fairview charter fleet! Which is the front end??? However we were given an alongside berth, well inside the south basin and were able to lie next to the fleet of racing boats with no issues. They were very quiet – not what I normally find in Cowes.  We later found out the regatta didn’t start til the next morning so presume they were saving themselves for the main event!

We had a few beers in the Vectis Tavern. Not out normal haunt but we enjoyed ourselves very much. The landlords dog – a bitza – was very entertaining.  He jumped at shadows, and very shortly we found we could get him almost chasing his own tail by shadow pointing – highly amusing.  What a character the dog is.  We ate on board.  Not a lot more to report about Cowes!

Next morning we had to be underway for 09.00. We woke early to the fog horn going off.  Oh dear – probably foggy outside! When we finally stuck our heads out, it was as thick a pea souper as I can ever recall seeing around the Solent.  We had to get back as we had promised to take my sister out for her birthday.  So at the appointed time we slipped our lines and exited our berth.

On dear, – I couldn’t even see the channel we were supposed to follow to exit the River Medina. This was serious. Just behind us we heard the fog horn from the ferry.  Could I see it – no way.  By this time I am very concerned.  Chartplotter showed the ferry just behind us – and indeed it loomed out of the fog as it passed us within a few meters.  I had found the channel buoy using the chart plotter – I couldn’t see it beyond the side of the boat, and was able to orientate myself from this.  If we didn’t have the AIS, Radar and our trusty chart plotter, I would have turned round and returned to our berth.  Very scary with all the shipping around us and not being able to see a thing.

As we cleared the harbour I was just able to make out the new outer wall and run along the front of this.  I stuck closely to the 10M contour line and followed this alongside the deep water channel.  With AIS showing we were clear of large vessels we crossed the deep water channel to Ryde Middle Bank, where I was able to cross to 4 m depth and run along to almost Gilkicker Point. All around us there were fog horns being sounded, and it is most disorientating as they are not particularly directional….

Using the chartplotter I was aiming at the buoys marking the channels – not good practice but I needed to be sure where we were and with Jan keeping a close watch we were able to steer clear at the last minute, but had gained certainty of our position in doing so.

As we approached Gilkicker Point the fog suddenly cleared.  Wow – the sun came out and we were in brilliant sunshine. As we motored away, we could clearly see the fog bank. Very strange experience and not one I am in a hurry to repeat. That was the worst experience of fog I have ever had to deal with.

20180927_095232 v1
Fog bank with yacht about to enter!

Not sure where to next – we still hope to get some more sailing in before the weather closes in, so watch this space.  We are putting a small extension on our house this winter so our focus will be there for a while after the sailing comes to an end.


Back where we belong…

…on the water!   After much cleaning and victualling we are finally back cruising.  Sadly nowhere near the Brittany coast line, but making the best of the Solent and its environments.

I last left you as we sat in Yarmouth having had a brilliant sail down the Solent.  After four days we were sitting comfortably and the weather forecast closed in on us.  No problem – we can just sit it out these days!  The wind was forecast to rise to between force 6 and 7.

We paid for another two days moorings on our way to the showers. So having decided to sit it out, I thought I would have a go at fitting the new galley tap I had brought on our return to the UK. The original tap worked fine, but the cap controlling the valve was bodged with a cable tie which failed every so often. Upgrade required.

Having checked the fitting diameters all looked good to go, so I started to strip down the sink and pipework beneath to gain access. Doors off and bin removed.  I attacked the old fittings and managed to get access to the pipe tails without too much difficulty…next on with the adjustable spanner and plumbers grips to disconnect the pipe tails, having isolated the water pump and released the pressure. Away these came – there’s me thinking this is going well!  Next undo the tap fitting holding the base in place.  Easy, and out comes the old tap. New tap assembled with the new tails and install in place. So far so good and all going well me thinks! ………. Connect the tails to the existing connectors and all is done, other than refitting all the pipe work back in place securely under the sink! The f@@@in’ connectors are 12mm and the shop back home has supplied 1/2inch BSP tails. Oh blow! I took a trip to the local chandlers – colloquially the “Swindlery” given marine prices, or better known as the big boys’ toy shop to see if I could source the required fittings.  ! However this time they weren’t able to help.

This meant take the new tap out, reverse fit the old tap and put everything back together.  Easy enough, except I was frustrated by the failure to complete the job. I didn’t notice I had connected the hot and cold vice a versa! Oh well have to live with it until I can get new hose connectors with ½ inch BSP threads!

After this debacle we decided to go for a walk, to cool down before showering and as we were walking along the pontoon, we were chased by a good looking lady.  Hmm I thought, things are looking up!  It turned out to be Caroline, who with her husband Gavin, had moved their boating to Dartmouth, and had we hadn’t seen for a couple of years. They were sitting on board their new boat which is why I hadn’t recognised them!  Delighted to catch up, we agreed to meet for a yarn and few drinks on board our boat in the evening. We spent a very pleasant time in their company catching up on life!

