Saturday, 26 September 2015

Jolly Boys Outing 2015

Well what a cracking weekend...  just back from four days on (the new) "Ocean Waves" with the rest of the 'Jolly Boys' (with the exception of t'other Dave who had a prior commitment in Spain..  apparently...), and just for once the weather was very largely kind.. 

Day 1 (18th) : Portsmouth to Cowes

Our day 1 was also day 1 of the Rugby World Cup and Smithy had made it abundantly clear that he would murder all of us and dispose of our bodies over the side if he wasn't firmly placed in front of a large screen television in time for the opening (England) game.. bit of an England fan is Smithy..

The old "Ocean Waves" (last years ride, a Jeanneau 40) was sold at the beginning of the year and the new one (the name is traditional with the Association, so all boats get renamed) is a Halberg Rassy 342 - slightly smaller but a classy boat by any stretch of the imagination...  the boat we were using is ex-Army and fairly typically was not high on labour saving devices (no auto helm, no roller furling, reefing at the mast).. the hank on jib/genoa was an experience I haven't "enjoyed" for a number of years..

Stock picture but this one is identical - note the tiller steering....

Stock picture again - cabin layout - again, this is identical to ours - I was in the fore cabin on the left..
By 12:30 we had left the pontoon after an introductory brief, and headed up Fareham Creek for a little bit of pontoon bashing - she's a heavy fin keel'er so the practice was needed. Mission accomplished, and just as the weather broke, we headed for the harbour entrance and the Solent and then the Heavens opened.... never seen rain like it but it cleared soon enough....

In the Solent winds were light to start, but as the weather began to brighten, the winds started to pick up so sails went up and we sailed to Cowes and were enjoying it so much we carried on just past the entrance to the Beaulieu river before heading back, choosing to stay (for the first time for me) in Cowes Yacht Haven (not sure I really liked it - bit industrial/factory'like for me)... 

View from the cabin porthole..
Cowes was it's usual heaving self, stupidly busy, but a spot was found for us in one deep corner...  dinner and beers followed in the Fountain watching England (unconvincingly) put the Fiji'ans in their place... eventually....

Overnight we had a visitor...  so picture if you will 3 in the morning...  bang, crash, stumble, "buggery" I think, "can't Smithy be quieter going to the loo"..  next thing I know, there's a crash on the cabin door frame, and a hand on my face, light on and there's a total stranger standing there "I say young man" quoth I, "I feel thou mite be on the wrong boat, old fruit" (I didn't say it quite like that, but hey, this is a family blog)...  said young man reeling back, "I can't disagree, old mucker", and then made his way up the companionway and off the boat..  the last thing we heard was "f*ck me, they all look the same"... laugh??  We almost killed ourselves...! 

   Distance: 28.91 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: Force 3 rising to a 4 gusting 5 by 1500'ish. Direction was NW going more westerly as the day edged on
   Sail Plan: Main & genoa - engine for manoeuvring...
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 8.2 knots (a pattern for the weekend!) - average speed 4.5 knots

Day 2 (19th) : Cowes to Lymington

The day dawned really sunny but the fog soon rolled in..  no wind, hot sun, cold night, sure fire recipe for fog..  who cares? Good boat, so breakfast was prepared, eaten, papers read, tea drunk, showers taken, banter exchanged, more tea drunk, and by mid-morning the fog had cleared. The forecast was for a very quiet day with little or no wind, but there was a little bit of breeze rustling the marina flags so we decided to go for it...  on the way out of the marina we spotted our friend of the night before and exchanged jolly greetings..  clearly it was all news to his fellow crew members...  

Alas once we got into the Solent any wind was cancelled by tide, so engine on and we decided to head for Newtown Creek (another first for me) - arriving at the Creek the first thing that struck me was how narrow the entrance is, and how close to the shore you are when entering. Happily we managed to get the last remaining mooring (only £9 for a short stay) and settled won for a long snooze, lunch and lie in the sun - it really was idyllic...

Newtown Creek looking north - entrance is just to the left in the far distance...

..and looking south..

Following said naps, a beer, some lunch and in the case of Smithy and Dave a dip - we dropped the mooring and headed off to the Solent for our overnight destination which this time was Lymington. Definitely going back to Newtown - a beautiful spot..

