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Gosport 11th July

Yacht Quintet
Gosport Marina

11th July, 2005

<-Brighton 10th July Cowes 12th July->

Going to bed sober meant that we rose at 7.00am as planned. We then realised that we had failed to buy ginger nuts and fresh bread the day before so a little more time was wasted while this oversight was remedied. Still, it was a little before 10.00am when we tripped our lines and headed for sea.

The early promise of a firm breeze off the land evaporated into glassy seas and a low haze on the water. But we needed to run the engine anyway as the batteries were not sufficiently charged. We had put this down to insufficient engine time. So a morning of engine noise with sail assistance, if the wind allowed, was decided upon.

Being fairly bored with no sails to trim, I ran out the mackeral gear on the paravane, but our speed was too great and the vane, even after much adjustment , kept rising to the surface. So I took it off and just hung a ledger weight on the outer end of the line. This seemed to work as I took a fish very soon after but lost it again while trying to get it aboard. And the next fish managed to dislodge its hook before I had pulled in more than a metre or two of line. After that it seemed pretty quiet, not a nibble.

We hoisted and dropped the sails a number of times as the breeze came and went before we decided that we had done enough battery charging just as the new sea breeze came in. So sails up, engine off, a beer and a little French pate on fresh bread. Delicious! Then, as we approached Selsey Bill, the wind died again and we had to restart the engine to get south and avoid the shallows.

As there was little for me to do at this point, I caught up on email, circulated our readers with an update and exchanged text messages with Ian 'Grumpy' Grant who is acting as post office, and Steve Muffett who had expressed a desire to see our little ship. I arranged to pick up our packages from Ian in Lymington later in the week and Steve said he'd see us in Gosport.

Click for a larger imageAs we rounded Selsey Bill, a new breeze arrived from the southwest and we rehoisted sails, switched off the engine and close reached towards the Horse Sands Fort. It was a superb ride, topping 6 knots for a while, tide assisted of course. We spotted Queen Mary II on her way to sea looking very regal.

Click for a larger imageAs we got into the busier waters of the Solent, I thought it might be wise to stow the fishing line. What a pleasant surprise? When I started to haul it in it was obvious that we had a bite, actually two, two very pretty mackeral. That's starters for dinner then.

The tide was starting to rip out of Portsmouth as we rounded the Horse Sands Fort. Did you know, they're turning it into serviced apartments 'with Butler service'? Hope they include a bit of a paint job in the renovation. It looks a right decaying dump.

Click for a larger imageWe crossed into the 'small boat channel' and motored towards the fleshpots of Portsmouth and Gosport with the magnificent Spinnaker tower showing the way.

I had called Gosport Marina earlier and confirmed a berth 'Mike1' for the night and as we approached our allocated slot it was a pleasant surprise to see Steve Muffett already there and waiting to take our lines.

We tied up, shared a beer and convinced Steve to stay for dinner, mackeral fillets (very poorly filleted by me) simply pan fried in butter and served with a wedge of lemon, followed by lamb chops with new potatoes and sprouting broccoli.

I have still to get to grips with the heat of this stove. The chops were underdone and the fat did not achieve the desired crispness. But I will get there.

Over dinner Steve told of his new venture selling computer and digital accessories through his company, Booga. He tells us that he is not expensive and offers next day service.

Click for a larger imageSteve left to go to his hotel as he had to work the next day. Clive and I opened the scotch. What a mistake? An hour or so later a couple of guys came along the dock. We invited them aboard for a quick drink. They were John and Phil, taking a boat, type unknown but production design from 60/70s, from somewhere on the south coast to Thurrock on the Thames. Details are a little vague as concentration had become difficult by this time, as this picture perhaps illustrates: Clive and Phil, two skippers at one with each other.

They left at 2.30. Oh no! Not again.

Les Sutcliffe

<-Brighton 10th July Cowes 12th July->