Next day, we decided to visit Newport which is the IOW capital by bus, to go to the excellent hardware shop Hurst’s, hoping to get compatible pipe tails for the tap and also do some shopping. Mr Google gave us the time table, but didn’t offer us a mortgage, which is required to ride the buses in IOW. In Brittany the usual fare is anything from €1 to € 2.70 for anything up to 20 miles – on IOW £4.50 for 8 mile journey each way each person!  Hey ho….

Having traipsed to Newport on the bus to try and buy, but failing to get the plumbing fittings for the new galley tap, we also did a big shop, as there is no supermarket Yarmouth. We took our wheelie trolley, as we needed to get loads of sparkling water, which we seem to drink in large quantities! Must be better for us than beer! We also brought a couple of evening meals together with some lunches so that we were self-sufficient.

In the evening, we were knackered after shopping, so ended up a couple of quick sherbert’s in the yacht club, before returning and eating on board. We met up with Graeme and Helen, also John and Pat who are CYC members.  This part of the evening was memorable, but I can’t recall what we ate – it was so unmemorable! Never mind – I’m sure it wasn’t the couple of beers that affected my memory! It says more about the quality of food Morrison’s purvey – or not.

Some more good news – our friends Drew and Jackie were going to join us for a ten day break so we stayed another night in Yarmouth making our stay a whole week!  Always was a favourite of ours, so no problem.  With Drew & Jackie we booked up our favourite Yarmouth restaurant On the Rocks, where we indulged in Chateau Briand for four and a couple of  bottles of our favourite Malbec! Heavenly.

Next day we agreed to sail in company to Poole where we have not been for a couple of years.  We slipped our mooring early afternoon when the tide went fair, and had a great sail down to Poole Harbour, taking wide tacks to make our destination.  One of the better sails of the season, and making over 9 knots over the ground giving us a cracking sail.  The entrance to Poole is quite interesting with tides that are harder to predict accurately.

There is an short cut using the East Looe channel which probably saves 3 or so miles sailing, or about half and hour, but ensuring there is enough water to get through is a bit nail biting.  I calculated there was a least depth of 2.7 meters on approach, which is plenty given our 1.5M draft providing there is no swell. We went for it and got through seeing 2.4M of water. High pressure making the difference.

On arrival we cleaned down Nourishment and went up to pay before we had a shower. Blimey, I now remember why we don’t sail to Poole too often. £52.14 a night! Bit strong for renting a plank of wood to tie to! Never mind, Jackie and Drew invited us on board for a meal and we spent a great night in their company – drinking far too much red wine on top of beers in the local Wetherspoons pub. Not quite so chirpy the following morning!

Jackie and Jan went off shopping, leaving us chaps do entertain ourselves.  Drew & I walked up to the local chandlery to see if we could source the tail pipe fittings for my new tap. They had one, but I needed two.  Drew knew of another old fashioned hardware store in town, so we wandered up there to try our luck.

I find these old fashioned ironmongers fascinating.  And this one was special – full of old style shop displays and cabinets full of drawers stuffed to the gunnels with every sort of fitting possible.  A gold mine I thought.  Having described the items required we were passed to the owner of the shop to help locate them.  He started rummaging in the drawers labelled for brass fittings and began moaning and groaning the staff were careless in putting stock back – the drawers were over stuffed and he appeared to be the main culprit – shoving pushing and generally moaning away.

I saw the BSP tails I was using and needed to fittings to connect to – I stepped behind him to point them out.  Cor blimey, did I get an earful! Miserable old git! Drew gave me a knowing smile, and it was clear “Sir” was struggling to find the parts and had lost interest in helping.  Shame – the shop was fascinating but clearly run by an old fashioned entrepreneur – my way or no way! The term tyrant comes to mind and the staff went scampering away as we walked out.

So we next spoke to Mr Google and he told us the next nearest chandlery was about a 40 minute walk away.  Given it was a pleasant morning, and the girls were shopping we decided to have a stroll along the front all the way to the next shop.  We must have walked for an hour, missing a few short cuts and eventually arrived at a cabin. Oh dear I thought – no chance here either.  How wrong I turned out to be.  Bingo – we had struck gold with a real old fashioned chandlers called West Quay Marine in Parkstone Yacht Club grounds. The lady behind the counter had been in the chandlery business all her life.  See

We got talking, and at 84 she had no intention of retiring. Her knowledge was astounding – all the thread sizes off the top of her head and straight to the appropriate cabinet and picked up exactly what I was looking for – and two of them! Amazing. She told me she wasn’t going to sell the items to me, with a wink and a smile!   They had only arrived yesterday and needed to collect some dust before they were eligible for sale!  Thankfully she was only jesting and was delighted to turn the stock around.

She asked how we had found her business, and where our boats were moored.  She was quite taken aback that we had walked quite so far to try our luck. So pleased was she to have helped she even offered to drive us back in her own car to the waterfront! She drove like Sterling Moss – no messing about and delivered us safely back. June was her name and she wouldn’t take any money towards petrol. Just happy to help! FANTASTIC SERVICE and all with a smile. Highly recommended.

