This year really started with the continuation of our replacement of the headlining concentrating on ALL the timber panels. This turned out to be a much greater and time consuming task than we originally thought but it had to be done as the saying goes “You only get One chance of a First Look”. Of course the cold weather didn’t help but fortunately the timber panels being removed were worked on under light, warm and dry conditions at home. And the number of Staples we used (6,000 plus) was unbelievable (see more in the Headlining section). By middle of March we had completed all 24 panels and had the remainder of the month to undertake all the remaining tasks required before launch. It was a rush and the failing of our ancient heater and storm force winds restricting bending on the sails (and organising the reefing lines back to the cockpit) didn’t help.
We were late in launching especially as our first YOSC sailing event was to Marchwood Sailing Club on the 11th April for a club dinner. More so as I had new club members on board for crew and I had to give the right impression. After a working “push” we were launched on the 7th and with just a few minor problems were ready for sea. “Minor” turned out to what could have been Disaster. We had a rather larger than expected (salt) water leak under the engine but was soon rectified and all was well. Our first passage was to Marchwood Sailing Club for dinner. On Saturday 1st May we sailed to Dan Bran at Lymington for dinner in the Lymington Town YC and splendid it was. Then on Sunday we planned to sail for an overnight anchorage in Studland Bay but the weather wasn’t too kind to us so we remained another day on Dan Bran settling for a walk around the Salt Marshes.
May 15th saw the “big” one. This was to be the YOSC Round Island Timed Rally (not a race) allowing any boat of any size the equal chance of winning. This year Guilford Cruising and Reading Offshore Sailing Clubs were invited to participate but only GCCC could forward a team. All told we had around 14 yachts participating and with only 2 retirements some 13 yachts moored on Harold Hayles pontoon in Yarmouth. Dinner and the presentations were held in the Royal Solent YC, dinner being rather exceptional.
Being an active member of YOSC and having a share in Adat I quite like to take on board crew with very little experience. This means I get all those questions that most of us have forgotten the answers to but this keeps me up to date and of course challenges the mind. Being a Novice they have seldom (if ever) taken the helm especially in difficult situations. To give them a “boost” I take just those who wish on Adat for “Training Days” where under controlled conditions I (safely) coach them to helm Adat in some of those awkward conditions that most of us never practise. Under motor alone they will undertake Man Overboard drill picking up a casualty (weighted fender) in various tidal conditions; Ferry gliding both forwards and reverse; Picking up a mooring buoy (to the side of the bow where the helm can see); Simple pontoon mooring; Anchoring (where possible) and anything else possible on the day. Of course I have to demonstrate all these manoeuvres first which means I have to be on my toes. Under sail they will Heave-to and learn a safe Gybe. I leave the very basic areas to their Day Skipper courses but those with more experience will undertake more advanced skills E.G.: Blind navigation or mooring “Med style” maybe even dropping the anchor on the run-in.
I normally join the YOSC Summer Cruise on Adat but this year our Sailing Calendar was not complete and at the time I was invited on board China Girl for this Cruise eventually to the Channel Islands. See more in the China Girl section. One big surprise was a boat mooring almost next to us in St Malo and when handing me their lines called me “Terry”. Now how did he know that? It was a friend way back from my passage on Moonlight. Of course we did a lot of walking mainly in Jersey and China Girl’s excellent Chef for the duration served up some exquisite meals.
Mid July with 3 up we joined 6 other YOSC yachts for a BBQ in Newtown Creek. Wind on the nose going and too little for sailing on our return albeit in the right direction. Never mind, the BBQ was excellent, held on the West bank (designated BBQ area) of the entrance and at a time when there was a rip tide exiting the Creek. Wow betold anyone who entered that tide as no outboard would have got them back for at least an hour. From the amount of initial smoke we all joined the “Burnt Sausage Club” and had a great time. The weather was dry and chilly and the company made up for anything missing. Rain overnight that didn’t effect us and clear blue sky for our return to Wicormarine but we had F7 winds pushing us off our mooring and all I can say is thank goodness for winches.
End of July we planned to cross the Channel for Cherbourg then on to the Channel Islands for a week giving one of our crew the opportunity to Skipper Adat both overnight and of course covering the minimum of 60 Nm (a qualifying passage for Yachtmaster Offshore) but with winds of 45 plus knots and another almost equally bad on its way it was cancelled and the week spent in the Solent area. Even the Americas Cup was cancelled disappointing many thousands. But we made the best of the unfortunate bad weather in the Solent visiting the Folly Inn (table dancing of course), Newport receiving long time guests who live locally not forgetting of course the oldest pub in town and another pub where my guest was demonstrating his ability with a Tenor Saxophone, Lymington (Dan Bran and a very good Crab Salad in the Mayflower), Shepards Wharf then generally sailing around in the East Solent and home to Wicormarine. Of course it was enjoyable even with the many high winds but we had the best views of the many “J” class racing in the area.
