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.
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.
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…