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Skipper’s Refresher 2024

This Skipper Refresher was held on CSSA yacht Sea Essay 2-5 April 2024.    This annual event was organised by Mike and the training co-ordinated by Les.  This year we also got in some Sea Time and sailed in some lively conditions under third reef whilst also covering the usual such as Man Overboard recovery techniques and boat handling skills.   One skipper found time for some relaxation during a few moments of sunshine.

Places visited included Hamble Point, Portsmouth Harbour,  Gosport, Cowes, Shamrock Quay and Netley.  We also took time to practice night navigation skills in and around the port of Southampton.

Report from Trafalgar Weekend 2023

James Savage reports that the recent Trafalgar weekend cruise was a success. We had one yacht on the water, some sunshine on the water and enough wind to play with. Crew included one returning member and one new member.


  • Fri: We assembled in Hamble and ate on board
  • Sat: Adverse tide initially so did boat handling and ferry gliding in Hamble river
    • Sailed Hamble to Cowes
    • Motored up to the Folly and anchored for lunch
    • Sailed to Yarmouth on the tide
    • Stern-to mooring in Yarmouth
    • Fish and chip supper eaten on board (From the Blue Crab on the High St)
  • Sun: A prompt departure to catch the last of the tide
    • Sailed from Yarmouth to Southampton Water
    • Anchored near Netley for Lunch
    • Netley to Hamble
    • Negotiated alternative berth at Hamble Point due to unfavourable tidal conditions

We used Settleup for sharing/managing our on-boat expenses (food, moorings and fuel) which came to £168 in total for this event.

Photos and video:

Glorious blue sky on the Hamble for the start of the Trafalgar Weekend
Moored stern-to in Yarmouth
Lunch stop near Netley on Southampton Water
Ferry Gliding in the Hamble
Yarmouth was rammed – Rafting 3-4 yachts deep
Whatsapp Video
Whatsapp Video

Report on BBQ W/E – Sep 2023

We had 3 yachts on the water for this event. All three were from Hamble Point Yacht Charters. Eighteen members signed up for this event and one additional guest attended the BBQ.

  • Appaloosa skippered by Mike
  • Silencia was skippered by Colin
  • Aphrodite Spirit was skippered by Roy

Friday saw Appaloosa out on the water early – her crew having opted for an extended version of the weekend so they could enjoy an extra day’s sailing. The other two crews assembled at Hamble Point on the Friday evening and enjoyed an excellent group meal at Thaiger, a restaurant in Hamble-le-Rice.

We woke on Saturday to glorious sunshine but no wind. High water was around midday so we all had a leisurely start. Silencia’s departure was also delayed by a fault with the yachts water pump. With that fixed we departed for Lymington. The only wind that day was that generated by our movement through the water.

Once secure in Lymington we were allocated berths together in an area close to the fuel pump. Attention then switched to preparing the BBQ; once again meticulously planned by Mike. This included an impromptu flying display by a bird of prey that was being exercised in the carpark.

The sausages, beef burgers and kebabs were beautifully cooked by Mike and Andy and the weather remained kind throughout the evening.

After the BBQ, we retired to Appoloosa which became the party boat.

Sunday was a different kettle of fish. The weather started -off ok but strong winds and rain were forecast. Thankfully we had a favourable tide. Suffice to say all predictions were correct.

On Silencia we sailed with 2 reefs in the main and a genny shorter than that. We initially saw winds F5 but this soon increased to F6 with torrential rain and confused seas and very poor visibility at times.

Understandably this got in the way of lunch so we opted to head straight back into the Hamble, refuelled and we then enjoy a relaxing lunch on a pontoon at Hamble Point. By that time the storm had passed and calm had returned to the Solent.

On Silencia – James, Sue, Peter, Colin (Skipper) and Jane. +Kevin who took the photo

All in all, despite the excitable conditions, the general consensus, on Silencia at least, was that we all had a good weekend.

Later analysis from Bramblemet and Chimet confirmed our observations:

More photos to follow

BTOSC 2023 Sailing Programme

Hi all,

March will soon be here so it must be time to start making plans for sailing!

The programme for 2023 is now published. For more information about the club, please contact any committee member or make use of the call back function on our home page.

The events do need to be planned well in advance in order to secure boats and skippers so if you If you would like to participate, please contact the Event Manager shown on the programme as soon as possible & copy the BTOSC crew bureau at

If you are interested in sailing in an area which is not included in the programme, please get in touch and we will see if we can include an event. Similarly if you are interested in an event where the dates are shown as tbc, please get in touch to register your interest. We will try to and organise the event at a date to suit.