Drew had retired to his boat to change a couple of rusting jubilee clips he had noiticed, so I fitted the new pipe tails and installed our new tap. It was a straight forward job this time round, having already tried once. So 40 minutes later all was buttoned up and secured back in place, with the hot and cold correctly connected and all working fine.  I also changed the fresh water filter under the sink while I was under there.  Job jobbed.

That evening we wanted a curry – and stopping in at Wetherspoons for a beer, it turned out to be curry night. £7.99 for a curry of choice plus poppadum and rice. Go large for another £1.75 and you get a naan bread, onion bhaji and samosa thrown in with a pint of your choice.  Amazing value when you think that in the curry house the price of a large Cobra is £6.00! Too good value to turn down so that is what we ate.  Both parties feeling a little less than fresh after the previous nights over indulgence, plus long walk for parts, so we headed for bed at around 21.30!

We sailed in the morning, out via the East Looe channel;  sailed is a misnomer, we motored as there was no wind!  Disappointing, but we made it back up to Lymington where I had reserved berths, and booked the Fisherman’s Rest pub for evening meal.  Food was again excellent. Over dinner we discussed plans for next few days, but the weather forecast was not looking promising.  We agreed to check again in the morning and plan accordingly. Another early night!

Up with the sparrows, I checked the forecast out. Oh dear.  Not good at all.  Force 7-8 threatened for Monday and looking ahead for the rest of the week remaining very windy. As a result, we decided to cut our break away with Drew & Jackie short and return to Chichester for safety.  We slipped our lines at 11.00 and with a stiff breeze on our tail decided to run under foresail only up the western Solent.  This turned out to be a fabulous sail all the way back, including down the Chichester Reaches which were very quiet given the stiff breeze. It took us just 3 ½ hours to get back – a very quick passage under foresail only.

Safely tied up in our home port we slept on board and spent the Monday morning cleaning down. As the morning wore on the forecast wind started to fill in making our choice to cut and run seem the right one. Indeed we chose to decamp back home as the wind started to really blow, and indeed has done so since we left the boat.  Good call.

Plenty of chores to keep us busy at home – clean the fish tank cut the grass wash the car do the shopping – all very mundane, but has to be done. Looking forward to a few more sails before we lay the boat up for winter.

And a couple of boaty piccies to boot this time. Must still try harder. That’s us with the foresail only and Drew & Jackie’s boat Madness with the full sails up!



Something to report ….

…at last.   We have got our beloved boat back in one piece – finally all done!  I am pleased to say that the repair job is excellent.  Time will tell if it will reveal itself with minor discolouration which is always a risk in GRP, but we are really pleased that at present we cannot tell where the repair was carried out.

We drove down on the Bank holiday Monday to check our boat over to ensure that it was all ready for collection on the following day.  Everything was in place and what a difference in cleanliness to when we picked up the boat in Guernsey.  Nourishment had clearly been given a good wash-down in the cockpit area and while there were some areas not up to standard, overall no worries.  We were able to deliver all the lines, warps and much other paraphernalia on this visit, meaning next day we could take another car load of stuff to reload.

I would like to record our thanks here to my mate Gareth Hughes who volunteered to help us get our boat back to Chichester. He joined us at our home on Tuesday morning and we loaded up the foresail into his car and set of for Hamble Point Marina in convoy, via Chichester where I was to drop of my car, and we were to continue to Hamble Point.

We arrived at Hamble Point expecting Nourishment to be launched at 13.30. However on our arrival we found she had already been launched, and was sitting on a berth awaiting our arrival.  Indeed, on board was the refrigeration engineer we had used several weeks back checking over the fridge.  Sadly the communication at the repairers is the only aspect of repair we have any issue with. They never communicate anything, and had not told the repair team we already had the fridge back in commission! Hey ho! I wonder who will end up paying for this non-repair?

So rather than waiting for the boat to be cleaned further, we agreed to undertake this ourselves, once we were back in our home port. The truth is we would do this anyway, as since the damage, we have been unable to keep up our on-going maintenance routines where we keep everything regularly polished, so giving us a chance to catch up and make sure everything is “Ship shape and Bristol fashion. Another nautical term, which has caused many debates as to origin.  Google it and you will see!

Given the tide was ebbing from 13.30 we needed to be back in Chichester to get through the lock by 17.00 at the latest, so slipped our lines by 12.30 giving us 4 ½ hours to cover the 28 miles back to Chichester.  We would be pushing the spring tide so decided to leave without hoisting the foresail and motor back giving ourselves a little more leeway on the height of water for entry to the marina.  There was very little wind at all so to make the lock we would have been motoring anyway.

We made it back in time and entered through the lock, and were allocated a berth on E pontoon which is where we consider home!  All very comfortable.  We were able to load up the rest of the kit from our car and get it put away.  Again Gareth came to our help.  Given I am not supposed to do any heavy lifting following surgery for 3- 4 weeks, he agreed to help me next morning with some serious polishing around the sprayhood which we removed and once the decks were dry from the overnight dew to hoist the foresail.

