Pre-Chanuka sail

(Pre-)Chanukah Sail 2015

This year’s club sail for Chanukah actually took place on 6 December, erev-Chanukah, with storm Desmond doing its best to thwart the intrepid sailors from participating in their enjoyment.
The Met Office report covering 18h00 Saturday to 18h00 Sunday forecast south westerly winds 6 to gale 8, occasionally severe gale 9 at first, decreasing 4 or 5 later, sea state very rough, becoming moderate or rough, weather fair then occasional rain and drizzle, but with visibility being good, becoming moderate, occasionally poor. We decided to go anyway. David drove Sandy and Robert down to Gosport in splendid luxury, departing north west London just after 07h00 in the morning.

What is the worst that could happen? We could sit on David’s Hallberg Camena with the heater on and have our pre-Chanukah lunch without leaving the pontoon. The best that could happen is we got a sail.

In the event the wind was blowing around 25 kts when we got to the marina. David prepared the boat and we waited for a lull in the wind. It came. We left.

After a short motor into the shelter of Haslar to hoist the main under two reefs we decided to poke a nose out into the Solent and if it was too rough we would return and potter around Portsmouth Harbour. In the event we went out and didn’t come back in. It was windy as forecast, there was also rain in the air but not more than drizzle, of the wind-blown variety.

The tides were nearer neap than springs, so low water was around lunch time. Trying to get to Cowes was out of the question given the combination of adverse wind and adverse tide. A lunch-time low water prevented us from going to Wootton Creek to meet the Reeses for lunch so we set sail in the direction of Bembridge with the possibility, crew willing, to drop the anchor off Seaview, have lunch, the sail back. There was still quite a swell.

The Met Office forecast was right. Visibility was poor, in fact so bad that we could not even see the Isle of Wight. We didn’t hit the forts, but after about an hour decided not to anchor but to turn back. The wind had eased a bit to the high teens / low twenties instead of the mid-twenties.

We were back moored up at about 15h00 and had lunch. Sandy provided potato latkes, salmon sandwiches, and apple strudel, whilst Robert provided home-made bread and mulled wine. David provided Camena and the tea and coffee.

So, we sat in the warm, ate, drank and were merry, then packed up the boat and went home.

Another grand day out. This Chanukah sail really is exhilarating and the best part of it is that there are virtually no other sailing boats out. Mind you, with the visibility as it was would we have seen them?

Many thanks to all involved, Nigel and Barbara for doing lunch that, in the event, they can eat for the rest of the week – what, why don’t you like salt beef on Friday? You ate it cold on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday……., to David for driving us down and skippering Camena, and Sandy for providing the bulk of the refreshments to which the sailors had access!


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Portsmouth Tides