Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Cowes Raid - Saturday 14th July...

...we made it...  


Two more different trips, though, it's difficult to imagine but starting with Saturday...

Saturday 14th:

Having tracked the weather all week to make sure the weekend was achievable, we finally agreed a "go" on the Friday, expected participation three boats - two Fantasie 19's ("Papillon" and "Mudlark", and an honorary one ("Ciao Bella", a Hurley 20 owned by ex-"Jelly Bean" skipper, Phil).. our target was the Folly pontoon on the Medina...

I was the only one coming from the eastern Solent, the other two were coming from the west, but this was by far the longest trip I would ever have done on Pap, so it was not without a little trepidation that I dropped the mooring at about 06:30 that morning, and headed for the Solent ...

Provisions loaded (blokes shopping - four pack of Hobgoblin, two pot noodles, some Pringles and a large packet of sausage rolls!), I'd also bought extra fuel with me so I had 10 litres in two cans, plus a full internal tank on the outboard - my thinking was that this should be enough if needed to get me out of trouble....

Weather was largely as I expected as we headed down the harbour...  grey, overcast, and about a force 2 or 3 but once outside the harbour though it was clear conditions were far from ideal...  a big rolly swell from the south west, but the wind was almost dead west. Where was that SW'ly when I needed it...??  I could see the Cowes headland in the far (far) distance but the wind was blowing direct from it towards me.. looked like it was going to be a long, long, long beat of a day...

...and so it was. In fact it was bloody miserable most of it - I conservatively estimate that I almost gave up four times - it was only the thought that I was expected at Cowes that made me go on - that and for the first three times I knew I had enough time to turn round make it back to the mooring if I really wanted to chicken out....  by the time the fourth time came up though, I was past the point of no return so thought "bugger it" and carried on.

The GPS track shows that the trip took just over 9 hours end to end - during that time I had everything from sunny spells, to drizzle, to rain, and the last two hours were in heavy (heavy) rain. Wind was up and down like the proverbial, so despite my passage plan I was an hour late to Cowes and the tide had turned - enough was enough so I powered up the donk and motored the last section, putting up a scrap of jib as I came round the headland to assist with the last part into Cowes proper... that last hour or so was the most miserable sailing experience I've ever had; wet, cold, tired, and only 1 to 1.5 knots against tide...  disgusting...  so cold that I could see my breath steaming - in July!! I was never in all my life so happy to see the start of the new small ships channel in Cowes roads...

Medina looking towards Cowes from the Folly pontoons

Thirty minutes later I was on the pontoon and tied up with the kettle on for a much needed cuppa... the first time I've ever tied up to a pontoon in the four years I've owned her by the way! Shortly after that Phil and Steve turned up, clearly they'd had a very different trip to mine, but even their journey had not  been perfect - the British summer was living up to expectation despite the forecast...

Papillon with Mudlark directly behind, and Ciao Bella behind her..




My GPS track showed I'd done 32 miles, in 9 hours and 11 minutes - a long day, I don't have automatic steering so it was all at the tiller. Difficult to believe but my average speed was 3 knots (max was 4.8) so my passage plan speed was spot on, what threw me was the wind direction - the long tacks meant I travelled further than the direct route - but hey, I'd spotted that might be a problem, and I couldn't do anything about it anyway - I left as early as I could.

After a beer, a chat, and a short kip to get the faculties together it was off to the Folly for some much needed beer and food - the band were good as well!

Folly just across the way...  £2 return per adult non the water taxi ...total overnight cost a tenner....... bargain!
Track for the day...


Distance: 32.20 miles (cumulative total in the 2012 mileage tab at the top of the page)
Wind: Started Force 2 built to Force 4 gusting Force 5 .. westerly...
Sail Plan: One reef in the main, various configurations on jib..
Speed: GPS says max speed was 4.8 knots which was under motor on the way out of the harbour. Average speed of 3 knots (not bad given the very low speeds for the final approach to Cowes!)

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...log for Sunday in the next post....

2 comments:

  1. Epic voyage, just shows you a real adventure is often right on your door step!

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  2. Hi Steve, It was a great weekend. The Folly was excellent :). Can't face writing a blog at the moment... It will get done :o)

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