Laying Up Cruise 2011 – Ian Davis reports

A new title for a club event but our usual sailing ground of the Solent was the venue. With all the crew having arrived by 17:30 our liberal minded skipper Andy “Genghis” Shrimpton thought it would be a good idea to have a night sail to Cowes on Vis, a Bavaria 36.Departing Hamble Point at 19:00 we set off into the expected dark, however our navigator was soon complaining about the number of lights which were interfering with his pilotage plan to visit all of the buoys in the shipping channel en route to Cowes.  We soon had our first blonde moment when someone asked what 4 vertical red lights indicated.  A swift response from Genghis was “a bloody chimney”.

 We soon found out it was POETs day in the Cowes marina as at 21:30 we could not raise anyone on VHF or mobile, so we sneaked in under the cover of darkness and found ourselves a berth.  This is a good idea as you can choose your berth and not suffer being allocated that impossible berth which all marina staff like watching you make a mess of.  In fact it was POETs day everywhere in Cowes as even the chippy was closed. So dinner was eaten sat on a window ledge in a dodgy kebab shop. Food all weekend was a bone of contention as I had forgotten the lettuce and was not allowed to forget it.

Saturday saw us awake in Cowes to sun and a southerly wind.  We chose to sail across to the Beaulieu River where we entered under sail and edged up the channel.  Here we decided to practice picking up a mooring buoy.  Afterwards we motored up to Bucklers Hard and then returned to the Solent edging out over the Beaulieu spit with the depth alarm sounding. Clearing the spit we sailed for Gosport with an approach to Wotton Creek built-in.  Blonde moment 2 occurred in Gosport when yours truly thought it would be a good idea to remove the spring line which was taking the strain against the pontoon. Dinner was in the Castle Inn.

Sunday started with a freshening wind as we set out from Gosport heading back to the central Solent and the Medina River where we planned to lunch out of the weather.  Leaving Portsmouth Harbour the wind was still from the South but very gusty and the sea was confused.  With 2 reefs in, the helmsman had some difficulty controlling the boat. We added a 3rd reef, changed the point of sail and had a much better ride into the Medina.  We motored up the river to East Cowes where we practiced some pontoon bashing and Andy demonstrated excellently ferry gliding. After lunch we set out back into the Solent for a final sail and our return to Hamble Point.   Around the Brambles Bank our 3rd blonde moment occurred when Ghengis got his left & right and port & starboard confused whilst throwing in some wind direction for good measure, regarding right of way. He is most definitely mellowing as his only comment was “good point” when his confusion was subtly pointed out.

Overall an enjoyable weekend, some good sailing and a lot of learning points thrown in, with some good weather for the last weekends sail before the Christmas Jolly.

Ian Davis

Crew: Andy Shrimpton, Ian Davis, Dave Fordham, Colin Ray, Dave Watson, and Peter Scott.