Cruiser Reports

DQSC Cross Channel Rally 17th – 24th May 2018

Janet Holder describes her first overseas adventure with Dell Quay Cruisers

It was my first crossing of the channel by sail. Although Keith and I have spent many a happy hour wandering up and down the Solent, it was with a little trepidation that I set off to France, out of sight of land, passport on board.

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We started cautiously with boats Moody Maid and Zephyr spending a first night in Yarmouth, Isle of Wight, due to concerns about the strength of wind on the French coast, but at first light (4.30 am!) on Friday 18th May we were on our way - past Hurst Castle, past the Needles and then due South towards Cherbourg. Soon we were watching the sun rise over the Isle of Wight.

The weather was kind to us, the hours passed more quickly than I had expected with the diversion of the shipping lanes to cross, and eventually we spotted the faint outline of the French coast. We reached Cherbourg at 18.00 more than ready to tie up to a berth in the marina. We were joined about an hour later by Niobe and Opus IV who had made their journey direct from Dell Quay.

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The following day was spent resting and looking around Cherbourg. On Sunday we were ready at 9.00 to set off again to make our way along the eastern side of the Cherbourg peninsula. The tides were strong along the French coast and we had the strongest winds of the trip here so that some of us found it prudent to take in a reef. Our destination was St Vaast which can only be accessed when the entry gate is open, within 2 or 3 hours of high water.

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The next day we left St Vaast as soon as the gate was open and headed south towards Carentan. This typically French town is approached across a wide shallow bay peppered with lobster pots then up a long canal and through a lock. It was well worth the effort and the day ended with a splendid meal in the Marina restaurant.

Tuesday began our journey Northwards again. We returned to St Vaast, spending two nights there and enjoying another excellent meal in the Marina restaurant.

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On Thursday 24th May we were ready to depart at first light again for the long journey home. The sea was again smooth but what wind there was was ‘on the nose’ and the visibility was quite poor so that we soon lost sight of the other boats. The hours passed and eventually we arrived back at Chichester Marina.

So, I had completed my first trip abroad in a 28ft sailing boat. Would I do it again? – definitely!

 

Medina Rally 23 September 2017


Dell Quay high tide 14:26 Saturday, 15:05 Sunday.


Boats registered:-
Opus IV (leading), White Magic, Frith, Friday’s Child, Zephyr, Mavis Crewit, Mandalay, Delphis,Harami, and Hully Gully (who was posted missing, no radio response, but later found safe and sound having mistaken Bembridge for Cowes!!). 15 people arrived in Cowes.


Our destination was the East Cowes Marina, chosen partly because of its reputation for good facilities (and I hadn’t been there before), and partly because the Folly was likely to be very busy with 3 other rallies booked in. Island Harbour was considered, and would be good to try out, but with tidal restrictions the mid afternoon tide on Sunday made a timely arrival home risky for those on Dell Quay moorings. Maybe a future rally on a summer weekend with 7 or 8 o’clock tides might go there. 

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Photo Richard Hancock

A brisk 3~4 southerly wind provided a good passage to Cowes, just over 4 hours from Dell Quay.  East Cowes Marina staff were very helpful in making the arrangements and gave a discount on their berthing fees to those of us who booked and paid in advance. Good facilities, and all the DQ boats were berthed in the same area. The visitors moorings are at the north (seaward) end of the marina on pontoons A & B, each split into several bays by finger pontoons with room for 6+ boats in each bay before rafting. The marina is comfortable, but there is a tidal current through the berths requiring some consideration when mooring. The only disadvantage is that the facilities are a bit of a walk first thing in the morning!

