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Author Topic: May Day Bank Holiday cruise report  (Read 1509 times)


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May Day Bank Holiday cruise report
« on: 05 May 2017, 15:02 »

Two boats hit the water for the Bank holiday weekend. Cassiopeia (Wikipedia spelling) left from Eastbourne to Brighton, while Two of Diamonds went from the Solent to Brighton to meet up, along with some other boats from Eastbourne marina.  Good sail to Brighton from Eastbourne in sunshine with a cold wind and deteriorating weather. Our berth on the hammerhead of a pontoon just inside the entrance was hardly ideal with the wind and sea building to push a swell  into the entrance. Brighton have a new dredger - but they have only just started using it, so much of the marina is still rather shallow which becomes obvious at low water as the large mud bank against the harbour wall is exposed. We enjoyed a nice BBQ with the Eastbourne crews in the club house and the intention was to sail on to Littlehampton with them on the Sunday. However, the weather had other ideas - by the time we finished a nightcap on 2ofD the pontoons were rocking and bucking - bottles went flying on the cabin table and walking the pontoons was hazardous - one might think people had had a few drinks!

Sunday opened with a strong SE wind - far from ideal for Littlehampton's entrance, and as we were also looking at a 4am start from there on Monday morning we decided it wasn't worth the risk and decided to stay in Brighton and visit the Lanes and do some Harry Ramsden's. 2ofD decided to head back to the Solent.

On Monday Cassiopeia headed back to Eastbourne. The wind was back down to less than 10 knots. However, there was still a big swell running, but as we got towards Newhaven the sun came out and the wind dropped to nothing and the engine was started. We could see the distinct edge of a weather front a few miles to the South that stretched back towards Beachyhead. As we passed the Seven Sisters we must have hit the leading edge of the front as, quite suddenly, the wind went literally from zero to 25+knots and the swell increased. We then had a lively hour or so of big gusts until we turned the headland and got the wind behind us.

Rounding the harbour wall at Eastbourne was like entering another world - totally sheltered - suddenly dead calm and sunshine.
many thanks go to Nigel Ashdown with Cassiopeia and Ian Frais with Two of Diamonds for the weekend.

Admin (Ian S)

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Re: May Day Bank Holiday cruise report
« Reply #1 on: 06 May 2017, 22:59 »


Thanks for the report. I always enjoy hearing what happens on cruises. It certainly sounds like it was an interesting one.

Disappointing that he silting in Brighton continues.

Ian S

Nigel Ashdown

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Re: May Day Bank Holiday cruise report
« Reply #2 on: 12 May 2017, 11:47 »


Thanks for reporting on our trip. I sent the following email to Lorraine, the organiser of the weekend, to thank her and also to report on our return to Eastbourne.

Hi Lorraine

Thanks for organising an enjoyable weekend. It was a shame to not have made Littlehampton, but the decision not to go was the right one.

You also made a wise decision to remain in Brighton yesterday. After leaving, we had a 10 kts offshore wind, which made a nice start. We put up full sail and were making good progress. The wind veered and dropped to about 5 kts after about an hour so was on our nose. We brought in the genoa and left the full main up in case the wind picked up and motored ahead for another half hour. We were then suddenly hit by a 25 kt gust from the south which caused us to round up rather rapidly into wind. We let out the mainsheet but were buffetted by strong winds and gusts up to 35 kts. As we were now on a lee shore we decided to keep the main up but fully out until we had rounded Beachy Head. This we did and then brought in the main and motored back to Sovereign. No harm done, but I have had more enjoyable trips!




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Re: May Day Bank Holiday cruise report
« Reply #3 on: 12 Jul 2017, 11:00 »

"but I have had more enjoyable trips!"

What a contrast to the Two of Diamonds experience, skippered by Iain Frais & crewed by Colin Church & myself......we had a FABULOUS SAIL BOTH WAYS !
Two of Diamonds was initially positoned from the Hamble to Gosport by Ian & Colin, where I joined
and over a slightly suspect Chinese restaurant meal the crew bonded on the Friday evening.
The following day we had the most perfect sailing from Gosport to Brighton & then from Brighton to East Cowes on the Sunday.
Two of Diamonds is a Bavaria 36 ft ( although actually longer by a foot or so) provided one of the most enjoyable weekend sails that this crew have ever had.
On the Gosport to Brighton leg the wind strength & point of sail were totally perfect with Two of Diamonds averaging almost 6.5 KN and on the return leg near the same.
Minimal close hauled sailing throughout the weekend.
Off Selsey Bill on the easterly leg we were comfortably able to take the inner Looe Channel, however on the return leg we sensibly went south of Owers (Southerly Cardinal) & on towards the Nab Tower.
Dinner & an off piste French red were greatly appreciated at The Lifeboat, East Cowes.
Not entirely perfect as light winds on the last leg from Cowes to the Hamble made for slow progress, sun was shining so not all bad.
Additionally that the Gosport start was not without puzzling moments.
The Gosport Marina departure was more challenging than we expected.
It was an hour or so after low water and when the warps were slipped & skipper engaged reverse to move backwards from the pontoon, she did not move an inch......she was firmly stuck on the mud of the berth itself. Had I been awake as forward crew, I should have cognisant that the bow did not move a single mm when I slipped the bow line.
Somewhat surprising given that the keel depth is I believe a mere 1.6M.
Being aground on a pontoon in Gosport Marina was not a hazard that I considered, memo to self open one's mind.
One possible explanation being that the recent dredging to accomodate the new twin 75,000 aircraft carriers, has stirred up the silt which has then settled within the main Portsmouth Harbour

This all goes to prove it's not what one knows & plans but whether due homage has been paid to the weather gods.
One previous trip several years ago afforded another marvelous sail, this time on on Ragamuffin out of Brighton with Chris & John, I had proposed Boulogne sur Mer courtesy of a SW for the outward leg & a NE for the return i.e. beam reach all the way in 12- 20 kn
An abiding memory being on the final run for the last many miles into Brighton Marina with 20 KN NE approx 0.5 NM off the coast.
And with this very short fetch from the shore, the surface was almost glass-like,affording Raggy the opportunity on a beam reach to almost reach hull speed in the warm sunshine.