The good news was that with the lack of weekday corporate charters this Covid summer, Lutine was available for a 4-day weekend charter. The bad news was that Storm Alex was forecast for that weekend.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we were limited to a crew of 6. This included the Commodore, Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore and a Past Commodore – Howard, Jeremy, Kevin, Richard, Mark and Paul plus our superb Lutine skipper James.
The storm was due to hit hard early on Friday so we delayed our arrival until midday, by which time the winds had subsided and the rain abated, After a briefing from James, we set off west along the Solent with wind and tide in our favour. Against all predictions, the sun came out and the wind dropped requiring a touch of engine to get past the Needles, where we saw a pod of dolphins in the calm seas.
At last, despite Covid fears of flying and quarantining putting an end to our long-awaited holiday, the Autumn Rally to Kos was a great success. 6 yachts, 26 crew and 7 islands in the Dodecanese, with plenty of wind of the first few days and calm seas on the last. We were pleased to be joined by charter yacht crewed by Ashdown Sailing Club.
Some OOSC members flew out to Kos before the charter started for some land-based relaxation. Some stayed in Kos town, some in beach resorts. Some hired various vehicles – Mad Max beach buggies, quad bike, scooter and taxi – to explore the island and visit the archaeological sites at Pyli and Asklipieion.
Andy and Jane arrived in Kos on Stiletto to meet up with old friends. They had sailed their yacht out from the UK to Andreas’ Greek home island of Ikaria, conveniently close to our cruising area and it proved invaluable to have their local knowledge.
We had always wanted to sail into London and our opportunity came after Gail won a raffle at the 2019 Southampton Boat Show for up to 3 months’ free berthing at St Katharine’s Dock Marina just next to Tower Bridge.
Given that staying there with “Nicknack” would normally cost around £90 per night this was a prize of considerable value and we spent a deal of time over the winter planning how we might combine an extended stay with having friends to stay on board, taking in theatres, restaurants, exhibitions, days out, etc.
January 2020 is already behind us and we are thinking ahead to where next for Musyk. It is also a time to look back at the end of our sailing season last year.
Our departure from Dartmouth in late August was memorable. Rather than trail across Lyme Bay and round Portland Bill we thought it would be more fun to head home via Guernsey and Cherbourg. So an early rise and confrontation with thick fog, partly expected and forecast as land fog. OK fine – it will burn off quickly in the forecast sunshine. Indeed, as we readied Musyk for the passage, visibility improved so that we could see the other side of the harbour. We motored slowly out of the entrance, noting several vessels outside the harbour entrance on AIS. Emerging from the fog we were startled to come across what looked like the bow of a cruise ship anchored in front of us.
We have done so much since our last update – including some sailing! The themes have been the sociability of sailing, the wonderful locations available from being on the water and the lack of settled weather.
We were lucky enough to book Lutine for the weekend at the end of Cowes Week, with Paul May as skipper and a crew of 8 Oxted Offshore members. Lutine was carrying her full racing sail wardrobe, so an exciting weekend beckoned, especially when a low developed off the Scottish coast on Friday and delivered lively winds all weekend! Peter Puttock takes up the story:
After the rain and variable weather of our Round Britain trip in 2017 – 2018 we determined to go south for the sunshine in 2019, leaving Port Solent on Sunday 2 June.
After a very short “night” in Cowes, we battled into a fresh south westerly breeze at 4am towards the Needles bearing away for Cherbourg, which we reached 15 hours later. We were delayed there by storms for 3 days but eventually made it to St Peter Port, Guernsey (another 42 miles) with enough wind and not too much rain, arriving in time to take wine on board another boat we knew. However, our berth inside Victoria Marina exposed our stern to both wind and waves as soon as the tide allowed water over the sill and we spent an uncomfortable 48 hours there.
Bill and Anne Lewis cast off from Lymington Yacht Haven in their Oyster Heritage “Musyk” in early June to cruise down to the West Country with the main aim of being in Falmouth by the end of the month for various commitments and then heading off to the Isles of Scilly for an extended stay, before deciding where next?
Update on 30 June 2019
We moved on board Musyk in the second week of June as planned. We wanted a suitable wind to move us in the direction of the West Country to arrive in good time for Anne’s family gathering in Truro on 29 June. Good weather windows were hard to come by, with plenty of unsettled weather forecast for a prolonged period. So we took the first opportunity to head out of the Solent, departing at 4.50 am on a lovely sunny Sunday morning. We hoped to make Dartmouth by 10 pm, knowing that we would have to motor all the way in the light westerly winds. A clean bottom (Musyk’s) and a strong spring tide used to best advantage got us to Dartmouth in record time so we were tied up and enjoying our arrival beer by 6.10 pm. Two minutes later the harbour master arrived to collect his dues – prompt as ever! Interestingly a yacht which left the Solent just ahead of us and took a more inshore route arrived just minutes behind us.
Musyk on the deepwater mid river pontoon near the Dart higher car ferry
Kevin Ludbrook sails with a regular crew on a Contessa 32, ‘Minstrel Boy’ normally racing round the cans in the Solent or down to Poole and so forth but as she was built in 1972 she is eligible for the Classic Channel Regatta. This is his report on the Classic Channel Regatta in July 2019..
This series of races is normally reserved for venerable wooden craft with a proper sense of history but in fact many of these are no more than ten years older than the Contessa. The regatta has always been a mixed French and British event albeit with a smattering of Dutch, Belgian and German boats too and that helps to create a great atmosphere. Around seventy-five boats took part which also helps to make it a very sociable event.
The regatta lasts a week, starting with races in Dartmouth, a race to St Helier, then finally a race over to Paimpol followed by a day of races there.
Slap in the middle of a much-welcome British heat wave, eight Oxted Offshore members boarded Lloyds Yacht Club’s X55 racing yacht – Lutine – for an almost perfect weekend’s sailing on 30 June and 1 July 2018.
Lutine is built for speed. Whilst two foot longer than her predecessor – a Swan 53 – the current Lutine is 30% lighter. How? Modern yacht designs use a sandwich construction to save weight, with solid laminate used in areas requiring extra strength. In addition the X55 has a carbon fibre rig, with a strength to weight ratio far outperforming a conventional mast. It all adds up to be a real thoroughbred.