Weymouth 4-6 May 2013
Cruise Report by Organiser-Andie Smith.
Following a few days of weather that finally made one feel that winter might at last be over, bookings for the mini cruise to Weymouth over the May bank holiday weekend were looking good with 12 boats registered and 40 people booked for dinner. It was all looking good right up until Saturday 4th, the planned day of departure. A few boats (Guinevere, Mayfly and St Paddy) managed to escape early on Friday 3rd and enjoyed balmy sunny conditions in Swanage, Studland and Portland respectively (forget winter, this felt like summer!). The joy was however short lived for Saturday brought more seasonal strong SW winds (forecast as 4/5 occ 6 but actually more like 6/5 occ 4).
One by one, owing to sea sickness, equipment failure or simply not fancying a long beat to windward in wind against tide conditions, of the 12 boats that set off, only 6 made it beyond St Albans Head. Upon arrival in Weymouth, skippers' comments varied from plain old "that was grim" to "that's it, we're selling the boat"' whilst some crew members' comments are unprintable. The Royal Dorset Yacht Club deserve platinum stars for their patience and understanding and for not requiring any cancellation payments despite numbers dwindling on the day from 40 to 21.
Everyone scrubbed up exceptionally well for dinner and we had a great evening with lovely food - the RDYC really is a gem of a venue. All in all, "well done" to the twelve boats that set off; even more "well done"s to the six boats (Blue Haes, Gannett, Guinevere, Selene, Seajay and St Paddy) that made it to Weymouth and special commendation to Chris and Penny in Guinevere, their 26ft Midget, for whom it must have been one hell of a shake down sail for their first outing this season.
Roll on some better weather for the next trip of the season.
Blow by Blow (F7) Account by our own Chris Caswell.
Only two boats from KYC made it to Weymouth rally, GUINEVERE and St PADDY, and only 4 from LTSC; but that was because both GUINEVERE and St PADDY cheated and sailed on Friday when conditions were delightful, sunshine, clear skies, a gentle 3-4NW giving a Reach across Poole Bay. GUINEVERE to Swanage and PADDY straight to Portland Marina for an overnight stay. MAYFLY similarly left early and after a recce of Poole harbour, took a calm mooring buoy in Studland Bay to enjoy the charms of the Bankes Arms. Those coming on Saturday hit the elements with now a SW 5-6, a strong wind forecast and gusts at F7, but on the plus side no rain. However, the day took its toll. Sadly TEAL suffered technical problems with roller furline jumping out of its drum and then a main sail batten car breaking, so was forced into Swanage PIPIT ventured out from the Solent, was sensible on seeing the conditions and headed off for an ad hoc overnight meet up with TEAL in Poole for Saturday night. Sunday saw TEAL, PIPIT meet with NAVY BLUES from LTSC in Studland for an alternative rally and walk over Ballard Down.
Meanwhile on Saturday morning, MAYFLY took one look out of the cabin and at 0630 contacted GUINEVERE to say MAYFLY was staying put as the charms of the Bankes Arms outdid the prospects of a torrid trip across Weymouth Bay. So GUINEVERE persevered motoring south into F5 for 2 hours to avoid the St Albans outfalls before reaching all the way at top speeds (for her) into Weymouth arriving swiftly by 1200hrs. Throughout the afternoon as the sun broke through and we heated up to 20C, bedraggled crews came in to join GUINEVERE and St PADDY and SEA JAY, a 18’ trailer-sailor friend joined us from Weymouth shore. The supper of 41 was depleted to 20+ at the Royal Dorset YC but we treated royally with excellent food and a full table set out for our enjoyment – there was even live music for our benefit! Most were v tired after the sail so it was early to bunks.
PADDY slipped off first and taking the Easterly tide so did GUINEVERE and SEA JAY for a run in front of a 3-4WSW back to Swanage for overnight. MAYFLY had flown from Studland and by the afternoon was reporting her approach back to Keyhaven.
But next day, the weather was to have more play of us as next morning the predicted fog descended on us and with 50m visibility SEA JAY and then GUINEVERE slipped moorings to head respectively back to Weymouth and Lymington. SEA JAY with shallow draft an easily maneuverable hugged the cliff in F1 airs and outboard motor chugging, with large kettle hoisted high as a radar reflector(!). Crept back to Weymouth. GUINEVERE with radar in full mode, transponder pulsing away and hand held fog horn in cockpit set off back across a flat calm Poole Bay. 4 hours later the fog lifted. There had been a few close boat sightings at the last minute in the phosphorescent gloom caused by the sun trying to cut through the sea fog; quite enough excitement for a Bank Holiday Monday. Most crews were back by 1700 hours with F2 S and clear skies of sunshine – how ironic. A big thanks to Andie and Mike Smith of LTSC who inspite of weather prompted cancellations coming in thick and fast managed to keep RDYC happy and ensure we had a great night out.
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