Out at last

Lockdown and measures to combat CV-19 have meant almost 10 weeks away from Spellbinder. It is never good to leave a yacht for long, particularly when it is in the water, although external checks and latterly one internal check had been carried out on my behalf (thanks Phil and Brad).

The first trip out was with Rupert, and we managed to choose the first rainy day after the best part of eight weeks of delightful unbroken sunshine – what a Spring we have had. It was good to be on the water though. After checking all the systems were working, we motored to Cowes, which looked as if it was still in winter. Mooring alongside a midstream pontoon, we had a good lunch and then took the tide back to Portsmouth, beating into a freshening northeasterly. An unremarkable day’s sailing in normal times, but a great one in this odd period. I experienced a significant sense of release and freedom.

Rupert at the helm
A dull but nonetheless delightful Solent – so good to be back on the water!
Socially distancing on a 12 metre yacht isn’t too hard…
A decent lunch: Pouilly Fumé and garden produce

I had originally planned to take Spellbinder to scrub off at the end of March, but it never happened, for obvious reasons. This weekend allowed me an opportunity, however, and a quick call to the Bosham harbourmaster confirmed they were open for business. I was joined in Gosport by Neil and Molly and we had a pleasant sail up to Chichester in a developing sea breeze, coming alongside Bosham Quay at High Water Springs without difficulty.

The sea breeze helped blow us on
Settling down, waiting for the tide to drop. To make sure Spellbinder leans the right way (into the wall) I put the boom across, and if necessary take the spinnaker halyard across and apply leaning pressure using a winch
Fishing waders prove useful to get a head start
A happy skipper, reunited with the bottom of his yacht
My Gori 3-bladed prop needed some maintenance: I gave it a good polish, and I replaced the anodes along with the rubber end stops
Thank you Neil and Molly for pressure washing the hull, and for enjoying playing with the toy! At the 2 metre socially distant minimum distance, I was still in range…

People often ask me why I don’t just pay a yard to do this sort of work. The answer is simple: doing this puts me in touch with my yacht, and I get to know her better. It makes me a better sailor, and is, of course, far cheaper. But it’s also fun and sociable, and without the need to paint thanks to Spellbinder’s Coppercoat, an easy and quick process.

It took us two hours, and once done we were able to enjoy drinks with local friends. Lifting off without difficulty at High Water, we had an excellent reach back to Portsmouth in a light northerly, enjoying the greater speed through the water which comes from having a clean hull and prop.

After Neil and Molly departed, I completed some remaining jobs on board, and Spellbinder is now ready for her season. Original plans have obviously been much changed, and where she will sail will depend entirely on the easing of CV-19 restrictions and quarantine impositions. I hope, though, to range the English Channel, and visit the West Country and Channel Islands. Ireland is still a possibility, and I haven’t entirely excluded the idea of leaving Spellbinder somewhere warm for the winter…

5 thoughts on “Out at last

  1. François Menagé

    Real pleasure reading your posts. Plunges me right back to roughly this time last year and to the BVI to Bermuda leg.
    Merveilleux cher ami!

    François Menagé
    Balzac Real Estate Investment Management
    T : + 33 (0) 1 53 93 23 53
    M: + 33 (0) 6 07 42 16 54
    E: francois.menage@balzac-reim.com
    112, avenue Kléber 75116 Paris
    Please note Balzac REIM’s new address is
    112, Avenue Kléber, 75116 Paris

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Neil

    Thanks Spellbinding for another fun trip. Short, but felt like we’d been on board for much longer, work, but felt like play, and Socially Distanced, but still great company.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Neil R

    Glad you’re back on the water and good to see images of a boat I know- I’ve been overdosing on random sailing videos on you tube during lock down!

    Liked by 1 person

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