I neglected to turn the GPS on, so I have no track (guessed the one at the end), but it was a real champagne sailing afternoon - the wind had come up nicely and we were really moving..  superb conditions, and sunny and warm as well - it really does get no better.

After a couple of hours we made our way into Lymington for the overnight which was to be in the Yacht Haven - bloody huge and very full...

Having made a complete and total hash of parking the boat in the hole (me), we then went for a beer..  just managed to catch the last 15 minutes of the Japan/South Africa game (stunned..  who'd have thought it?!)

   Distance: 20 miles approx (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: Nothing in the morning, but force 4+ from about 14:00/15:00
   Sail Plan: Main & genoa - engine for manoeuvring, and to get to Newtown Creek in the morning...
   Speed: n/a

Day 3 (20th) : Lymington to Yarmouth

Another beautiful start, some fog/mist, but you could tell up front it was going to be a cracker so after another elongated breakfast, several cups of tea, newspapers, showers (and the Lymington Yacht Haven showers are, in my humble opinion, the finest in Christendom) we dropped the mooring and headed out into the breeze about 11'ish, for another afternoon of champagne sailing... huge tides, and it looks like we're drunk in the track, but we had nowhere particular to go before evening so we just spent the time 'sailing' - up to Hurst Castle, and then at the end of the day back to Yarmouth along the coast..  superb day...

Arrived just in time to watch the first Kiwi game so a few pints of Goddard's while we watched the All Blacks putting in a fairly poor (for them) performance though they did inevitably win..  showers (which were clean, but not the best..  we'd been spoiled by Lymington!) and then some dinner and a decent snooze.

   Distance: 20.1 miles (cumulative total in the 2014 mileage tab at the top of the page)
   Wind: A fairly solid 4 - SW direction
   Sail Plan: Main and genoa - engine for manoeuvring..
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 5.6 knots and average 3.4

Day 4 (21st) : Yarmouth to home (Portsmouth)

Over beers the night before we had kind of decided that for the trip home we'd do a long one and circumnavigate the island rather than head up the Solent - forecasts were a little uncertain though, so of we were going to do it we'd need to leave by about 0800 so as to get a couple of hours of decent tide to get us to the Needles before turning east for home..  when we got up in the morning though we were greeted by this...

...and increasing wind, some rain, and a deteriorating forecast (force 7 likely) - we decided to chicken out and taken the Solent route home - none of us were in any doubt the boat would handle it perfectly but it wasn't a pleasant thought - several hours of rain and wind rarely is...

Decided to swap over the genoa for the smaller jib, and left Yarmouth at about 09:30 - by 13:00 we were off Ryde - the entire Solent (almost) in about two and a half hours, and on a run - what a sail! The track says top speed was 8, but we saw 8.5 a couple of times and she was pulling like a train even with the smaller forsail...  off of Seaview we decided to go for the Nab Tower and then back in but looking behind us to the west we could see the rain racing in, Cowes disappeared, then Ryde, and then it got to us, and the wind dropped with the visibility - plans were abandoned and a pretty wet crew headed back to the boats base to tidy up, decant the remaining stores, have a last beer and head for home..  the Jolly Boys Outing was over for another year...

   Distance: 25 miles approximately (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top of the page)              Wind: Top end 4, increasing to 5 gusting 6... wind direction WSW going SW
   Sail Plan: Full main & jib - engine for manoeuvring..
   Speed: GPS track says max speed was 8 knots - average speed 4.4 knots

Full plot:

Little over 92 miles all told...  cracking weekend and here's to next years...  and heaven help us, Rod is talking about "Cherbourg" again..  


  1. Sounds like a great time was had by all - yes the Japan win was epic! Can't wait until our ABs play England!

    1. Smithy would like to think that will be the final Alden.. Me? I know it will be France / NZ and les Bleus will take it by a point :o)))

  2. That's a good bit of sailing! Up the Welsh ; )

    1. Peter.. High point of the season I'd say.. Asfor the rugby as a long time France supporter I can't disagree with your sentiment! :-)

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  4. On the day the French can be sensational and highly unpredictable (As we have seen in past finals) but I think the All Blacks win retain the World Cup - BUT, being a Kiwi I would say that wouldn't I : > )

  5. A great read Steve. Fabulous weekend. If you decide to take Sparrow to Newtown, let me know and I'll come over as well.