Chi shake down #2

Another weekend, this time a trip to Chichester and back.

The weather was pretty blustery, and getting out of the berth was a close call as wind and tide were not working in our favour.

Soon as we got far enough out into the Solent it was time to get the main up. I admit I’m a little bit rusty, and within a few minutes we had a bit of a situation. The end of the topping lift was flailing, the reefing lines weren’t taught so were also flapping, we had the IOW ferry coming up one side of us, a few boats around, the fast cat coming back in our direction, and the wind gen was going absolutely berserk as if to fly off the pole at any second. We just held our course whilst the traffic cleared. The topping lift, god knows how, managed to first grab hold of the flag pole like a kraken from the depths of the sea and lift it up up and away. Then having finished with the ensign, the topping lift wrapped itself around the wind gen. After a while we got the situation under control. I untangled the topping lift and then pulled the whole thing down.

We had a pleasing sail to Chi and got into the lock in a less than elegant fashion. The wind gen at this time was deafening, probably not helped by the fact the front cone is damaged and creates a bit of a drag/noise. Tired and bedraggled, I took us for a tour of the marina having misread what berth we were on, but we got in safely, and walked through the fields to the Crown & Anchor in Dell Quay for dinner with Trina’s mum.


The next day was even windier. I quickly climbed the mast and re-threaded the topping lift. My entire weekend to working up the mast a month ago has now paid its way.

We headed out, knowing we’d have to push the tide and face the wind head on most of the way. The harbour was full of dinghy racers, but the real challenge came when we crossed the bar and headed for West Pole. The waves had deep troughs, and short intervals, reminiscent of my trip out of Dover with Oliver, but nowhere near as bad. We rose, we dipped, we smashed through waves at a pretty slow pace. One boat behind us turned around having none it, I didn’t blame him. There’s times I wonder why the heck we bother doing this, stuck to the helm punching through waves and making nothing more than 2.5kts, being tossed around like a cheap 80’s salad in a bowl.


IMG-20170605-WA0003We ended up motoring all the way back to Gosport. I wanted to raise the main, get the genoa out and sail back, but I’ll be honest I just couldn’t be bothered. All I wanted to do was get the boat back in one piece without any damage, recoup and do it all again another day. We lost a fender coming into Portsmouth entrance, and spun round to find 3 old men manning the harbour entrance in a small boat retrieving our lost fender. The guys were hilarious, they must have been in their 70s, but despite the weather they were having a whale of a time on a bumpy blustery Sunday afternoon. After a couple of attempts they managed to get our fender back to us, and we wished them a good day.

We got Excalibur in safely, and packed up.

I’ve taken the wind gen tail off for a respray, and took the Hydrovane rudder home for a anti foul as it’s collected a few new friends in the marina.

Author: Tim Butler

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  • Reply Sailing to Chi for a wedding – Today I bought a boat July 15, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    […] Harves lost a fender just as we were leaving the marina, we tried swinging around but it was drifting towards the big pier which a cargo ship was moored up to. We zipped out of the marina and doubled back on the other side, picking it up whilst border force motored by with a smile on their faces. One fender was retrieved, and no apologies were necessary (I did the same the other week with Trina). […]

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