Thanks to the 18 members of Oxted Offshore who made it to our summer rally, we don’t usually have a rally in August as most members have holiday plans and there is already a lot in the sailing calendar, so I was pleased with the turnout. In the end we had four boats making the trip down across to Poole which is always a popular destination.
- Azanti – Stewart Coia – Crew of 5
- Faux Pas – Jeremy Taylor – Crew of 8
- Magus Tao – Peter Puttock – Crew of 3
- Nick Nack – Nick & Gail Leaver – Crew of 2
The tide ebbed out of the Solent on Friday evening and early Saturday morning and most boats choose to set off late on Friday and spend the evening on a buoy outside Yarmouth or in our case Newtown Creek. Yarmouth only has a few bookable berths which were already taken and the remainder are available on a first come first served basis so late arrivals tend to end up on a buoy.
I had secured Faux Pas a space on a raft outside Sheppard’s Marina in Cowes so we could attend the Cowes Week festivities, however as there were no fireworks this year the crew had little appetite for it so we pushed onto the Creek instead.
Newtown Creek was busy; all the buoys were taken however after some circling and aware of the falling tide we managed to anchor in a clear spot behind a row of other sailing yachts. I would love to say I managed to draw a tidal curve with secondary port adjustments to work out a safe low water anchoring depth given our 2m draft, however a quick Google search was far quicker. It was tight though and as the remainder of the tide ebbed out of the creek that evening the land became worryingly close.
The calculations were fine and we spent a peaceful night in the creek having dinner (thanks Fran) and numerous sundowners. The sunset was particularly spectacular that night.
Next morning I heard from Peter Puttock on Magus Tau that they were leaving very early from Portsmouth to make maximum use of the tide and would potentially meet us coming out of the creek. We decided that would not be acceptable and left around 08:30 to ensure they were behind us and not in front. Peter later confirmed however Magus Tao had managed to reach 9.5knots (SOG) with the tide and had shot past Newtown Creek earlier than expected.
Leaving the Needles behind we headed straight for Studland Bay were we hoped to catch a spare eco-mooring and have lunch as it seemed too early to head up the channel into Poole. Anchoring in the bay is now frowned upon as the eel grass is home to a population of long-snouted seahorses. We managed to find a buoy on the south side of the bay and shortly after jumped in the water for a swim.
The water was cold, but the weather was hot and it didn’t take long to acclimatise. After swimming we soon dried off, had a very pleasant lunch (Thanks Bill) and headed into Poole for showers, shopping and Commodores Cocktails which was set for 18:30.
For dinner I had booked the Guildhall Tavern which has an excellent reputation and although expensive brought out some very tasty dishes.
Over dinner the now well lubricated crews put together plans for a race back to Portsmouth. The forecast however was for very light winds fading to nothing in the afternoon and given Faux Pas was a charter boat that had to be back at its berth for 16:30 we opted not to take part.
After the restaurant some of the crew headed to go back to Magus Tao for an afterparty where Peters 1st Mate Pedro dished out copious amounts of Dark and Stormy cocktails.
Many thanks to Kevin Roberts the next morning for cooking up an excellent Full English. We were washed up and ready to leave at 10:00 and set off after Magus Tau who had made race plans with Nick Nack and Azanti.
With the winds dying and a favourable tide we motor sailed most of the way home only slowing down for lunch on the go.
As mentioned, Faux Pas didn’t have the luxury of time in order to take part in the race however I did receive an uncorroborated email from Peter Puttock claiming victory for Magus Tao.