trip logs

Cape Cutter week 2016- day 6

We passed a restless night on the pontoon at Wootton Creek; with a strong breeze from the North creating a confused swell in the normally calm harbour. The boats had tossed crazily for most of the evening and it was not easy to go to sleep. However calm fell as the tide ebbed and the boats settled into the mud. By the time the incoming tide floated the fleet again, the wind had dropped and we were greeted by a much calmer morning. 

Fortified by an excellent cooked breakfast provided by Royal Victoria Yacht Club, we left Wootton on the top of high water and aimed at first towards Portsmouth, which was a close fetch against the tide, with minimal avoidance of traffic needed, once we had moved out of the Wightlink ferry route. 

Reaching the fort close to Southsea, we turned for “the dolphin”, which marks the passage through a long obstruction from the shore (a relic of previous defences from wartime submarine attack on Portsmouth). At this point, the fleet were well spread out, which became further exaggerated as the wind became lighter and more variable. 

We reached the mouth of Chichester harbour at the end of the ebb with what little wind there was on the nose, so we motored laboriously against the strong current over the shallow water st the bar. 

The first four boats then anchored at East Head to allow the children to swim and we had a cup of tea as we watched as the rest of the fleet arrive, one by one. 

Arriving at Chichester marina, we then just had time for a brief ablution, before a meal and prize giving by Mike Brooke. A very pleasant end to a regatta, which has been highly successful despite some challenging weather conditions.


events, trip logs

Cape Cutter week 2016: Day 5

After a very windy night, we awoke to the same NNE f6 breeze this morning. The voyage planned for today was a relatively short hop around the island from Bembridge, past Ryde to Wootton Creek. Niki decided to take the land route with Alice, via Monkey World, and caught a bus. I did not have full confidence in Henry Honda, but he started well and ran smoothly in gear at full throttle on the pontoon, so I was reassured.

Aimee took us out of the harbour and it was nice to hear her shout to me “warps and fenders away please”, rather than the other way around. The wind was blowing straight into the harbour mouth  tide, creating rather lumpy conditions. We departed expecting this, with washboards in, but this proved unnecessary. We took a port tack past St Helens fort to give us enough offing, before tacking and allowing the tide to scoop us along the island. Once we were past the outer Ryde sands buoy, we were able to ease off. We carried double-reefed main and staysail the whole way and made excellent time, with  Aimee at the helm. There was a fair bit of shipping to avoid, including the fast cat and hovercraft to Ryde.

Wootton Creek is home to both the Wight Link car ferry and also Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the latter being our hosts tonight. We had been warned that the ferries do not give way to yachts and, sure enough a ferry was leaving, just as we entered the channel. Aimee took us head to wind out of the channel and we took the sails down as the car ferry passed us. The wind was blowing straight into the creek and the water was ebbing, so it was challenging to moor on the pontoon, but with many hands the fleet of ten boats were soon moored safely.

Once the housekeeping was done, there was time for a pint in the club and then a walk through the woods before pie night at the Yacht Club.

events, trip logs

Cape Cutter week 2016: day 4

Yesterday the wind prevented us from sailing, so we had a lay day during which Mike Brooke gave us the benefit of his considerable knowledge of military history as we toured HMS Victory and the Mary Rose mini exhibition (the Mary Rose herself was closed for restoration work). 

Having made alterations to the catering, the Cape Cutter week programme had been put back a day. So it was that we made an early departure from Emsworth en route to go “foreign” and visit the Isle of Wight. 

As the tide crept up the pontoon, the fleet of eleven Cape Cutters left in turn, as soon as each was afloat. We ran dead downwind on double-reefed main and staysail down the Emsworth channel to Hayling Island Yach club and the mouth of Chichester harbour. We were joined by Moth from Chichester, but sadly not Salty Dog or Halcyon, both of whom had technical problems. 

As we entered the Solent and turned further West, we found ourselves in a lovely training run, with speeds of between 5.5 and 6.5 kit for the whole passage. As was usual for running, it did not seem windy until our arrival into Bembridge harbour. With the help of many hands to help, we were soon tied up for a restful afternoon as the squalls blew through.