Calypso Passage Report, New Years Eve

Happy New Year to All.

After a busy December satisfying my business customer needs, on New Year’s Eve morning I find time to look at Calypso on its Itchneor mooring. I soon realised it needed to be in a marina for a few months over the winter to get a few jobs done. After a quick check on tides, weather and fuel I (solo) left Itchenor 40 minutes later at midday for Gosport Marina. It was an easy decision because Gosport Marina was 1/3 cheaper than Sparkes or Northney and Chichester Marina has it’s lock maintenance scheduled for mid Feb. Also the tides and weather were perfect for this trip, today, right now! Another part of the decision was my dinghy outboard is broken which resulting in me rowing the 0.5 miles from the shore to the mooring.

It all turned out really well. From my mooring to the Gosport pontoon it took 2 hours 40 minutes. Very fast for my yacht.

From Bar Beacon (still bent from the dredger collision) to the Submarine barrier the wind was east 12-15kts, maybe a touch more at times. The sea state was at least 0.5m with a few 1 metre waves off Langstone entrance near the shallower water. Cloudy and 9 degrees. Vis was about 5 miles. It was a 4.4m HW at Chi entrance.

I left Itchenor at Chi HW-2.5 and arrived inside at Portsmouth at HW. The sails were on board but not hanked on so I motored all the way.

I motored down the harbour against the tide, just two other yachts out sailing. By the time I reached the Bar Beacon there was 4m of tide ht, so I almost immediately headed across the southern end of the sand bar (3.5m min under the keel) onto a 265 degree course to first clear the East Winner shallower water and took the opportunity to eat my packed lunch at the same time. Then in slightly choppier sea turned north a few degrees to pass through the Main Passage. All the way with a strong tide and wind from behind speeding me along. I saw one other much larger yacht in the bay, sailing to windward, against the tide(!) perhaps heading to Chichester for HW. I briefly had a Tern keep me company at mast head height, not sure if it was a Common or a Little Tern. Also saw a couple of Crested Grebes fishing nearby as well. After being whisked though Main Passage on a strong tide I crossed the Portsmouth channel approaches to the Port hand mark Spit Refuge, then using Mk1 eyeball pilotage I followed the narrow small boat channel into the harbour while being overtaken by a Condor truck ferry. There was some cross tide for a while so it was necessary to keep looking behind to stay on a transit between the Port hand buoys, so to avoid accidently creeping towards Hamilton Bank. Though it would not have mattered as it was HW anyway.

I had to steer by hand a lot of the passage because the auto helm could not cope with the usual Bay choppy following sea, 6 to 7 kts speed, occasional surfing and no sails on the yacht.

Had a nice welcome from the staff at MDL Premier Marina, Abi and Sam I think. Abi greeted me on the pontoon and switched on the electric for heating immediately.

I took the Gosport Ferry to head back home… and who should I meet in the queue going the other way … Stuart and Judi. They too have put their yacht (Slipstream) in Gosport Marina for the winter. I will try to arrange a meet up with them on board soon.

What started off as what could have been a tedious winter maintenance day, ended up be an excellent short winter passage.

If I can get the boat sorted then while I am here I’ll see if I can fit in a couple winter short trips out from Portsmouth.

See you at the winter social maybe.