When I moved from Hampshire to Cornwall nearly two years ago I had intended to keep Chione in her home marina of Whale Island (Portsmouth) and have alternate weekends sailing, spending non-sailing weekends at home. Coronavirus rather put pay to that plan, and coupled with work commitments, it became apparent that moving her closer to home was the only option that would allow me to sail regularly and keep on top of maintenance. The first lockdown did nothing for Chione and her varnish work has suffered somewhat; the poor weather hasn’t helped either, but I hope to address varnish work over the coming months.
So, over the weekend of 17 and 18 Jul I took Chione up to Port Solent Marina, Portsmouth and de-rigged her ready for mast un-step and lift to transport on Mon 19. I used the same company who brought her down from Scotland in 2018 to haul her to Plymouth. She was even on the same trailer! I can’t speak highly enough of South West Boat Transport – no relation or business interest – they purely did a good job! Chione will be launched on Mon 2 Aug at Queen Anne’s Battery Marina, Plymouth and once her mast is stepped I’ll take her round the corner to her new home in King Point Marina (by the Continental Ferry Port).
It has been a wrench leaving Whale Island after nearly 30 years, but I am very much looking forward to exploring the Devon and Cornwall coastlines as well as Plymouth harbour.
After so much rain there was a weather window of 24hrs that looked like it would be dry! When I left Portsmouth at 1030 on Tue 15 Oct there was very little wind and poor visibility. Motoring towards Gilkicker Point, Jolie Brise was anchored off Haslar with crew members taking a swim – the sea temperature was about 16C! Not much wind all the way to Cowes, so the engine and autopilot did most of the work. A heavy shower off Norris Castle was a disappointment as it has started to brighten up.
I have always enjoyed visiting Cowes – especially when it is quiet – and this visit didn’t disappoint. Initially the Visitors’ area of Shepards Wharf Marina was empty, until a couple of sail training yachts arrived at about 1630. A walk into town and along the front to Gurnard was enjoyable and warm enough to wear just a t-shirt. I also located The Coast Bar and Dining Room where I had arranged to meet a good friend for drinks. A really enjoyable evening followed – definitely good to catch up and put the world to rights. I can recommend the Coast Bar – really friendly, great atmosphere, and they do a good pint of cider!
The return trip to Portsmouth was wet and windy. Experimented with sailing under just jib, then jib and staysail, and eventually also hoisted the main to make the most out of the conditions and have a good return sail. Already looking forward to the next visit to Cowes!
Had a great day sailing to the entrance of the Beaulieu River and back to Whale Island. The forecast Northerly was more NNW, but with a smooth sea and not too many other yachts out, I managed to get to Beaulieu in one starboard tack from Gillkicker Point. Just off Cowes the gaff ketch ‘Queen Galadriel’, owned by the Cirdan Trust, passed by heading East. By the time I turned for home the tide was flooding and the trip from Beaulieu entrance to Portsmouth Harbour entrance was completed in just an hour. Great Sailing and Chione going well.
Chione will be ashore undergoing annual maintenance during May – Jul 19. In addition to antifouling there are a few jobs that need doing: the most pressing is replacing two seized sea cocks one of which is the engine cooling water inlet and the other the outlet for the heads. All brightwork will also be sanded down and varnished with several coats of Epifanes.
One the way back from Beaulieu the Speed Log stopped working and I couldn’t clear it by rotating it in it’s housing. A quick swim – the sea temperature is currently around 21C – revealed that it was jammed.
Once removed it became apparent that one of the threaded pins that form a spindle for the rotating paddle had become bent to about 20 degrees from true. I can only think that I sailed over something that resulted in enough of a knock to the paddle to bend the pin. It’s now straightened and reassembled, so with luck it’ll be fully functioning for the next outing.
The outbound sail was most probably one of the most challenging with the wind boxing the compass almost twice in the space of 4 hours! For a sublime quarter of an hour there was a Northerly Force 4, allowing a direct course to be set for Beaulieu. The remainder of the afternoon was spent getting the most out of the wind shifts and dodging commercial traffic leaving Southampton water.
The lower reaches of the Beaulieu River were busy with other visiting yachts (it was the first day of Cowes Week) which made for an interesting trip up river as I looked for a vacant berth above Needs Ore Point.
The view from the mooring – most of the visible yachts were occupied:
A very still evening and amazing sunset. The ‘bull rope’ from the end of the bowsprit works wonders in keeping the mooring buoy away form the hull and ensuring a quiet night’s sleep:
Leaving Beaulieu on Sunday morning. Light Easterly winds to start with which meant tacking all the way home (and trying to keep out of the way of Cowes Week racing!).
Finally, a windy day! Left Portsmouth at 1100 and motored to Gilkicker Point. There was a good SW breeze, so the first reef went in the main. Then the wind began to falter and I considered shaking out the reef, but by 1400 the wind was well established and by Cowes it was up to Force 5 (17 – 21 knots). Short, steep seas (the tide was ebbing so wind over tide) made for a lively sail, but Chione handled well with only the odd burst of spray over the deck. The highest gust noted on the anemometer was 26 knots – towards the top end of Force 6. A good close-hauled port tack got me into Stanswood Bay before tacking towards Gurnard. By now the tide was ebbing hard and three more tacks got me to the starting platform at the entrance to the Lymington River.
Motoring into Lymington:
Looking down river with the Isle of Wight in the distance:
Moored in Lymington Yacht Haven – one of my favourite marinas to visit, although expensive!
Lymington main street at night:
1 Aug – Leaving the Yacht Haven at 0830. A glorious morning and quiet on the water. Not much wind!
The grey gaffer is Hester – OGA No 2978, designed by Roger Dongray. A great looking gaffer!
Looking across the Solent to Yarmouth. Yachts moored on the left are at the entrance to Pylewell Lake. I like the way the navigation marks draw the eye across the Solent:
Another day of light and variable wind, so drifted and sailed up the Solent, arriving back in Portsmouth Harbour at about 1400. The following photo is taken from the Small Boat Channel looking across at Spice Island and the Still and West public houses. Gunwharf Quays (formerly HMS Vernon) is to the far left:
Sunday 22 July started, like many recent sails, with little wind. However, by early afternoon there was a good SW breeze and Chione T was in her element. My brother had joined me for the day and we enjoyed good sailing.
Once back in Portsmouth Harbour we managed to sail to the marina under bare poles. Some yachts I’ve owned have been less inclined to do this, so it was good to find that Chione T will and it allowed plenty of time to pack sails and get lines and fenders on before arriving alongside.
Portsmouth Harbour and Spinnaker Tower:
My Brother at the helm:
Portsmouth Harbour Entrance and the Isle of Wight ferry: