Report on Skippers Refresher 2021

The BTOSC Skippers Refresher is an annual event to which club skippers are invited to refresh skills. This has never been more relevant than after the disruption caused by the Pandemic. To this end, and to avoid having all skippers on the same yacht at the same time, the BTOSC committee agreed on a 5 day charter with a RYA YMI on hand for one of those days to help put us through our paces.

We assembled early (12:00) on the Monday at Hamble Point, hoping to pick up our vessel (Blue Otter) up with minimum delay. However, the fates conspired against us and it was after 16:00 when we finally slipped from the pontoon. Our aim for the day was to refresh ourselves on boat maneuvering under power including:

  • Standard mooring and departures from pontoons
  • Springing off
  • Perpendicular Parallel Parking (aka ferry gliding into a restricted berth)
  • General reversing practice
  • Reversing into berths

Blue Otter

The second day we had a YMI join us to further stretch / polish our skills. He provides some new insight into turning in restricted conditions and more importantly he also taught us all a new method for MOB pickup under sail and engine. This is really a “sailing skills” exercise which looks very much like MOB practice. The advantage of this new method is that it seemed to be simpler to remember and explain and the results appear to be more repeatable. Time will tell on this but our initial impressions were universally very favourable.

A moment to relax near NewTown Creek

Day 3 saw us investigate Bembridge as the tides were suitable. The afternoon found us saw us anchoring in Osborne Bay. This revealed an unwelcome tendency for Blue Otter’s anchor chain to “back up” and jam the windlass. At the end of the day, we said goodbye to Ian and hello to Colin. This evening was the only real opportunity for a night sailing exercise which we conducted up Southampton Water where we moored and ate (on board of course!) at Marchwood SC pontoon while waiting for darkness to fall. Lots of tug activity with a Container Ship, Disney Magic and views of the Queen Elizabeth moored at Southampton Docks.

Disney Magic
Queen Elizabeth

The night sail itself was a straightforward passage back to our berth at Hamble Point. Something most if not all of us have done several times before. It never ceases to amaze me how even the biggest ships can somehow manage to hide themselves even when they are directly ahead down a waterway such as Southampton Water. There is plenty of room of course, but it can still come as a surprise when the mysterious shadow morphs into a massive ship quietly making its way up to the docks.

Day 4 and 5, which was a half day, was an opportunity to demonstrate and then practice the “sailing skills” exercises with Colin.

Overall we all had a great week! It was excellent to return to the water after a year away from it, and honing and learning new approaches to our skill set.

About us

The BTOSC is a small and long-established sailing club.

  • We are always on the look out for new members.
  • All ages welcome – 18 to 80 !
  • We organise a programme of sailing events every year.
  • We communicate with our membership by email.
  • The majority of our events start and finish in the Solent and we organise cruises elsewhere too.
  • We have have a number of Approved Skippers – all of whom are experienced RYA qualified Yachmaster Offshore or Yachtmaster Coastal skippers.
  • We charter whatever yachts we need for our events.

To find out more about BTOSC and our Sailing Programme please explore the menu at the top of the page.    If you are interested in joining us please get in touch with our Membership Sec or any member of the committee through email, linkedIn our facebook group or use our Call button to request a call back.  When requested enter your Telephone number followed by Your Name and we will call you back.

Current Status.  We held our AGM on 15 May.  The first sailing event was an extended Skippers Refresher event in June and whilst waiting for restrictions to be lifted some of our members have got together for private charters within the ‘rules’.

We have a sailing programme for the rest of 2021. The first such event will be Weekend 6-8 August. The second will be our annual BBQ weekend Cruise 17-19 September.   We are also considering adding other events subject to demand.

Note that for the BBQ Weekend and for the Xmas Jolly, at least one yacht will have one or two additional days on the water.

BTOSC Sailing Programme for 2021

Our first events of the year will be:

Page Updated 29 JUL 2021

Report on Christmas Jolly 2019

The BTOSC Christmas is a annual event that combines some winter sailing with a informal  seasonally themed sit-down meal at a restaurant close to where we have moored.   In previous years the meal has been booked at the Folly in Cowes,  the Red Duster Cowes, the Ship in Lymington and SeaShells in Hythe.  This event often delivers some enjoyable sailing.

We had two yachts out for this event and were joined for our Christmas Dinner by one or two members who traveled separately. This report is from Viola. Sea Essay was the second yacht. Viola slipped on the Friday for an uneventful evening passage to Cowes. We moored in Cowes Yacht Haven for the night.

The forecast promised some good sailing albeit with the possibility of showers that didn’t trouble us.

Next day, our initial focus was a bouy’s challenge which took us out towards the Eastern Solent before our planned meet up / dinner with the crew on Sea Essay later in the day.

Rounding our most easterly buoy
Fawley Powerstation being dismantled

The last bouy we targetted was the red PHM at the North end of Southampton Docks near Elling Mill.

After which our passage was blocked while a huge container ship was turned with the aid of tugs near Marchwood….

Ian Davis Skippering

We then locked in at Hythe Marina and managed to secure a berth near Sea Essay.

Sea Essay in Hythe

Sea Essay from Viola

If I recall correctly we won the Bouy’s Challenge and the crew on Sea Essay won the Quiz. Many thanks to Mick for organising both of these these and the event overall.

Dinner that night was at a restaurant the village. This was followed by ‘afters’ : Cheese, Biscuits and some refreshments back on Sea Essay as the larger of the two yacht.

Sea Shells Restaurant
Sea Essay preparing to slip from Hythe Marina

Sunday

 

On Sunday, we had a leisurely sail back to Hamble where we explored up the river before refueling and and clearing the boat by about 4PM.

Report on a passage to Southsea Marina (2019)

The BBQ Weekend is one of the highlights of the BTOSC Sailing Programme. In Sep, for the first time, we chartered both Sea Essay and Freyja from Channel Sailing Division and East Coast Division of the CSSA as well Viola from Hamble Point Yacht Charters.

Freyja was chartered for 3 days from 1200 Thursday 13 Sep until 1800 on the Sunday. We took her over at Hornet Services Sailing Club. The outline itinerary for the event was:

Thurs PM: Hornet to Southsea Marina (Langstone Harbour)

Fri: Passage to Newtown River, Cowes or Beaulieu

Sat: Passage to Lymington for Annual BTOSC BBQ

Sun: Return passage to Hornet

This report covers Thurs 12 Sep – our passage to Southsea Marina.

Before embarking on the 8NM passage to Southsea Marina in Langstone Harbour we took the opportunity to do some boat handling practice north of Burrow Island in Portsmouth Harbour itself.

Continue reading Report on a passage to Southsea Marina (2019)

Membership benefits

The benefits of BTOSC membership are:-

  • A varied programme of events every year
  • Cruising, racing and training events at a sensible price
  • A non-profit organization with low overheads
  • The club underwrites the security deposit for charters for club events
  • Opportunities for aspiring skippers to become Club Skippers 
  • Members may also be able to benefit from discounts provided by charter companies we deal with 
  • We have a website available to all and occasional newsletters to members
  • We offer the members the opportunity to organise club events
  • Increase the network of other sailors they have access to

Report on BTOSC Spring Rally & AGM Weekend (2019)

We had three yachts out for our Spring Rally weekend (3rd Event of the year). Once again one yacht (Freyja) was pre-booked for an extended weekend based out of Hornet SSC. The other two, Apaloosa and Viola, were chartered from Hamble Point Yacht Charters. Several members also joined the AGM and meal on foot.

All yachts converged on the central Solent on Saturday evening for our AGM, prize giving and an excellent rally supper at Hornet.

We had some rain on the Friday and Sunday but otherwise the weather was mainly mild and warm with light winds.

Moorings at Itchenor

For the record, Frejya”s 3.5 day itinerary was as follows:

  • Thurs PM: Portshouth Harbour (Hornet SSC) to Itchenor (Chichester Hbr). Excellent meal at the Ship
  • Fri: Itchenor to Hornet then to The Folly Inn (Cowes)
  • Sat: Cowes to Bembridge. 3 hrs ashore then to Hornet
  • Sun: Hornet to Langstone Harbour then back to Hornet
  • Overall Mileage 75 nm
  • Wind Max 21 kts  


Report on Skippers Refresher (2019)

Six club skippers, MG, NW, JS, CJ, ID & RD, descended on Hamble on 22 Mar 2019 for the Annual BTOSC Skipper”s Refresher.

Friday: An 18.30 briefing followed by a night passage from Hamble to East Cowes with each skipper taking turns different sections of the passage provided good material for later discussion and feedback. Discussions on a variety of skippering topics followed. Sharing of lessons learned and generally putting the world to rights over supper: Pasta bolognaise, garlic bread and the obligatory cheese board.

Saturday: Boat handling on Medina River in tidal conditions in and around East Cowes and at the Training pontoon near the Folly. Lunch – Beaulieu. Overnight at Lymington Yacht Haven. Reacquainted ourselves with the Ship.

This bookable BBQ Area found in Lymington Yacht Haven could prove useful

Sunday: Lymington BBQ Area Reconnaissance. Man-over-board techniques off Beaulieu. Lunch anchored off Calshot.


Lunch anchored in 3 m with Luttrells Tower in line with Fawley Chimney.

FYI – This tower which sleeps 4 and can be booked is owned by the Landmark trust. For further into see:
https://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/luttrells-tower-11322#Overview

Report on Xmas Jolly (2018)

I am sure that just thinking about the Christmas Jolly makes some people shudder. However, once again we were not disappointed either by the weather or the level of enthusiasm and support from members.

We chartered three yachts for this event. Appaloosa was booked for the weekend. Sea Essay for the Fri, Sat and Sun and Viola for Sat, Sun and Monday. Our pre-booked Christmas meal was on the Sat night in Hythe.

Continue reading Report on Xmas Jolly (2018)

Report on Channel Islands Adventure (2018)

This Channel Island Adventure was in May 2018

Outbound Passage

We gathered on Sea Essay moored in Mercury Marina during the Friday afternoon/evening, but with the Hurst Tidal Gate open 22:00 – 02:00, or 10:00 – 14:00 on the Saturday, an evening meal ashore and early departure was the preferred option.  After an excellent breakfast of the hoof we made Hurst by 10:30 and then turned leftish by Fairway Buoy for Guernsey on a good downwind sail. Roy D had done the detailed navigation planning and routing via Casquets Light then South of Guernsey was preferred as arrival was expected to be in darkness.

After an on-board meal of boiled gammon, new potatoes & green beans we approached “Watch Time”. However at 22:00 an Imminent 40+kt wind warning with hail made us rethink. Roy D  stayed up for both watches as did Mike G. For safety and comfort we motored the rest of the way to St Peter Port. The crew that actually did sleep reported the engine noise was soothing.

St Peter Port – Guernsey

In the event neither 40+kt winds nor hail put in an appearance and we approached St Peter Port from the South just before 06:00. We moored at the Visitors Waiting Pontoon awaiting the HM instructions, then rafting alongside a very large, very green, carbon fibre shrouds, and unknown manufacturer German yacht! Made sure we did not hit it!!

At low tide we marveled at the height of the reinforced Victoria Marina sill.

The rest of the day was spent at leisure (or sleeping). We replenished some victuals as Alderney was expected to be closed on the Bank Holiday and then ate ashore with a wonderful view over Victoria Marina.

Passage to Alderney

Monday saw another early departure along Little Russel towards Alderney. Circumnavigating anticlockwise we made Braye with a 4kt tide trying to make us miss the entrance. While moored to one of

the many visitor buoys we asked the question “Is this number 19 or 61?” as both appeared to be marked on it.  We went ashore by water taxi (operated by an antipodean) and sampled the atmosphere of the Alderney Performing Arts Festival followed by a walk inland via an old Northern Line Train, a different Post Box and some

liquid refreshment in St Anne. Returning to the boat we ate again on-board trying to reduce the hoard of on-board food.

Passage to Poole

We had yet another early departure Tuesday morning, heading for Poole. We played an interesting game of miss the TSS traffic – lots of red flashing AIS targets but no near misses. During the passage the strong West going tide made us consider Weymouth as an option for the evening but this was discounted after the re-calculated Poole ETA was well before Closing Time. At Poole we had a very good Thai meal with accompanying beverages.

Sea Essay at Poole Quay Yacht Haven

Pool to Yarmouth

The penultimate day saw some reduced visibility for the trip to Yarmouth via Poole Bay, the North Chanel and Hurst Narrows. The whole crew opted for a final meal ashore rather than the emergency meal which lives to see another sail/day. From Yarmouth we sailed East up the West Solent with a light wind behind us. This gave us some gybing practise – some of it planned.

Yarmouth to Hamble

On the last leg, going North from Cowes to the West of the Bramble Bank, the topside crew saw a very large container ship in Southampton Water. Not completely sure if it was “coming” or “going”, we inquired of the below navigation people what it was doing. “No vessel there” came the reply. Again we asked the question because the Mark One Eye-Ball surely wasn’t mistaken. Again came the reply “No vessel there”. After one further round of this humorous exchange the topside crew went below to change the range setting of the plotter/AIS to reveal a large Red Flashing target. A lesson for all of us when using AIS.

We reached Mercury Marina shortly after this and prepared the yacht for the next incoming crew. Overall this was a very enjoyable cruise; many thanks to all the crew, especially Roy D.

Many thanks to the Skipper, Mike Griffiths for this report.