This is a heavy old beast and Gareth agreed to do the lifting and winching to get the sail up leaving me to do the lines, knots and fiddly bits such as securing shackles, and then guiding the sail up the foil. Couldn’t have done it without you Gareth.  A million thanks.  Having spent virtually all day grafting, we were sorry to see Gareth heading home.  We spent the rest of the day polishing and fettling Nourishment.

We decided to get our first sail in since reclaiming our yacht and departed for Cowes on the Thursday lunchtime having reserved berthing at the Yacht Haven.  Once we cleared harbour we had a very pleasant if slow sail up to the Horse Sand Fort when we were in the lea of the IOW and the wind died.  We motored  the rest of the way to Cowes and after several attempts, were finally allocated an along-side berth we could fit in, in the North Basin which was well tucked in.

I must admit my heart was in my mouth as we approached the berth as I had to swing our anchor past another yacht and had no get out of jail card if the wind caught me! Thankfully we swung in nicely and all was well. Leaving would be easy.

We stayed three nights and had a very relaxed time. We ate in the Anchor pub night one. Second night we ate on board and had a M & S Chinese ready meal -£10 for two mains and two sides. Excellent value for money and very tasty too.  On our final night – Sunday, we chose to eat at the Spice Central tandoori restaurant.

It looked very modern and indeed proclaimed Tapas style indian eating.  Different and I can report very good indeed.  I finally chose a Thali meal with Chilli Butter chicken at its heart.  Jan ate from the Tapas menu choosing various meats all served with Naan Bread.  Well worth a try if you ever get to Cowes. Whole bill only came to just over £40 including drinks.

On Monday morning we departed for Chichester as we had to get home for more “builders” quotes on the house.  I had asked the electricity board to quote to move the meter from one side to the reverse side of the wall.  Not difficult I thought, but with a price tag of £1200 and the promise of digging up next doors front garden to boot, we are having a rethink on this score!  Hmmm, they know how to charge! We would also have to employ and electrician too, to reroute all the interior house cables to the new position.  Costs seem to run away if you allow them!

Anyway, we departed home on Wednesday morning to return to Nourishment and head of for another few days pottering around the Solent.  First stop was to be Gosport.  We had a spanking good sail in a northerly force 4 wind touching 5, and made the passage in just over two hours.  My mate Drew has come up trumps many times helping me out with yachtie jobs so I was hoping to help him refit his boats rudder bearings.  Not a job I would even know how to start thinking about.  But Drew is an experienced engineer working on commercial aircraft, and has a vast level of experience in handling difficult jobs.

When we arrived, he had virtually finished the hard bit – stripping out the old rotten bearing, which I suspect was with much swearing as the area he had to work in was very tight.  He had researched the whole job having been unable to find any marine business to undertake the work, and as a result made up his own specially designed tooling to complete the job.

I am pleased to report the whole job was completed in just two days and relaunched on the morning of the third day without any help from me or anyone else – other than the crane driver who lifted the boat in and out of the water and up in the air to allow removal of the rudder itself! We had a splendid night out with Drew & his good lady Jackie in the local pub, where we managed to slake Drew’s thirst after two days of hard graft. The food wasn’t bad either!

After our night out we sailed next morning at 10.45 down to Yarmouth. It is our favourite port in the Solent.  We had a fabulous sail pretty much all the way to the port entrance, only furling the foresail to put the motor on and outrun a racing fleet that was heading in toward Cowes for lunch.  As we cleared the Cowes headland, the foresail was out again and we flew down on the tide tacking all the way to Yarmouth.  Sails like this make all the bills worth while! Excellent if a bit tiring and a load on my back….but it seems to have held up so healing must be well on the way now!

We had been unable to book as the web site said it was full, so had arrived on spec, knowing that a number of berth are available on first come first served basis. We were given a warm welcome in the harbour entrance, and allocated an alongside berth, with the warning we would be rafted onto three or four deep, as a number of rallies were due in at the weekend.

After a few minutes of being tied up, and while we were eating our late lunch, we were approached by the berthing master saying if we would care to move to another location after lunchtime berthing, we could stay as long as we wish, and at most only have one boat rafted outside us.  What a good result! With the forecast for the weekend to be a bit lumpy we are very comfortably set for a few nights in Yarmouth!

Last night we had a few beers in the Royal Solent Yacht Club and watched the sun set then went to an Italian restaurant for Pizza – what else.  Very nice surroundings and wine was excellent.  Worth a try for sure but be clear as to what you’re ordering as we got the wrong pizzas! Hey ho, it was all sorted out amicably although I never got my spicy Pizza!

So here we sit in Yarmouth. Today we have done a lot of chores on board; I managed to drop the shore power lead in the water in Cowes, so wanted to re-wire this to avoid corrosion. I also cleaned all the cockpit tent windows and those of the sprayhood. The birds are eating the blackberries at present – I know this as they deposit the left overs all over our decks staining the GRP and teak.  I therefore scrubbed the decks down as well. Fortunately after cleaning the UV bleaches out the purple over a couple of hours.  Oh the joys of boating!

