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.
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
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.