As you are aware, the club is run and events are organised by a group of volunteers. We would really like to encourage club members to join the Committee to bring fresh ideas and to help run the club. Please contact myself or any other Committee member if this is something you could help with, as your assistance would be very much appreciated! Meetings are held approximately once a month via Zoom, so no travel is involved. 

We look forward to seeing you on the water.

Best Regards


Hazel Bagnall

BTOSC Cruising Secretary

Report on 2022 BTOSC Christmas Jolly

The Christmas Jolly is one of the BTOSC events that makes the club what it is. This year we had three skippers and 13 crew out on Sea Essay, Blue Otter and Appaloosa. Two of these yachts were chartered for longer than the weekend which provided members with an extra day or so on the water.

The crew for Sea Essay assembled on Thurs 1 Dec. We elected to eat out each evening. Our weekend comprised four passages:

  • 1 Dec – Hamble to Ocean Village Marina Southampton (10NM F3). Excellent dinner at Ennios restaurant near Town Quay.
  • 2 Dec – Ocean Village to Sparkes Marina (Chichester Hbr) (23NM F3-5). We reefed once and then shook it out later. Accepted a berth on outside of ‘A’ Pontoon at the entrance to marina which was a mistake because there is room inside and in retrospect would have made for a quieter night. Very good meal at Hayling Island Sailing Club.
  • 3 Dec – Sparkes Marina to mooring near Beaulieu Sailing Club for lunch. Three crew practiced man overboard drill under engine between Osborne bay and Prince Consort. We moored at Gins Club House Pontoon for the night (21NM F4). Excellent Christmas Dinner in company of the other crews at Gins Club House.
  • 4 Dec – Gins Club to Hamble (15NM F5). This was an enjoyable beat until Calshot. Had lunch on the mid-river harbour master’s pontoon in the Hamble before returning to Mercury Yacht Harbour.

Delighted with Sea Essay. She sailed very well. This was her last charter of her first season.

In total we 69NM logged over 4 days.

Three minute video on Yourtube

Some photos some of which appear in the video:

Day 1

Gas arriving
Tacking up Southampton Water
Hamble to Southampton

Day 2

Southampton to Chichester Harbour
Enjoying winter sailing with the best of company
‘A’ Pontoon at Sparkes Marina

Day 3

Chichester to Beaulieu River

Day 4

Report on the 2022 BBQ

Mikes BBQs are legendary. Not just for the weather but for the spicey fare. At least this is what we tend to advertise in the sailing programme.

This year, the BBQ was yet another success.

  • We had three yachts on the water of which One (Sea Essay) sailed for an extra day
  • 18 club members attended in all.
  • The BBQ was held on the Saturday night in the BBQ area at Lymington Yacht Haven
Pre-pre-drinks (drone shot)

For Sea Essay – BBQ Long weekend tracks, total=81Nm –

Mercury to Cowes, 8Nm -

Cowes to Portsmouth to Sparkes, Hayling Island, 21Nm –
Sparkes to Lymington, 29Nm -
Lymington to Osborne Bay to Mercury, Hamble, 23Nm -

Crew photos:

New and old
South Parade Pier
Inshore passage through the submerged barrier off Southsea Beach
Settled conditions forecast overnight
Berth A1 at Sparkes Marina

Report – Scottish Cruise 2022

Skipper: James Savage

POB: 5

Yacht: Hebridean Flame Charterer: Gas Sailing Association (GSA)

From: Dunsaffnage ( a few miles N of Oban) To: Dunstaffnage

Total Mileage Logged: 141 NM

21 July 2022

  • Took over yacht at 1600 hrs.
  • Checked inventory and stowed victuals.
  • Slipped from pontoon for a brief sea trial to check-out the yacht and familiarise crew with berthing the yacht
  • Evening meal prepared and eaten on-board

22 July 2022

  • From Dunstaffnage to Tobermory
  • Quick recce of moorings in Lock Aline in case required later in week.
  • Lunch on the go
  • Plenty of room on pontoons at Tobermory
  • Good facilities
  • Explored ashore. Walked to lighthouse.
  • Evening Meal – Pre-booked reservation at Cafe Fish – Excellent meal

23 July 2022

  • Excellent sail from Tobermory towards Loch Sunart
  • Recce of Loch Drumbuie in case needed later – Anchored for 11’s
  • Wind Easterly F5-F6 so hard going. Had to improvise a Reef #3.
  • Late lunch on arrival at Salen jetty. Berthing manager initially not entirely happy we were there due to strong winds and pontoon movement
  • Good facilities including small shop.
  • Lots of walks ashore.
  • Evening meal prepared and eaten on-board

24 July 2022

  • From Salen Jetty towards Glendale Bay
  • Anchored near Puffin Bay for 11’s
  • Anchored in Salean Mor for lunch. Looked tiny but plenty of room once inside.
  • Recce of Glandale Bay – Moorings not in use. Didn’t seem appealing.
  • Decided to press on to Kilchoan Bay
  • Lost boat hook overboard while mooring. Recovered using a lasoo.
  • Pickup buoys found not connect to a more substantial mooring warp.
  • Visitors mooring. Lots of rain and strong winds overnight.
  • Evening meal prepared and eaten on-board

25 July 2022

  • Morning sail from Kilchoan Bay to Tobermory Wind N F6 Gusting F7
  • Remained in Tobermory overnight
  • Opportunity to further explore Tobermory
  • Evening meal ashore at the Misnish Restaurant – Excellent

26 July 2022

  • From Tobermory to Treshnish Islands (Lunga) to see puffins
  • then to Staffa to see Fingles Cave
  • then through Sound of Iona to recce Bull Hole
  • then through steamer passage to Tinkers hole for overnight anchorage
  • Erected the enclosed cockpit canopy to eat on deck. No midges.
  • Evening meal prepared and eaten on board

27 July 2022

  • From Tinkers Hole (Ross of Mull) to Puilladobhrain for lunch
  • then to Loch DonOban
  • then to Oban Kerrera marina to refuel £61 Diesel
  • then to Oban Transit marina for an overnight berth
  • Evening meal – Fish and Chips from town

28 July 2022

  • From Oban to Dunstaffnage
  • Removed Genoa and replaced with spare
  • Repaired saloon headlining that was coming away
  • Cleaned and prepared yacht for handover


BTOSC is a sailing club with historical links with the telecoms industry.  

  • 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  
  • Our skippers are experienced, RYA qualified, Yachtmaster 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 or our facebook group.

Current Status.  We are operating normally and our sailing programme for 2022 has been published.  

The first sailing event is a Skippers Refresher (11-13 March).  The Boat Handling event was over-subscribed.  The west country cruise is coming together and other events are coming together.

Yachts are likely to be in high demand this summer since more people will be holidaying in the UK so when we do announce an event please book early.

For the BBQ Weekend at least one yacht will once again enjoy some extra days on the water.  See reports on last years extended BBQ Weekend and the Trafalgar Weekend below.  The season ends with our Xmas Jolly and at least one yacht is likely to have an additional day on the water.  Please check your email and respond promptly to avoid disappointment.

Report from BTOSC Xmas Jolly 3-6 December 2021

On the morning of 3 December three skippers and their crews gathered at Hamble Point Marina for the Xmas Jolly. The majority of attendees had elected to attend for an extended event starting at 10.00 on the Friday and finishing at 4PM on the Monday.

Friday – Day 1

The outline plan on Appaloosa was to go with the tide so far as possible and to eat on board. We were on Springs so extremes were to be expected. Beaulieu was ruled out due to insufficient under keel clearance (UKC) at the bar. Instead we targeted New Town Creek.

Arriving at dusk we quickly verified the predicted lack of water. In fact it looked like someone had pulled out the plug.

There was plenty of water in the entrance but once we were in it was as if someone had taken out the plug.

View of New town Creek at LW Springs. Note the ‘island’ in the centre of the picture to the left of the buoys

Since it so calm and there was just about enough water, we anchored temporarily between the IDM and the nearby SHM and waited for the tide to rise while we cracked open some nibbles and started preparing supper. The intention being to move to a mooring in Clamekin Lake once the tide was on the rise.

It was cold in the cabin so we got the diesel heater going and then very quickly found that we needed to charge the batteries. Mmm, this was not a good omen.

In the meantime I seem to recall that Mick has rustled up an excellent meal of Lamb Shanks. Once we had enough water under keel we carefully snurged our way onto the mooring. After we eventually turned in we had a really peaceful night until (predictably!!) the battery alarm went off at 6.30 in the morning.

Saturday – Day 2

Luckily, it was only the domestic battery that was flat.

