Category Archives: Crew Reports & Feedback

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.

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)

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

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

 

Report on Spring Rally / AGM Weekend (2017)

For the AGM weekend the weather and tides were favourable and we all enjoyed some good sailing and some healthy competition.

We chartered three yachts this year.  Rudeknot2, Empowered and Sea Essay.  Sea Essay was chartered for three days 11-14 May whilst the other two yachts were chartered for two.  On Sea Essay we had a brief passage to Cowes for the Thursday evening. On the Friday we had a passage to  explore Bembridge and Chichester before returning to Cowes.  On Saturday we  visited New Town Creek en-route to Yarmouth.  On the Sunday we returned to Hamble via Lymington and Bucklers Hard.  Our GPS track is shown below.

Just a quick reminder that our next event is the Round the Island Race.  The details for BTOSC crew are here.

Also for those who haven’t booked ahead, please make sure you have the BBQ weekend and Christmas Jolly in your diary and pay your deposits now.

Kind regards,

James Savage (Chairman)

 

Report on Xmas Jolly – Two Yachts to the Ship (2017)

The 2016 Christmas Jolly took place on the weekend of the 3rd/ 4th December, with Mike, Roy, Hazel, Chris and Roger onboard Appaloosa and James, Mick, Andy, Steve, Adele and Ed on Sea Essay heading to the Ship Inn in Lymington..

On the Friday afternoon most of the crew of Appaloosa met up at Hamble Point Marina and enjoyed a social evening in the Ketch Rigger joined briefly by Mick, the event manager, delivering a mainly cheese based quiz.

Saturday morning started cold and bright with a 15-20 knot easterly, Hazel arrived just in time to do the breakfast washing up, and fully crewed Appaloosa slipped from the marina and under full sail headed west for Lymington.

Sea Essay had spent the night in Mercury Yacht Harbour and inexplicably headed east along the Solent. Were they headed for Littlehampton, or was it a case of civil service chart failure? When pressed, a desire to make most use of the tide and visiting Osborne Bay were reasons offered.

On Appaloosa sailing downwind towards Lymington posed and answered a number of questions: main and jib faster than jib only- barely, goose winging faster than jib only-definitely, but much harder to helm.Ed20161203_145047

Picking up a buoy outside Yarmouth for lunch was abandoned due to the 30 knot wind and resultant swell, but a quick reef and a short battle with the tide bought us into Berthon Marina in Lymington. And as the sun set, we were joined by Sea Essay in an adjacent berth.

Mulled wine, cheese related questions and showers occupied the crews before we headed to the Ship for dinner.  A number of non-sailors, joined us for the festivities and having wined and dined well the evening finished with a port or two and a vast selection of cheeses on board Sea Essay.

After some early morning pontoon bashing courtesy of the frost and with all trousers located, we followed the IOW ferry back into the Solent. 35 knots of wind necessitated 3 reefs but with tidal assistance we tacked back to Hamble in a reasonable time.  Sea Essay saw a bit less wind for some reason but was back in Souhampton Water by 13.30 and dropped anchor for a leisurely lunch on deck in the sunshine near Netley before heading back to Mercury Marina.

Netley for Lunch 20161204_134800
A leisurely lunch in sunshine on Sea Essay

With great sailing, good food and company, it was, all in all a very enjoyable weekend. Thanks to Mike and James for skippering and Mick for the organization.

Roy D

BTOSC Sailors bring home Silver from Blue Cup (2015)

Congratulations to the BTOSC team (Skipper Mark Gaastra; Crew David Pettengale; Roy Cullers; Peter Kinsella; John Kelly) who returned from an enjoyable week (25 Oct – 2 Nov 2014) in Greece, well pleased with their racing results – overall 3rd in class, and a cup to prove it.

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The Blue Cup is organised by Vernicos Yachts, now a member of Dream Yacht Charters. The event involves some 50 boats racing from town to town down the Saronic, with meals and partying organised for us on 3 nights. A feature of the event is the large number of Norwegians who come annually, and take both the partying and the racing seriously (well, some take the racing seriously, some really appear to be there just for the partying).

The weather was not altogether kind – cool and grey quite a bit of the time (and in sharp contrast to the UK, which enjoyed record breaking high temperatures for the period). But in compensation, there were reasonable winds much of the time, with racing every day.

We were in a 40ft Beneteau Oceanis, racing in Class A Continue reading BTOSC Sailors bring home Silver from Blue Cup (2015)

Nigel and Mike Sail the Atlantic (2014)

Some of you already know that Nigel Watsham and myself are sailing the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to St Lucia, leaving 23rd November and getting to St Lucia mid December. This will be part of the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers (ARC) when 200+ yachts are taking part. We have a 42ft Beneteau 411 Celebration boat, with 6 people on board. We are hoping to make the crossing in 3 weeks.

If you are interested you can follow our progress using the Fleet Tracker on the World Cruising Club Web Site

http://www.worldcruising.com/arc/eventfleetviewer.aspx

When you visit  the above website, choose the ARC 2014 (Gran Canaria to St Lucia) option, and then find our boat, Reservoir Dogs, Cruising Division I, from the options on the lefthand side of the screen (click the Teams tab to see).

Nigel is also raising money for the Queen Elizabeth University hospital Birmingham and the British Liver Foundation. If you would like more information and/or to make a donation, please visit his Just Giving page at:

 http://www.justgiving.com/Nigel-Watsham

Trust you are all keeping well and hoping to see you in the New Year!

Regards,

Mike Griffiths

 

‘Poo Sticks’ – A report on the Round the Island Race (2014)

Here are some photos from the Round the Island Race on 21 June 2014.  When you click on one of these you should enter a carousel viewer.

How to register your interest in taking part in the RTI in 2015

Whilst there was ample sunshine and merriment one key ingredient was missing from the RTI this year – the wind. The BTOSC crew in Laita, retired shortly after Bembridge when it became clear that it would not be possible to finish within the time-limit. However, on the plus side we had a good opportunity to fly the Cruising Chute whilst drifting with the tide. It was rather like a game of Poo Sticks most of the time. Many thanks for all the good wishes we received prior to the event and special thanks to our Commodore Andy Shrimpton for coming down to support us.

James