We are looking forward to a few days relaxing in Yarmouth before we choose where to sail to next! I really must remember to get my camera out and take some piccies for my blog. Sorry its text only, and I do seem to have nattered on and on and on…….





Not at lot to report, but….           

…. some good news!  We have a provisional date of Tuesday 28th August to collect our boat from the repairers.  Fantastic, but a bit of a logistical nightmare to solve, as we unloaded Nourishment before the repair commenced to prevent too much dust collecting on our clothing and possessions, given the amount of grinding of GRP that was in prospect!

We now need to get all the clobber back on board so we can have a comfortable end to the sailing season.  That will mean a berth in Chichester for a few days while we clean down the boat, polish the top sides and clean the deck to get Nourishment back up to standard. It will probably take us at least two full cars worth to get everything reunited with Nourishment, then sorted out and put away on board. I’d better start the negotiations for “temporary” berthing!”

We are debating whether to head south back to Brittany for a couple of weeks before the end of the season or head toward the west country. Our friends Drew & Jackie have some time off so we will probably cruise with them to close down the season!

In the meantime we have indeed been to Aldeburgh and had a cracking weekend with Mark & Susan.  We arrived with a home-made Simbo size lasagne, as Susan was not due to get home until 19.00. It would be so unfair to expect her to cook up on arrival.

However our journey around the M25 was awful – so we arrived at about the same time! It took us 4 ½ hours to do just 120 miles, and the government have the temerity to charge you for the pleasure of queuing too! Awful. Just two hours to get home on the Sunday lunchtime! Susan produced a truly memorable meal on Saturday night based on Chicken Sausage & Fennel. Can’t wait to get the recipe and repeat it at home! Breakfast at the local café was exceptional too on Sunday morning and set us up for our return journey!

Other than that, we have variously entertained and been entertained and eaten out, so the waistline is struggling a bit at present as without the boat we are also inactive!

Glad to report my operation is healing well although still quite sore even two weeks on.

So that’s it for now – as I said not a lot to report!

Still Sitting Around…..

…but glad to report we are not doing nothing!  Since I last posted we have had various fun and games, meeting up with mates.

We sailed from Chichester after three weeks plus sitting there.  We had previously sailed for three months and never had an issue with the log in all that time, but I now remember the constant battle to keep the log wheel clean when moored there in the summer (which records the speed through the water) as a result of the brackish water.  Hey ho it was very pleasant meeting all our mates from CYC during our stay.

Our first passage was to Gosport – we slipped our lines as soon as I heard over the radio that the lock queue was starting to form, and managed to secure third place out of the lock at about 11.00 – water was a bit thin at 1.6M but as we only draw 1.5M, scraped out with no issues.  All that practice at calculating tidal height still works!

We motored to West Pole and hung out the foresail more in hope of a sail than conviction, as only 5 knots of breeze was blowing from behind us.  As we were so early on the tide we had no time pressures, and managed to sail all the way to Gosport at a very gentle pace, making about 2.5 Knots increasing to 5 knots as the tide swung round and started to give us a lift towards the Submarine Wall outside Gosport. Very enjoyable sail, and we ate lunch on route as it was so calm!

We had arranged to meet our friends Drew & Jackie on their home berth, for a curry at our favourite curry house which is at the back of Gosport.  I have mentioned this curry house in this blog several times before!   After a G & T on board we walked up to Spoons to blow the top off a couple of cold beers and arrived at the curry house – The New Bengal – on time.

The food is fantastic and very reasonably priced – but in common with many curry houses they do a roaring trade in takeaways, so service is somewhat suspect.  However the company was great and we had a good old yarn so no problem. Unusually, I had a prawn curry with spinach onion and chiilies which was loaded with prawns, and shared with Jan – just right in temperature and Jan shared her Chicken Shaslik with me. Portions are enormous here and hence no starter – not even a popadom! Meal for four including 2 x beers and bottle of wine just £78.   Real value for money and excellent quality too. Do give it a try.

Sadly for us D & J were already booked to see other mates on Saturday, so we sailed on alone to Southampton, having booked a berth at Ocean Village. Very different sailing in the Solent – much busier, and you turn up unannounced at your peril; especially when it’s the start of Cowes week!  Prices are very different too – It felt like I brought the berth for a week rather than rented it for the night!

In the very warm weather, there was very little breeze as we left Gosport, but around lunchtime a sea breeze picked up but headed us, so we motored all the way up Southampton Water. Amazing the number of boats out on the water compared to sailing in the Channel Islands and Brittany, which explains how the berthing costs so much in comparison!

Before we retired, Ocean Village was one of our most visited ports as it has a very posh yacht club and also many other restaurants and pubs close by to enjoy.  We had decided to treat ourselves to a romantic meal for two overlooking the harbour, by booking into the Royal Southampton Yacht Club. Food has always been very good here, at what I recall being reasonable prices. Indeed it remains reasonable given the surroundings but cost has crept up.

