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'There's no cream for tiller itch !' - Frostbite - February 2018

Updated: 16-07-2018

Report from David Gist aboard "Blue" - Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 361

(Photos Simon Stannard):

Crew: David G, Nigel, Simon, Roger and Colin

David and Nigel, West Solent
David and Nigel, West Solent
'There's no cream for tiller itch!' said Nigel in one of the pre-weekend exchanges, 'You just have to get out there'.

On the other hand, if in answer to a friend's question ' what are you doing this weekend ?' you reply, 'going sailing on the Solent ' , the usual and predictable response is ' in February, you must be mad ! '.

Well, five of the usual lunatics, David G, Nigel, Simon, Roger and Colin gathered at Hamble Point Marina between 10:00 and 10:30 to join "Blue" a Beneteau Oceanis Clipper 361, recently added to Hamble Point Yacht Charters fleet. No gales or snowstorms were expected, the wind forecast for Friday being variable 3 or less, becoming S or SE for a time, and for Saturday simply variable 3 or less, 4 at times.

Blue - dawn at Lymington
"Blue" - dawn at Lymington

With high tide Portsmouth at 11:57 and the stream Westing until 4:00, we slipped at 11:45, heading for Lymington.

The wind was as forecast, leaving us at times making little headway, but we avoided motoring and had a leisurely and enjoyable sail westwards, mostly in sunshine, tying up in Berthon Marina at approximately 5:30. Aperitifs were followed by a short walk into Lymington and a good meal at The Kings Head.

Roger, Beaulieu River
Roger, Beaulieu River

We were greeted by frost on the pontoons and sunshine on Saturday morning, and after enjoying the excellent ( but expensive, £ 37.42 for the night in the middle of February !) facilities, slipped at 8:00, heading to Newtown Creek for breakfast. With no wind, we motored past the Jack in the Basket towards the IOW , which was shrouded in mist in the sunshine. Having located the marks for the leading line, we entered the creek and picked up a mooring buoy to starboard.

Beaulieu River, Bucklers Hard, Colin
Beaulieu River, Bucklers Hard, Colin

Newtown Creek in these conditions is delightful, difficult to believe that you are only a few miles from the industrial environment of Southampton Water. While we were having breakfast we were astonished to see and hear some intrepid early morning swimmers jumping off the jetty, apparently without wetsuits !

Beaulieu River, Bucklers Hard
Beaulieu River, Bucklers Hard

Still in bright sunshine but with no wind and a glassy sea, we motored across to the Beaulieu and up the river as far as Buckler's Hard, a first for Roger and Colin. Having lunched on the way back, by the time we reached the Solent the wind had risen enough to enable us to sail but had gone round to the west and we found ourselves sailing slowly down wind and ultimately against the tide to reach Cowes. Just managing to keep "Blue" on the move without the engine, we edged our way to the entrance to the Medina and berthed in the South Basin of Cowes Yacht Haven, this year avoiding a subsequent visit to Newport A&E !

Southampton Water. Colin and Nigel
Southampton Water. Colin and Nigel

An enjoyable meal in The Anchor was followed by a quiet night. Sunday morning required our usual pilgrimage to ' Egon's ' for a cholesterol charged breakfast. With the wind having freshened, and with high tide at 13:00 hrs, enabling us to moor at the Royal Victoria Sailing Club's pontoon, we headed to Wotton Creek for lunch, at Nigel's late suggestion as we were leaving Cowes, passing through the small craft channel to the eastern end of the new breakwater. After a good sail we entered the Ryde ferry's marked channel and moored at the pontoon, the chart plotter unnervingly showing us as being aground !

Wootton Creek
Wootton Creek

After a leisurely sail back to the Hamble through the North Channel, for a while assisted by the tide, we refuelled, cleaned up and after a coffee and settling up in the Ketch Rigger, set off for the trek home.

Probably one of the best Frostbites. Except for a few hours on Saturday morning, good sailing, without reefing once, in good weather, and in good company.

There may not be a cream for ' tiller itch ' but there is a cure, KPCA !