 


The customary drinks and nibbles on the lead boat was interesting. medina215 people on a Centaur seems to be about the limit. With only 1 inch of water rising into the cockpit through the drains the sea level didn’t rise over the cockpit grating, so no wet feet. Don’t think that the trim was to be recommended! (neither was the boxed English wine by all accounts). East Cowes Marina is separated from Cowes town, and with the chain ferry out of commission we were rather restricted to restaurants on the East side of the river. (A
temporary passenger ferry service was operating, but the details, charges, times, etc. were not obviously posted.) East Cowes offered a choice of only 3 restaurants, one Italian and one Indian close to the chain ferry (some 10 minutes walk) and the Lifeboat Inn at the marina. Unfortunately the Lifeboat, despite its good reviews, seemed not to want custom, asking for a deposit of £5 per head to be paid before they would make a booking. The Italian restaurant was booked by others, so we ate at the Taste of India who were very pleased to reserve a table for us. Food wasn’t bad, but some people’s meals were a bit bland. Unfortunately the arrival of 15 hungry diners, wanting separate bills per boat, seemed to cause the staff some confusion, which to be fair, they mostly overcame. Service was rather disjointed with the first served finishing their main course before the final dishes arrived. Overall, I would eat there again, but not with a large group.

Sunday morning arrived with beautiful weather conditions, warm sun and a fair breeze. White Magic was the first to leave for home, followed by Opus IV leaving at 9:30. The wind increased again to a brisk 3 to 4, but more easterly, giving a beat all the way home. The wind over tide through the Solent and Hayling Bay made the sea rather choppy, but good sailing. Arriving in Chichester Harbour an hour before HW, the long waves coming into the harbour provided some impressive breaking seas on the Hayling shore and on the north edge of the Winner Bank, a good reason not to cut the corner! Later arrivals reported that the journey was rather rough. Having arrived back at Dell Quay, the weather broke with a heavy rain shower to wash off the waterproofs.

 


 

 

TO THE COTES-D’ARMOR AND BACK

All of Brittany offers a delightful coast line and lovely places to visit. The July cross Channel Rally had intended to visit the Pink Granite Coast, but, being flexible, we actually ended up just alongside it, but still in the lovely Cotes-d’Armor.

Deciding to miss a crowded Cherbourg on Bastille Day, we instead sailed first to Studland. After a motor through the Solent, Christchurch Bay was at its best with a blue sky, flat sea and wind that allowed us to lay our destination. The evening anchored in Studland was equally memorable.

Next day the predicted westerly force 4-5 had arrived, and an early morning start saw us heading due south in a somewhat confused sea. Our destination was St Peter Port, actually the same distance from Studland as Cherbourg is from Itchenor. An hour out, Nikita experienced problems with her babystay and, with only a 4-5 day “pass”, Peter Porter decided that it was prudent to turn back. We were sorry to lose him, but he arrived back at Itchenor safely that evening after logging 75 miles.

Conditions became more comfortable as we got further south and the sun came out. Alderney looked great as we passed down the Race, and so 5 boats arrived in St Peter Port around 18.00hours. A good crossing. After a day off and some serious socialising, we had to say goodbye to Dick Hoare and all on Parity as they were only out for 7 days and needed to turn back. The following morning, after a delayed start waiting for fog to clear, Fairwind (Sue and Barrie Pearson), Opus 4 (Jane and Peter Matthews), Mandalay (Sarah and Martin Greenhalgh) and Niobe (Bill Greening and crew) set off on the 45 mile sail to St Quay Pontrieux, one of the few all tide harbours on the coast we were heading for and which none of us had explored before.

Of course the fog came down again as soon as we were a few miles south of Guernsey! However these are quiet waters and we were all AIS equipped. Six hours out we were in bright sunshine and by late afternoon we were all moored together in St Quay.  A day there exploring showed it to be an attractive seaside town that somehow lacks vibrancy, but is was friendly and offered all the services we needed.

St Quay set us up nicely to visit Paimpol, 12 miles up the coast but highly tidal. In fact we were initially concerned that Fairwind with her 1.6 metre draft would only get in at the very top of the neap tide which prevailed. However a Brit we met in St Quay keeps his 2 metre draft boat there and assured us there would not be a problem between HW plus or minus 1 hour. He was absolutely right! After an interesting sail between the rocks through shallow water, we all locked in with plenty of water to spare. Although it was busy, the harbour master cheerfully found us berths and we could explore. Only Bill had been there before, and that some 20 years ago.