Crew: Roy Demery; Roy Cullers; Nigel Wiltshire; Jonathan Peters; Phil Edwards

Report on Spring Rally / AGM Weekend (2018)

The BTOSC Spring Rally is an annual event during which we also hold our AGM.  In May 2017 we offered members a three-day charter on one of the yachts.  Following on from the success of that, this year (2018) the plan was for at least 2 yachts to be chartered for 3 days.   In another change from arrangements in previous years we chose Hornet Services Sailing Club as a venue for the AGM meeting and dinner. Continue reading Report on Spring Rally / AGM Weekend (2018)

Report on Skippers’ Refresher (2018)

The original plan to hold the Skippers’  Refesher in March had to be cancelled due to forecast gales and blizzard conditions.

Not wishing to be beaten we re-convened a month or so later on a Atlas a Halberg Rassy 34 chartered out of Hornet.

As usual, the objectives were to dust off the cobwebs after the winter; practice essential skippering skills such as mooring, boat handling and MOB.  Here we are successfully lassoing a buoy in the confines of Portsmouth Harbour before sailing to Chichester Harbour and Northney Marina where the last leg requires a precision approach to avoid shallows either side of the narrow approach channel.

Next morning we explored the area around the  marina and discovered a BBQ area that could perhaps be useful in future years.  We then practiced boat handling skills and tested out a number of short-handed berthing techniques that did not lend themselves to photographs before exploring other areas of the harbour.

First stop was a visit to the Emsworth Visitors pontoon which was quickly followed by an opportunity to calibrate our very erratic depth gauge over a gentle but unplanned lunch stop while we waited for the flood tide to work its magic.  We then took the opportunity to familiarise ourselves with visitor moorings at Itchenor before heading back to Portsmouth.

Over the weekend we were also able to share a number of experiences and ideas and to familiarize each other with a number of less frequently visited moorings, anchorages and marinas.

We were also able to get the lie of the land at Hornet Services Sailing Club where we would be berthed during the AGM Spring Rally.

Many thanks to all the skippers who could make this rescheduled event.  It was a most worthwhile weekend.

James Savage

Chairman BTOSC

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Report on Round the Island Race (2017)

The annual Round the Island Race took place over the weekend. The BTOSC entry was Fleur de lis chartered from Fairview Sailing.

The event was skippered by Les Nicholls. The crew comprised James, Andrew, John, Mike Steve, Kevin M and Kevin S.
The weather forecast was NW3/4 and we had an early start.

It was a very different race to last year although  no-less exhausting for some reason.

We finished with an Elapsed Time of 09:34:22 and a Corrected Time of 09:23:27.

We did very well in comparison to the other yachts in Fairview’s matched fleet coming 3rd out of 16 that were entered.  C’EST SI BON was the fastest Fairview yacht finishing only 5 minutes before us.

Within our Class 6B we were 8th out of 29; within ISC Group 6 we were 38th out of 101 and out of all ISC rated yachts we were 309 out of 611 finishers, +38 RTD etc = 649 all told.

 

John Kelly (tactician) has now analyzed our performance.  He reports that:

  • We made a good start, along with the other leading 6B boats.
  • Start to Needles was a reach. We all took similar tracks keeping midstream in the west flowing tide, so I guess the 4 min advantage that C’EST SI BON had on us at the Needles was down to boat speed. We had a similar advantage on MINTAKA. It’s not worth trying to compare with different boats types on a single point of sailing.
  • Needles to St Cats was a broad reach/run – cruising chute deployed by all. Some like us kept in for the decreased tide, and some went straight and deep. I can’t see a clear advantage either way looking at the tracks. But what worked well for C’EST SI BON, 15 mins faster than us on the leg, was a hybrid, going wide initially (to get clear wind?), and in close after Atheridge Ledge to get the back eddy in the tide. (I’d love to know if they managed to get their cruising chute flying when going downwind, and, if so, how).
  • St Cats to Bembridge Ledge cardinal was a fine reach (genoa, not chute). We all took similar tracks, and there were just small differences in leg time.
  • Bembridge to finish was a beat into the tide. We did well, making up a lot of the 20 min advantage that C’EST SI BON had at the cardinal mark. We stayed in close to shallow water around Ryde and onward, but not aggressively so, preferring to minimise tacks.
  • C’EST SI BON, along with HADAWAY, went across the channel to cheat the tide on the mainland side. 4th place HADAWAY was nearly up with 2nd place DODGER at Bembridge, but lost about 10 mins on the beat. So this didn’t work for either of them

 

BTOSC runs sailing events throughout the year

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