Thursday, 3 August 2017

Crafty day on the water... there anything better???

So.....  with a healthy number of days in the work holiday bank, and the knowledge that it is now August and I have yet to set foot outside the harbour in Sparrow, and the fact that the weather is closing in again at the end of the week, and and and...  I booked Tuesday off for a "double tide'r"

HT was 0700 and 0730 so I had the option of dropping the mooring between 8 and 9 in the morning and getting back on the mooring from about 1630 onwards... forecast on the face of it was good - F4's/sunny and SW'ly - decision made - go for it... I was looking for a day in the Solent hopefully to get far enough west to get a view of the American aircraft carrier if it was still there....

So it was that on a lovely sunny morning at just before 9, with a little breeze, I was shaking out the reefs from Sunday (expecting a F4), the outboard was burbling, the packet of 'All Day Breakfast' sandwiches stored, and away we went..  having rolled out the reefs I left the main up when I left the mooring

Lovely day - intermittent cloud but warm and sunny in between, but the breeze was already building so left the genoa rolled..  motor sailing with the tide, SOG rarely dropped below 5 knots and within an hour I was at the harbour entrance and heading through the entrance..  slightly trepidous as the wind was still building and on the horizon I could see plenty of white horses...

As I passed Eaststoke the boat started to roll, 100 yards later and there short 4 to 5 foot waves, some breaking - the infamous Chichester bar [clicky] was not playing nicely today - "With a falling tide [check] and strong winds [check] from a southerly sector [also check] a dangerous sea may be encountered" - no sh*t Sherlock, I thought.

With the boat rolling fore and aft enough to lift the outboard prop I took an instantaneous decision and turned back into the harbour - life is too short . A secondary decision was also taken to visit those parts of the harbour that, despite sailing in it for 8 years, I have never yet visited - time to push beyond the "edge of the world*" and see if I fall off


Engine off as I came round the corner past East Head, just main, against tide, still doing a steady 4 knots and I saw this guy...  a junk rig Corribee  that I recently saw on Jelly Bean Phil's blog of his Solent cruise last month. Now they made a Coromandel as well (same hull) which did have a junk rig as standard, but I have it on good authority that this was once a Corribee and was converted by her owner...  I'm chuffed to nuts with the picture quality given I took it one handed as I was moving...  sums the day nicely...

Shifting nicely...

So with nothing more to do than watch the world go by I was soon past Thorney, and Bosham was hoving into view..  moving too fast - decision made - turned into wind and dropped the main while I had the space and the time, rolled out half the genoa and we then proceeded in a far more sedate manner....

Itchenor reach has more boats per square yard than anywhere else I have ever sailed - both moored and moving - it's school holidays here so all the sailing clubs have flocks of Opi's/Toppers/Lasers/Mirrors (they were nice!) out, all full to the brim with sub-10 year olds, being marshalled by numerous inflatables steered by teenagers - good fun but bloody busy...  in addition the channel is narrow and tree lined so the wind is fluky, resorted to putting the engine on half way - in gear, but just tick over...  then from stupidity to emptiness in about 50 yards - the top of the channel leading to Birdham Pool and Chichester Marina is really open but the channel twists like a bugger...

Chichester Marina
Birdham Pool
The marker is "Birdham" so this is looking back down the Reach.. look at that water..  breezy!
So target reached... I was going to push on to Dell Quay but there really isn't a lot of water up there at low tide, and I was getting hungry - time for lunch - turning, I put on some revs on the outboard and rolled away the genoa - wind on the nose channelled down the Reach between the tree's either side

Dell Quay - spire of Chi Cathedral in the distance...
Further up the reach I got to a position where I could crack a little foresail to help us along, and passing through the maritime parking lot I was soon off Bosham - opposite the Bosham Channel there is the tail end of the Itchenor mooring trots - being furthest away from the centre they are clearly the last to get rented, and there were half a dozen with no boats on that I spotted on my way down - picked one up on the way back and that was my lunch spot sorted...  bit rocky (I blame the endless rescue ribs and support boats) but hugely entertaining to watch the world and his maritime wife go past while I chomped a sandwich...

Lunch and a sunshine snooze later and it was 1430'ish time to head slowly for home - before food I had taken the opportunity to put the reefs back in the main but as the the breeze was still a feature and as it was dead on the nose and the channel narrow I motored around the corner (Chaldock), through the race fleets, put a little genoa out when the wind angle was right, and when I got to (old friend) Snowhill bore away and switched the engine off for a long'ish beat back to the main channel (didn't think there'd be enough water for my usual shortcut over Pilsea Sands) - pointing was OK but the tacks were rubbish as the tide was coming in...  put the main up and it all got a bit more manageable

Spotted this guy coming into the Reach as I was coming out... she is the junk yacht "Boleh" (“can do” in Malay) originally designed and built in Singapore in 1948 by a Commander Robin Kilroy, DSC , who sailed her back to England in 1950 - lots more here [clicky]

..a most unusual design...  thought she was a tchalk when I first saw her (we're not that far from Holland, and I'd already seen a Dutch boat go past earlier in the day)

Either way - main channel reached and I bore off and absolutely hared off to Emsworth - tide under and breeze behind, and even with the outboard leg down I was still hitting 6 knots - in fact I rolled some genoa away as I didn't want to arrive too soon. As it happened, the timing was optimal and arrived with enough water to get on the mooring, put everything away, tidy up, and sit down for a beer and a cigar before I was expected home..  result!

Good good day on the water...  quite pleased I didn't get out of the harbour to be honest - it would have been windy out there!


Blue for morning, red for afternoon...

Distance: 22.61 miles (13.57 int he morning & 9.04 in the afternoon)   (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)
Wind: F4 gusting F5; SWxS through SWxW all day
Sail Plan: Full, reefed and no main; reefed and no genoa, at various times of the day
Speed: Average 3.1 knots & 3.5 knots / maximum 5 knots & 5.3 knots, morning and afternoon respectively


  1. 'Boleh' looks more Chinese than Dutch - reminds me of Allen Farrell's 'China Cloud' (Do a Google or look on Utube).
    Great photos of the Junk rigged Corribee.

  2. Definitely Chinese influence based on the history... still chuffed to bits with the Corribee pictures... :o)