Its the end of August and we all start thinking of our Winter Refit, the mounting number of tasks and finance we have to manage but enough of that as I have the YOSC Western Promise to plan and once again Allun wishes to take on the responsibility of Skipper for the duration including vittling and cooking. This is getting to be a habit but one I am beginning to enjoy. Of course I would still have the ultimate responsibility but I would plan for Allun to take the first impact of any pressure before I intervene if required necessary. With almost no arrangements and a non existing passage plan I set to for the whole fleet of 2 boats. I incorporated all the different variations but nearer the time the weather played its part which meant we had to make some serious decisions on safety (once again). Also nearer the time one crew couldn’t recover from an illness in time so we were down to 3. We initially planned to visit Newtown Creek (outside) for an overnight anchorage, Bournemouth (anchor) to view the Air Show, Studland Bay or South Deep (anchor), Weymouth (2 days), possibly Lulworth Bay and Mupe Rocks, Lyme Regis, Portland, Cobbs Quay (RNLI College) and home to Wicormarine. In reality we anchored inside Newtown Creek for better shelter then on to Bournemouth Bay for the Air Show. We anchored right in the middle and up to the buoyed limits so no other vessel could interrupt our view. The best seats in the house. What a view we had and what an Air Show. It started with a fighter jet zooming from seaward at what seemed full throttle but not fast enough to break the sound barrier and just above our masts. It was absolutely fantastic with us sitting in the hot sun but as the day wore on it clouded and rain fell in the distance. The Avro Vulcan bomber was scheduled to display on Sunday but it came over us. What a sight it was and the roaring noise when she engaged her afterburners with her agility was so surprising. With such a fragile aircraft it was a surprise to see her using after burners but hey, it was her last flight. We were indeed privileged to see her last flight EVER and what a show it was especially for such a large aircraft. So much feeling by all watching was shown by the number of horns blasting when she finally departed. I almost shed a tear. Last show was the Eurofighter and again what a display. Even more so was the noise especially with after burn on. Without doubt, it was deafening. As the plane took its last turn the rain came and with gusto and we set off for another anchorage in South Deep, Poole for the night giving us better shelter than Studland Bay. It chucked it down but we saw the Poole fireworks albeit from a distance. Sunday morning with the latest Grib file we realised we had to make a dash all the way home and abort our last plan to overnight in Lymington. With 40 knot winds and heavy seas due I didn’t really feel safe until we moored at Wicormarine. Of note, since this event had to be aborted due to bad weather and my last trip on Adat likewise I wonder what the next event on Adat will bring?
Well after the last 2 planned trips on Adat were aborted due heavy seas, strong winds and much rain I wondered whether I would get another enjoyable trip in before the end of the season. It came near the end of September with a Training weekend for those who wished to learn or just practise those manoeuvres we very seldom undertake (probably due to some embarrassment should we fail in front of our crews). I took on board a Day Skipper, Comp Crew and another Skipper/Owner. On the first day they learnt how to pickup buoys, man-overboard, heaving-to with recovery and anchoring (in Osborne Bay for the night) most of which was accomplished. Since only the man-overboard practise wasn’t up to scratch, the following day I sneaked in some more and they all completed it to perfection. All in all with a fantastic sunny, dry and hot weekend and great company it proved to be yet another brilliant success especially when I pointed out that neither had used the Bow Thruster. They were very pleased with themselves and so they should.
The very end of September and a YOSC trip to Lymington in glorious sun but alas very little wind in the right direction. We had another reason for little sailing as this was the very first sail for a very nervous non-sailor so most was motoring with just a little motor-sailing. With an additional guest joining us at Lymington (Dan Bran) and the company of 7 yachts not forgetting the England Vs Wales rugby match, we all thoroughly enjoyed the weekend.
October now and dinner in the Master Builder at Beaulieu was the very last YOSC event of the year for me. With 6 on board again and plenty of wind, dry and sunny but not too warm we passaged to the Ferry pontoon. Lunch and drinks on board then a quick check of the restaurant (rugby on the TV again) with a couple of drinks and reserving the tables of some 20+ YOSC members from 9 yachts then back on board. A walk for some, showers for others then drinks and nibbles on the Marina pontoon for the whole party. Afterwards on to the restaurant for a very splendid meal and for some, the rugby.
November saw our most urgent task come to fruition. We called in the services of Webasto for the installation of a completely new Central Heating system and in a new location. See more in the “Modifications” section.