I must say the drinks meal and wine were excellent, and very well presented. We both started traditionally with homemade mushroom and asparagus soup dressed with truffle oil.  It was absolutely fabulous, but probably a hundred calories a mouthful given it was very creamy! Steak to follow and a very special bottle of wine to accompany the meal, made for a great night overlooking the harbour. We were only one of two couples eating that night so it rather lacked atmosphere. I did overhear a member talking – and there were only three or four on the premises – saying the club was closing! We were most taken aback….

After our meal we retired to the bar to finish the bottle of wine and got talking to the waitress who was clearly under utilised (read bored stiff) and she told us they will close at the end of September once committed functions are completed, and fall back to their summer clubhouse only, based at Gins Farm on the Beaulieu River as the club was losing money hand over fist with no utilisation!  What a contrast to our club at Chichester where the memberships have grown and looks like a waiting list to join will be created as it’s so fully used!

We had chosen Ocean Village as we needed to deliver our boat to Hamble Point Sunday evening for lift and repair Monday morning. It is but a short hop to Hamble Point so no great pressure to leave Ocean Village. We chose to arrive at slack water as it can be challenging in the Hamble with tide in full flood to moor up. This meant we arrived around lunchtime, and had no problem mooring in allocated berth. We ate lunch and washed down in preparation to hand the boat over first thing Monday morning, spending the rest of the afternoon fiddling about packing and relaxing.

We know there is only one option to eat at Hamble Point in the Ketch Riggers, and have tended to avoid it as food is unexciting. On checking back when we last ate there, it was 9 years ago!  In comparison to the previous evening at RSYC it was an awful experience.

Tables were loaded with used crockery and cutlery. No one seemed interested in sorting out the mess. When a lass eventually turned up to clear the table, having taken the empties away, started to wipe the table which was very wet.  With a big swipe with her cloth she managed to propel all the slops straight over Jan. If looks could kill, the girl would be dead from the glare from Jan!

Not a good start and I have to say this was symptomatic of the whole night.  The management were sitting out front more interested in smoking and drinking, than running the restaurant. The meal was awful, the cutlery dirty, the beer flat, the condiments empty and most tables laden with used utensils. It will be another 9 years at least before we try to eat there again!

We set the alarm for 06.30 to give us time for tea before lifting, and having heard nothing about the lift out,  Jan went off at 07.45 to find out about the order of the day. She came running back saying we were first lift and they were waiting for us, but we had to remove the foresail before they would lift us.  This was dreadful news – it normally takes us a good hour to remove the foresail and stow it away. We had just 10 minutes to get to the sail of and round to the hoist.

Clearly this wasn’t going to work!  What poor communication – neither the yard nor the repairers had told us this joyous piece of information! Not best pleased, I whipped out the tool box and in just 15 minutes managed to lower the sail to the deck and then remove all the shackles and lines.  Talk about working up a sweat first thing in the morning!

We then had to remove the sail onto the pontoon, seek out the sail bag, put all the tools away and leave our foresail unattended on the pontoon while we delivered the boat to the hoist, all in a record 25 minutes, and just 15 minutes late! If only we had known removal of the foresail was necessary, we would have removed the sail Sunday afternoon and left it on board! Now it was damp from the overnight dew and needed folding to enable it to be moved.

After delivering the boat for lifting, we returned to the pontoon to collect our sail, flaked it away into its sail bag and load it up a trolley. Boy; the sun shining as we worked away – I think I must have lost a stone sweating like a “robber’s horse”!

In all this time we had had no contact from the repairers, so with pushed all our kit round the boat yard to find the main reception.  Not in the best of moods we let our feelings be known! Not a great start to the repair.

Our plan was to take the train to Chichester to pick up our car and then home. Now we had a sail that weighs well over a 100 kilos, as well as two bags of clothes and possessions from the boat to get home. Not possible to get on a train with all that kit!  An emergency call to our good mates Chris and Tony and they agreed to come and collect us, the kit and sail and run us back to Chichester.

Thankfully Chris & Tony turned up at about 10.30 and we loaded up all the kit and made it back to Chichester. Much more comfortable than doing it by train!  Thanks again C & T.

We are now back home.  Sadly I had to have a mole on my back removed. What I thought was a minor slice and dice turned in to a proper carving session with a penny sized piece of my back being removed leaving me very sore for the last few days.  I am also told no heavy physical exercise allowed for next 3 – 4 weeks which is an even bigger pain, as we were hoping to get away for the end of the season on return of our boat from the repairers.  I’ll see how it goes – never say never.

Had breakfast with Mum at Redhill aerodrome yesterday, which was very pleasant. This weekend we are off to Aldeburgh to see mates Mark & Susan who we were supposed to meet in Southern Brittany this year which clearly didn’t happen given the damage caused to Nourishment.

Sitting about doing nothing!

Since I last posted on my blog we have been through the hottest spell of weather since 1976! Sadly at the hottest point without a fridge, meaning daily trips to get the food in! Regrettably I am old enough to remember this event and even then I struggled in the heat.  This year has been no different. With the temperature hitting 34C on board I am left feeling washed out and like a damp rag.

