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Winter Warmer or 'Gentlemen Never Sail Upwind!' - Solent November 2009

Updated: 17-11-2009

Report from David Blogg and Janet Blogg, aboard "Aphrodite's Spirit":

Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth

David Blogg, Janet (his mother) and friend Rip Hunter took a Beneteau Oceanis 323 from Hamble Point Yacht Charters at Port Hamble for a most enjoyable trip round the eastern end of the Solent on the weekend of Friday 6th to Sunday 8th November. Due to careful planning (and a bit of luck) we were able to use the elements to our advantage.

Taking advantage of the winter specials the crew assembled at 10.00 to complete the necessary formalities, which were conducted in the usual efficient manner by the charterer. Lunch was taken on board whilst still in the marina, followed by a short passage across to Sheppard’s Wharf Marina, Cowes, via the North Channel, in a cool F4 NW wind, with damp conditions and deteriorating visibility. The evening passed eating fish & chips in the Union Inn. The portions were a little small but good value.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny, see the photos. After checking the weather to see if Plan A was still going to work we set off in a F4 westerly which carried us quickly eastwards despite being against the tide for the latter part of the voyage. We decided to go past Portsmouth through the gap in the submarine barrier. Hardening on to the wind put any thoughts of lunch on hold and after putting in a second reef and furling part of the genoa we had a lively passage back to Portsmouth where we picked up a buoy in the Fareham channel for lunch. The evening mooring was in Haslar Marina, Gosport from where we took the ferry across to Gun Wharf Quays after enjoying a drink in the green lightship. A good meal was consumed in Café Rouge and we did our best to dodge the torrential rain showers on the return to the yacht. The weather stayed stormy for the remainder of the night.

<i>Aphrodite's Spirit</i> berthed in Sheppard's Wharf Marina, Cowes "Aphrodite's Spirit" berthed in Sheppard's Wharf Marina, Cowes

As predicted the wind backed to NE (Plan A was going to work) resulting in a splendid beam reach back to the Hamble after negotiating the Swashway Channel out of Portsmouth. A quick refuel at Warsash, yacht tidy and a lovely lunch on board rounded off a great weekend.

This weekend was good fun; the weather was kind to us, the marinas were nearly empty and apart from Winter Series racing so was the Solent! If you do not believe us, join us next year and see what you missed.