The objective on day 2 was simply to get to our dinner in Cowes on time. The sun soon came out and blue sky bode well for the day which continued to improve as the morning progressed. We had leisurely start and extricated ourselves from Newtown with little of the gravel on display.

We slipped our mooring before HW but

It was noticeable from the photos that there was very little shingle on view.
Wind over tide conditions approaching Gurnard

Then with the wind on our quarter, we enjoyed a good sail back up the Solent. We were moored in Cowes by 3PM and soon joined by the other yachts.

A Contessa Rally had also booked into West Cowes. They brought some festive lights and colour to the place.

Our group meal in the Red Duster was so good that I don’t think there are any photos. The menu certainly offered something for all tastes and plenty of variety. I have vague recollections of cheese and wine and maybe even a few tales from the high seas back on Appaloosa afterwards…

Sunday – Day 3

We had a late start. Plan was to undertake a short passage to Bucklers Hard in daylight and then to have a night sail on passage towards Southampton after dark.

Our initial objective was a lunch stop at Bucklers Hard followed by a possible night sail up to Ocean Village or Hythe later in the day. The sail across to the Beaulieu was a lively and energetic beat (F7 / G8) and I will go so far as to admit that it was bitterly cold. But once we were in the River, the Beaulieu was as delightful as ever. A relaxing lunch was had on the visitors pontoon at Beaulieu while a shower came through. We were all still up for a night sail but decided that Cowes would be a more suitable berth for the night and would give us more time to enjoy a meal of pasta and meatballs on board. As night sails go, this was a dark one. Most of the posts could only be observed as silhouettes against the cloudy night sky on a few occasions the silhouette of the top-marks were vital clues. We had some excellent teamwork spotting and identifying each of the unlit posts on the river as well as all the other obstacles. The tide was flooding and the wind speed had all but died so it wasn’t as cold as it could have been and it wasn’t long before we were once again alongside in West Cowes.

Monday – Day 4

Forecast for Day 2 Saturday 4 December:

Our plan for the day was to be back in Hamble to drop off one crew by 11 AM. The

We slipped from West Cowes Marina with southerly winds. These soon became westerly and then strengthened quickly to 30+ kts as we entered Southampton Water.

Our sole objective was to return to Hamble where we had an appointment to refuel the yacht. We slipped promptly behind Viola who had also returned to Cowes and had an enjoyable sail back to Hamble. The weather was about to break as we entered the Hamble so we expedited our return and were able to bring forward our refuelling booking although we did get a little wet in the process.

All in all this was yet another successful Christmas Jolly. A thoroughly enjoyable weekend of winter sailing with good food, a little wine and excellent company. Many thanks to Mick Curran, Hazel Bagnell, skippers and crews for organising, delivering and supporting what was yet another successful event for the club. I don’t recommend chartering Appaloosa again until we are sure the Domestic batteries have been replaced.

James Savage


Report on Trafalgar W/E 15-17 Oct 2021

We chartered Sea Essay – for this weekend. We sailed with 6 POB one of whom was a new member. The outline plan was to eat ashore at the Waters Edge on the Friday evening, slip on the Saturday morning and sail across to Cowes (Shepards Marina) for an opportunity to explore the town and lunch on the pontoon before going east with the tides for the rest of the day. This worked well as the skipper and all of the crew had all recently sailed in the western Solent on a separate event.

First stop, before cowes, was a familiarization recce of the mooring field near the jetty at Calshot. The Fawley Chimney might well be history by the time you read this.

Port Solent was selected as our target for the Saturday evening. It has been many years since BTOSC has chartered from there so this was an opportunity to re-familiarise ourselves with what it has to offer.

Photo bombed by a hot air balloon flying from Bembridge area towards Hayling Island or Havant

We booked a table at La Casa Flamenca rather than leaving the evening meal to chance. As it turned out we were secure along side in Port Solent by 17.30.

We ate well ashore and returned to Sea Essay for the cheese course – of course.

Next day, early risers were treated to a beautiful sunrise. Breakfast menu was scrambled eggs, fruit and yogurt. At 0950 we eased ourselves out of our berth on a long bow spring and were then one of the first yachts out of the lock on free-flow.

With the tide still flooding and a light breeze building we took the opportunity to practice mooring under sail before leaving the harbour via the inner passage towards Gilkicker.

Off Gilkicker

Our return passage was originally envisaged as being via Hill Head. However, with gentle breeze from the West we decided to anchor for lunch at Osborne Bay and then once the pasties, salad, remaining eggs and cheese board had been consumed we made our way back to Hamble.