The long and short of this is that we have chosen to do not a lot in the last fortnight since I posted my last blog. So dear readers not a lot to report.

After trying to get alternative quotes for our repairs, our insurers have agreed to appoint Desty Marine to complete the work, and our boat is being taken ashore on Monday to get this completed. Seven to ten working days is the time line quoted. Will it take more?

We have been running up and down to home to lighten the load on our boat so the repairers don’t keep having to move too much stuff! We have removed all our clothing and personal effects together with many ropes and spare fenders, so access to the lockers is much easier for repairs to be carried out.

In the interim, I have managed to get hold of our refrigeration engineer to come along and resolve the issues with our fridge.  It took a couple of hours work, but I am delighted to report that we have now have a fully functioning fridge again.  What a delight it is to have a cold drink of water and to find the milk stays fresh for a couple of days – and only having to go to the supermarket every three days is a delight. What a sad life ……We should of course have been in Southern Brittany exploring new cruising grounds.

I have had our engineer look over the works completed in Guernsey and all is well.  Given how the boat performed getting back to Chichester I am not surprised.

In Chichester we are in open countryside south of the city and surrounded by wild life. Swallows abound and we have been told they nest under the pontoons! They are really pretty little birds but given there are so many of them they are making a real mess on the decks – every other day its out with the hose to wash down the boat first thing in the morning when there is still some dew about making for softer droppings. Enough said at this point I think!

In the thunderstorms over the weekend we found a nasty leak coming through the port hand chain plate.  This will necessitate a lift out of the mast at some point to seal the leak it properly. In the interim I have applied a mastic seal outside which should hold until I can get the work done. Never rains but it pours!  Hey ho. I need to replace the steaming light unit and polish the mast at it is 5 years since I last did this nasty chore!

One more piccy for you. I mentioned hitting my mark on return to Yarmouth. Heres a photo of the track to prove my point.  The curve is induced by the tide – I maintain a steady heading all the time. I find it fascinating how far the tide moves us. If we tried to fight it we would add hours to our passage time so its nice to get it right!


So I leave you there as not much else to report. Enjoy the warm!


Back Home – Again

I last left you as we were sitting in Guernsey, getting ready to take the long final steps home aboard our boat Nourishment which we had finally collected from the repairers after a couple of further days delay waiting for a anti-syphon valve. I had drawn up a passage plan to get us up to Cherbourg, which looking at the tides was a very early departure at 04.30 in the morning.

I had taped a sign to our window warning the harbour master and and boats arriving in the night that we would be leaving with the sparrows. It worked as no boat rafted of us, even though we are starting to hit the high season.

We set the alarm for 04.00 to ensure enough time for a cup of tea or two before we slipped our lines.  We had stored everything away the night before so it was really a cuppa, a quick visit to the ablutions, turn on the instruments and navigation lights on and away.

It was just about dawn as we untied our lines and quietly motored out of the harbour. Fenders and lines stowed and it was time to complete the passage we first started on the mid May, it now being the 9th July.

I had chosen the 9th July as the day showed very light winds.  I was very keen to get a good sail, but felt it was more important to give the motor a good run to prove it was all working as it should. As I throttled up to cruising revs it was with a memory of what happened last time I tried to do this and the engine mounts gave way; I am pleased to report all is well in this department.  Cruising revs immediately brought up the expected 7.5 knots of speed through the water, and with the tide in the Little Russell channel leading up between Guernsey and Herm we were making some 10 plus knots over the ground. Great I thought – all is well!

When drawing up my passage plan I knew we always made average of 8 knots plus on this passage so given the hour of departure to hit the Alderney Race, I calculated our passage to arrive at slack water accordingly.  I can only claim in this case I was more concerned at the engine performing as it should following repair, rather than thinking through the conequences…. as the navigators amoungst you will spot the error of my ways.

Of course we make average eight knots plus if you leave at the right time….if you leave an hour and half later to reflect the boat speed, you have lost the lift from that sector of the tide.  I noticed as soon as we cleared the Little Russell that we were not makingenough speed over the ground, and this caused caused me to check  what would happen.  I worked out we would be a little late at the Alderney Race, but was confident enough we could clear it.

I was right – we did clear it – just: but the consequences of my mistake were an incredibly slow passage along the foreshore of the Cap de la Hague with speed over the ground at just 2.1 knots, until the tide let us go!   Very painful – and a hard lesson learnt – or at least reinforced for me – always plan at boat speed, and don’t get over confident! It meant we pushed an extra 18 miles of tide adding two and a half hours to our journey time to Cherbourg. Planned passage 42 nautical miles. Distance run 60.1 nautical miles.  At least it was a nice calm sunny day and the passage wasn’t unpleasant – just slow.

Pulling into Cherbourg we were able to secure a berth on the visitors pontoon from a choice of berths.  Since our experience of having a midnight intruder here, we prefer half way along the pontoon, although this does make for a long walk to the “sanitaires” and yacht club!