We all thoroughly enjoyed Paimpol. Money has been spent tastefully modernising the centre, which is right around the harbour. It is busy, very vibrant and full of flowers. Street concerts and specialist markets seemed to be happening most days. The coastal walks were excellent, and the weather was very kind to us.

After 2 nights we locked out and took the inshore passage to Lezardrieux. Another interesting piece of pilotage through very rocky waters – in fact it looks as if rocks are everywhere. The final approach through the Trieux River is easy and extremely scenic – very like the River dart. Lezardrieux is an old favourite, peaceful and beautiful. The only sadness was that the Hotel du Port, our favourite restaurant, had closed down since we last visited. However, I am pleased to report that the “Yacht Club Bar” (there is no yacht club!) is a worthy successor.

In the end we spent 3 nights in Lezardrieux. We had intended 2, and then a move to Treguier, but the weather dictated that we stay put and then take the opportunity to return to St Peter Port at the start of the journey home. We obeyed what the winds were saying and spent another day there in beautiful but breezy weather (who needs the Mediterranean when we have coastlines like this to walk) and had then hoped to spend a day on Alderney or possibly Cherbourg. Again the weather dictated, although this time with minimum warning. The forecast the evening before we left had changed and suggested that we had 1 day to get home in comfort before a period of very unsettled weather came in.

So 3 boats made another 0600 hrs start to catch the tide through the Alderney Race. It was springs and we all recorded up to 13 knots over the ground. With this helpful push, we arrived at West Pole just under 15 hours later after an easy motor sail. Unfortunately Mandalay had to wait in St Peter Port for a new crew to arrive. Although they managed a quick visit to Alderney, it was another 5 days before they could cross the Channel to reach home.

So ended another enjoyable cruise. Flexibility was the key to easy passage making and overall the weather was not bad. It just had to be watched (as usual).

Bill Greening

Niobe

The approach to Paimpol

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Lezardrieux village centre

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Home again!

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Beaulieu Rally Report

Tuesday 13 June 2017

 

After a busy weekend for Dell Quay members with a very well attended cruise to Bembridge Harbour with dinghies for an evening of jazz and two Open meetings at the Club on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June, the fine weather enticed eight cruisers out for a trip down the Solent to Buckler’s Hard up the peaceful Beaulieu River on Tuesday 13 June.

Parity, Cantata, Mandalay and White Magic left their berths in Chichester Marina and Birdham Pool with Fairwind of Dell Quay slipping her mooring off Longmore followed by Keldy and Pegasus who left from their Dell Quay moorings as soon as they were able. Frith had a head start from her berth in Gosport.  A favourable west going tide helped with progress on a close reach toward the Forts in sparkling sunshine and a gentle breeze.  Suddenly ferries of all shapes and sizes and container vessels seemed to converge just where Fairwind wished to be so she headed off toward Ryde where the wind died.  

 

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The first of the large container vessels successfully avoided by Fairwind.


After a spell of motoring toward Cowes the wind filled in from the SW so the last part of the journey became a beat in a moderate breeze. Once the yellow racing mark and Beaulieu Spit Dolphin had been identified, it was easy to follow the well-marked channel for three and a half miles up the privately owned river. We slid past wooded shores, a stunning array of smart vessels and grand houses with their beautifully kept gardens and private pontoons stretching out to the water interspersed with old oyster beds where sections of Mulberry harbour had been constructed for the Second World War D–Day landings well hidden from prying eyes.  New signs along the river encouraged visitors to call up Beaulieu River Radio on VHF channel 68 and provided useful perches for the varied bird population that enjoys this peaceful area.

The final turn bought us to Buckler’s Hard with its attractive brick built houses, marina and the mid river pontoon where alongside berths had been reserved.

 

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Hospitality aboard Fairwind and Cantata


For Derek in Keldy not only was this his first time to Beaulieu but also his first trip out single-handed in his Sadler 26. His wife Elaine opted to make the journey by car and joined us for the evening. Ken Baker in Pegasus had been busy as the committee boat for the 2000 Open meeting on Sunday and he and his crew had time for a beer before heading off for a meal ashore in their dinghy that they had towed behind them from Dell Quay.  Martin Watson assembled his New Zealand designed flat-pack Ferryman dinghy and took Martin Greenhalgh ashore whilst Barrie inflated Fairwind’s Avon to transport the remaining hungry crews ashore to the Yachtsman’s Bar at The Master Builders for a good meal and a convivial evening.  Cantata, Parity and White Magic crews ate on board enjoying the evening sunshine alongside the pontoon.