Our route during the two days

15 Oct 21 Hamble to Cowes 9NM Cowes to Port Solent 13.7NM  wind F2
16 Oct 21 Port Solent to Osborne Bay 10.1NM to Hamble 7.8 NM wind F3-F4

Report from BBQ Weekend – Sep 2021

For the record we chartered three yachts Gull, Aphrodite Spirit and Freyja of Orwell. Gull and Aphrodite Spirit were chartered for the weekend. Photos of the BBQ itself are at the bottom of this report.

This report from James who skippered the extended version of this event on Freyja a 38′ Najad. The outline plan was for 4 days on the water sailing out of Hornet Services Sailing Club in Gosport. In theory, and weather permitting, this provided enough time to get down to Poole and be back for the main event – our annual BBQ on the Saturday. We victualled for all but two evening meals to be eaten on board.

Outline Plan v Actual

Date Objective Remarks
15 Sep Shake down & Night Sail The Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Wooton Creek has long been on my list of places to stop for a meal and it was in a useful direction.  So time for some tidal planning: 

mmm Neeps….  Not a lot of height of Tide.   The water around the pontoon dries about 1.5-2m so it could be tight but should be OK.  HW at 1915 on the other hand is perfect.  And we will have the last of the daylight too.   This seemed like a plan.
Also in our favour was Freyja’s 1.6m keel.   So how did it go?

Well no plan survives first contact with the enemy.  In this case, it was competition from other yachts so our only option was to raft up against a smaller vessel.
We had 1.1m UKC on arrival at RVYC Pontoon in Wooton Creek at about 1845, saw nothing more at HW and we had 1.1 when we slipped.
Weds was Pie night so we all had an excellent meal of pies, chips and peas at the clubhouse. 

We then had a moonlit night sail down to Yarmouth where only option given was a mooring outside. 23 NM run (2 Night hours)
16 Sep Check out some anchorages, Recce of Brownsea Island, Get to Poole 0730 slipped mooring. Favourable tide all the way to St Albans Head and then on to recce anchorage at Chapmans Pool.
View of west side of the approach.
Ate lunch on the go as the tide turned. Moored in Studland mid afternoon then entered Poole Harbour. Used Wych Channel to approach anchorage at Pottery Pier on Brownsea Island. Minimum of 2m UKC.
Moored at Poole Quay Yacht Haven. Evening Meal eaten on board. 46.8 NM run
17 Sep Return to Solent Tides allowed a late start that in turn provided an opportunity to diagnose and fix some issues with the anchor winch. With those issues resolved we tried out a mooring at Brownsea Castle while waiting for the tide to turn.
We decided to target Beaulieu River as Chichester was too far. Ate lunch on the go. No pontoon berths offered so we selected an empty buoy just above Buckers Hard.

Tender used to get crew ashore. Evening meal eaten on board. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Mooring-on-Beaulieu-20210917_174110-1024x576.jpg 32.5 NM run
18 Sep Get to BBQ on time Early start for some who wanted a walk using the tender again to get us to Bucklers.
Slipped mooring at 1000hrs just before the top of the tide. First leg was to New Town Creek where we anchored for lunch.
Second leg of passage was to Lymington. Moored up by 1520 hrs.
BBQ was held in Lymington Yacht Haven – Food was excellent (thanks Mike) 14.6 NM run
19 Sep Return to Hornet by 1500 hrs 0830 Slipped lines. Shadowed a racing fleet up the Solent towards Cowes. Anchored off Lee on Solent for lunch. Used inside channel approaching Portsmouth. Moored up in Hornet by 1430 hrs.
18.6NM run. Total mileage logged: 135.5 NM

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 midweek 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 first half day day was to refresh ourselves on boat handling 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. He was tasked with stretching us and helping us refine our skills. He recommended that we should tighten-up on a few aspects of good practice, namely:

  • keeping lines tidy in the cockpit and off the floor
  • descending the companionway backwards, and
  • closing the cockpit hatch closed whenever any crew are forward

He recommended that if crew are sent forward, skippers should instruct them not to return of their own volition but wait for the evolution to complete and a signal to return. He also provided some new insight into turning in restricted conditions and he also taught us all a new method for MOB pickup under sail and engine. This was really a “sailing skills” exercise which looks very much like MOB practice. The advantage of this new method are that it is simple 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, this event was a great success. It was great to be back on the water after so long, honing our skills and learning new ones too.