Poole Jolly Cruise - Nearly Not So Jolly!

Crystella off Old HarryDouble Vision off Swanage BayCrystella just hanging on to the light breeze off Kimmeridge BayDouble Vision heading for Worbarrow Bay

With an almost perfect weather forecast taken down, it was Alchemy, Double Vision and Crystella that slipped their moorings on the Saturday morning for what should be a delightful weekend cruise in company to Poole. With clear skies, an already warming sun and a fresh northerly it wasn't long before we were clear of the sleeping cruise liners. As we all know, forecasts often have a habit of not sticking to the script, and so it was that the F3/4 gusting 5 was turning into F5/6 gusting 7 as witnessed by John Arnold on Alchemy's wind instrument hitting the 30 knot mark, time to reef!

It was then that the first sign of trouble came along. John lowered his main to reef, then on re-hoisting realised that half the luff sliders had slipped out of the bottom of the mast luff groove. With the sea state as it was, the strong gusts and being single-handed, this was no time to be messing around at the mast. John managed to bag the main of sorts and proceeded to motor the rest of the way to Poole missing out on an exhilarating beam reach. Meanwhile Double Vision and Crystella creamed along past Anvil Point where the wind moderated.

The second spot of trouble occurred just before the main channel into Poole harbour. Double Vision had the foresight to put the engine on, however, on turning the key there was nothing, the batteries were as flat as a dab! Having informed the coastguard of their predicament, and with Alchemy and Crystella with tow rope at the ready, both in close company, Double Vision proceeded to sail towards the harbour entrance. Now, bearing in mind it was the height of summer and the middle of a busy Saturday, the narrow entrance to Poole harbour could only be described as chaotic! There was every type of vessel imaginable, including those irritating buzzy things (I think they call them Jet-skis), going in every possible direction, not to mention the chain ferry! However the crew of Double Vision expertly negotiated the melee in the entrance under full sail and light wind without incident. I guess they heaved a great sigh of relief as they came into the wider expanse of the harbour and to be met and towed into Poole Quay Boat Haven marina by the harbour master, well done to Colin, Jacqui and David.

With us all safely in the marina it still wasn't time to settle down to that well deserved cool drink, time to get things fixed and also move Alchemy and Crystella both twice due to two marina staff not knowing what the other was doing! At last, time to chill, well not really, the thermometer was heading towards the high twenties!! An excellent dinner was taken at La Lupa Italian Restaurant on the quay, with many a story told in fine company.

The next day we awoke to glorious sunshine and the glorious aroma of many a yachtsman's favourite breakfast, the bacon sandwich, thanks John. Well, they say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, so we did. We decided to depart around 8am to take advantage of the forecast north easterly which was due to diminish by lunchtime, which it duly did. Once clear of the harbour entrance Alchemy and Crystella goose-winged gracefully down to Durlston Head before turning onto a good reach. Meanwhile Double Vision hoisted their colourful spinnaker which they carried until St Albans Head, what breeze there was, now being forward of the beam. Alchemy continued on home whilst Crystella and Double Vision headed for Worbarrow Bay where they anchored for a few hours in crystal clear water. After a good swim, refreshments and relaxation it was time to leave for home, unfortunately there was no wind by now. Thank goodness for a good engine when you need one !!!

Now that's what cruising is all about, why not come and join us. Check out the Cruising Web page.

Ray Capp
Cruising Coordinator

Submitted on Wednesday, 12th August