Seven Face the Portsmouth Maelstrom

Seven boats braved the light winds and searing heat of southern England to rally to Gosport Marina on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August

The boats were:image1

Jacob Faithful, skippered by Esmond Pope with Paul and GeorgeJuniper of Leigh, with Stephen Weil and Martin
Opus IV with Peter and Jane Matthews
Hi Time with Tony Booker
Firebird with Tim Applewhite
Rio with David Thompson
Moody Maid with Sue and Dick

There was no uniform starting time. image2Poor Sue was made to get up early so they could avoid the non-existent dinghies of Federation Week  (it didn’t start until the following Monday!). There was little wind 2-3 SE, so the Met Office said. Some boats did manage and hour or two of calming drifting with light airs, but for four of us our peace was shattered when we entered the maelstrom also called the “Small Boat Channel”. Of course, it was springs and we were only a couple of hours after high- water. Even so it was a stirring sight, perhaps created to some degree by the wash of large powerboats thrusting their powerful way into the harbour.
Jane took some splendid photos from her precarious figurehead position on Opus IV. I drew a picture.

Turmoil over; we were scattered throughout the marina but guided by the good old DQSC pennant twelve stalwarts met for Dick’s customarily parsimonious nibbles on Moody Maid.  With all on board the boat assumed a strange ‘bows up’ attitude and some of us recalled the near sinking of Sentoray some years ago on the rally to Dinan when 23 of us tried to crowd on board.
Moody Maid did not sink and we made our way to “The Great Wall” for their Dim Sum experience. Guided by the cheerful but firm Mistress of Ceremonies we had a very convivial evening. All that remained was for us to find our way back to our boats. A task that proved difficult for some.


image3Sunday dawned with the usual heat, but a civilised, nine o’clock start for most meant a much calmer passage out of the harbour. Tony made a very early start and caught the sunrise and a mackerel to eat later.
 Perhaps it was the absence of powerboats or the slackening of tide that seems to occur half way through the flood. Perhaps it is something to do with the Solent’s double tide phenomena. For more about the double tides read Peter Bruce’s “Solent Tides”. He provides a good explanation.
There was even less wind on the return trip and Esmond took advantage of the calm weather and high tide to take the “Beach Passage” past the submarine wall. Some people even manage a sail. At least we saw Tim sailing by as he went toward Westlands.

Overall it seemed a successful rally in spite of the lack of vigorous sailing.
Thanks to all who rallied and to Sue and Tony for the photos.
Dick Cole
Moody Maid
15 August 2022