Another glorious day dawned on Wednesday with the birds singing enthusiastically to greet the new day. The forecast was for a F3-4 breeze this time from the east. After a master-class in springing off, Parity set off to pay the harbour master followed by the rest of the fleet although a swan took a fancy to one of Mandalay’s fenders and was reluctant to leave it.

 

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It was very tempting to linger longer in this delightful spot, there is plenty to do in and around historic Buckler’s Hard, the Maritime Museum is full of fascinating information about the Agamemnon, Euryalus and Swiftsure, built for the Royal Navy at Buckler’s Hard in the 1740’s by Henry Adams, The Master Shipbuilder; all three vessels fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. With sufficient rise of tide a trip up the river is possible in the dinghy or alternatively follow the footpath along the riverbank for lunch or afternoon tea in Beaulieu village.

With the wind on the nose and the east going tide creating a short chop, progress up the Solent to Chichester was slower than usual and a course through the gap in the submerged barrier off Southsea known as the Dolphins was the preferred route and avoided most of the shipping. It was busy around East Head with fleets of ISC keelboats engaged in close racing and pleasure craft making the most of the good weather. The majority of the rally made their way back to their moorings or berths in Chichester whilst Parity put into Gosport and met up with Martin from Frith for a Chinese meal at The Wall.

Sue Pearson
Fairwind of Dell Quay

 

If you would like to join us on a rally, the next one is on Saturday 24 June. Martin Watson will be leading a Chichester Harbour cruise for all those who would like to explore the harbour and spend a night aboard in a marina close by. There are further details on the website about this.

On Saturday 8 July there will be another opportunity to visit the Beaulieu River closely followed by a rally on Tuesday 11 to Lymington nearby. Why not combine both and maybe take in Newtown River or Yarmouth for an extended cruise in the western Solent.

If you fancy journeying further afield, the second cross channel rally sets off early on Thursday 13 July.

 


 

 

Dell Quay Sailing Club, Rally to Shepard's Wharfe Cowes.

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I found out that Dick could not join this rally; John had sent an email to those who had signed up asking for a new leader so I said I would help out. After telephoning the marinas up the Medina, Shepard’s Wharf was the only one to answer, so the booking was made.

There were 5 boats signed up, but Richard and Mavis Crew-It had a launching problem and I suggested he joined Eric on White Magic who did not have a crew.

The weather for the weekend was favourable and off we set. The wind was mostly on the noise and there was a good tide against me making the trip down the harbour a very slow one. Once past West Pole I raised all sails but with one reef in. It was a very tight close haul to the gap in the barrier and from there the wind veered a bit making it even harder so the rest of the way was a motor sail.

When I got to Shepard’s Wharf I saw Frith was already tied up. We were asked to move to the south pontoon.

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The next to arrive was Ian in Desiree, closely followed by Tony and crew in Blue Movie. I had heard Eric in White Magic on the VHF so we were now back to 5 boats. Eric arrived just as we were enjoying a drink and nibbles, he and Richard joined in.

We were unable to find a Pub to accommodate us but then saw the Chippy was still open so eight of us enjoyed what I would say was the best haddock and chips I have had for a long time. Tony, John and Sasha went for a drink whilst the rest of us walked to the sea front and back to the Island Sailing Club where we were made very welcome; we also found our DQSC burgee hanging from the walls. It was then time to turn in after a nightcap on board.

Sunday morning brought bright sunshine and a westerly wind F2 –F4.

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The first boat left about 08:30, I slipped at 09:05 and had a brilliant down wind sail with goose winging and sailing just off a dead run with lots of gybing. I got back about 13:00 and had text message from the rest saying they were also back.

I would like to thank them for great company and a great weekend; it was just a shame that Dick had to pull out.     

Phil Scott

Friday’s Child


 
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