To our disappointment, after a couple beers in Cherbourg Yacht Club we headed over to our favourite pizzeria La Moulin, only to find it closed with a notice on the door saying due to “exceptional circumstances” but would reopen on the Tuesday.  So we went off to seek out another venue to eat at and came to the originally named restaurant “La Pizza”  The pizza was good and a real alternative to La Moulin which I have to say we still prefer.

Back to the boat and we fell into bed shattered after an early start and full day at sea.  Next morning it was back to the Carrefour supermarket to buy provisions for the day. It’s a real pain having no fridge, meaning daily shopping, and really destroys the pleasure in cooking on board. Nothing can be saved.

Looking at the weather, we decided to cross back to the UK on the Thursday 12th July, and after the debacle of my last passage plan I sat down and worked out that it was best for us to cross to Yarmouth leaving at 08.00 and getting us back on berth at approximately 17.00.  This is our wedding anniversary and this year marks 38 years.  Blimey – where has it all gone and we are still happily together. Can’t really write anything else – but it is true!

This left us with Tuesday evening which was the France v Belgium world cup semi-final to enjoy and then the England Semi, on the Wednesday before leaving Thursday morning.  I was delighted to find that I could get BBC in Cherbourg, and whilst the picture occasionally broke up, to have English commentary really made the game.

As a result we went for early doors beer and burger and retired on board to watch the second half of the game.  We could hear the celebration up in the town when the final whistle went – the French are very good at celebrating publically!

Wednesday was a quiet day too – just more food shopping for lunch and provisions to cross the channel next day. Nothing too exciting. Coffee in the afternoon, but our favourite café was in the shade so not very warm with a breeze blowing straight up the harbour. We didn’t hang around for long!

In the evening we decided to visit La Moulin pizzeria, and were made welcome as usual – this time by the chef who we have had banter with in the past few years, and this introduced us to the new patrons.  I am pleased to report the pizzas are just as good as ever and the hospitality very good.

We were offered prime seats in front of the 70 inch screen on the mezzanine floor newly refurbished for additional seating.  We watched the whole England game with French commentary – it didn’t make any difference to result – and meant we didn’t have to listen to the pundits’ nonsense! We drank rather more than intended but it was an excellent night out with sweet and coffee to follow before retiring to the boat to commiserate!

I set the alarm for 07.00 having set Nourishment up the day before to sail, so it was back into routine departure mode – two cuppas, check the weather and get final preparations done to sail.  On with the life jackets and we were ready to clear harbour.  It takes about 15 mins to clear Cherbourg outer harbour so just we left our berth at 07.45 and headed back to the UK.

The passage was windless again, although forecast suggested we may have had some easterly breeze from mid morning but it never arrived. Hence it was a long and boring crossing under motor.  We purposely delayed breakfast until 09.30 to give us something to look forward to, although only cereal followed by another cuppa.

Lunch during the channel crossing was sandwiches from the supermarket. They are about half the price of UK commercially made sanis, and very well filled.  I had a chicken and salad with mayo and cheese and ham and the total was just over €3! A bag of crisps and bottle of water and lunch was done.

Did I hit my mark crossing the channel – you bet I did! No mistake this time or I would have to have seriously questioned my capabilities!  I made no changes to our heading of 005OC from when I set this leaving Cherbourg outer harbour wall even crossing the shipping channels without change, until a few miles south of the Bridge mark, where I choose to add a few degrees to pick up the tide more effectively and cut the corner slightly. Very satisfying after the last passage!

We made good time, being tied up just after 17.30. We were met in the entrance for Yarmouth and without asking were offered a finger pontoon for overnight berthing. I had already booked the restaurant On the Rocks while we were in France as something to look forward to for Jan for making her cross the channel on our wedding anniversary! Very good the meal was too – fillet steak each and a bottle of our favourite Malbec red wine. No room for pud!

I had also called up Desty Marine from Cherbourg, who have been variously recommended to us for the repairs required to our yacht and agreed to call in to arrange an estimate on our way back up the Solent at Hamble Point.  We duly arrived an hour early than planned on the tide, and were met by Neil Desty who did an estimate for us on the spot, and promised in writing for late afternoon

Having had our meeting I went up to pay for the short term berth, and to my pleasure and surprise, as we had only been on berth for just on an hour and not over lunchtime, we were told payment for berthing was waived! We sailed on from Hamble Point against the tide to make Chichester Marina for Friday afternoon, just before the end of freeflow in the lock.

We were home again!

Since then we have made it back home on the train  We were invited to join Ray & Shaz with other friends for a BBQ on Sunday afternoon to watch the mens tennis final and then the world cup final! What a sporting afternoon. Very pleasant and a taxi home after saved any difficulties with the driving.

The estimate from Desty Marine did duly arrive as promised on the Friday afternoon.  After a few questions I was satisfied that all was in order and sent it on to our insurers, and they have agreed to accept this after other repairers I approached declined to help as being too busy or outside their scope.

I will get our engineer to check over the engine to ensure all is well. We are hopeful that repairs can be completed swiftly so we can get back out on the water and at least get some end of season pleasure without repairs and subsequent failures hanging over us!