Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cruise of the ‘Aziz’ a Pioneer 9 Part 5

A day’s rest was in order. Hayling Island Sailing Club allowed me to stay on their visitors’ mooring free of charge. That evening I took the opportunity for having a super walk along the foreshore. The next day at 0915 I slipped the mooring and with the help of the ebb and a Force 3 from the northwest I steered ‘Aziz’ south. By the use of transits astern I kept her to the centre of the deepwater channel that leads to the Chichester Bar Beacon. According to the Cruising Association Handbook I could expect to find there ample depth of water for ‘Aziz’, especially as the tide had not long been on the ebb.

Nab Tower on a fine day

Two hours later we were fair romping towards Bembridge Ledge Buoy off the eastern end of the Isle of Wight. I was not in the least concerned about the defunct engine, as I had previously cruised yachts without them. My Pioneer 9 was so responsive and well-behaved that I felt at ease in the trickiest of situations. She could be brought around on a sixpence, and yet she could hold her course with the touch of a finger. Her Haslar self-steering gear was wonderfully effective, so as to leave me free to navigate, cook a meal or simply relax and enjoy the passing scenery. We were not hassled by ships as we sailed south of the buoyed fairway channel. The Nab Tower was a convenient marker as to where that was.

Freshwater Bay

Closeup of the Needles Lighthouse

Anchored in Swanage Bay

While heading across Sandown Bay the wind came in from astern, and by 1517 when we were about a mile south of St. Catherine’s Point we felt the true wind from the northwest. This steady Force 3 made for fantastic sailing towards Swanage Bay where we anchored in 4.9 metres. The time was 1927. Handfast Point to the north provided protection from the wind. I took a bearing of Peveril Point and another of Swanage Pier. These gave me the yacht’s position which I plotted on the chart. If she were to drag her anchor, the bearings would accordingly change.

We could not sail first thing on Monday, 7th July because of fog. This did not clear until mid-day when I weighed anchor. The forecast was for a Force 3 from the northeast. There was hardly any wind, but I wanted to get going. Progress was extremely slow, and at 1500 ‘Aziz’ was becalmed off St. Alban’s Head, which was not the nicest place to be. A fellow with a Seal 22 offered us a tow into Chapman’s Pool where I anchored in 3.5 metres. Having nothing better to do I practiced using the sextant until teatime. As I sat in the cockpit I was entertained by a man and a girl lifting lobster pots. For all their labour they caught five beauties.

All night there was calm. I broke out the anchor at 0610 on the 8th July to slowly sail south. I was prevented from sailing west on account of the Lulworth Firing Range. In any case, I needed to make southing because I was to sail around Portland Bill, and by mid afternoon the yacht was on her way but very slowly, since there was just a zephyr. Fog overhauled us from astern as we were drawn towards it by the tide and away from Portland. All was quiet except for the rustling of sails. By late evening the fog had lifted to reveal a mirror-like sea.

We didn’t make any progress until 0230 on the morning of Wednesday, 9th July. By 0500 we were due south of Portland Bill. A warship and a helicopter kept moving around us, kicking up a racket. Our speed oscillated between 1.5 and 3.4 knots for most of the day. Cumulus hovered over land to the north, but out at sea there was relentless sunshine.

Eventually we drifted into Brixham Harbour where I picked up a buoy at 2220, but I didn’t trust the metal loop at the top of the buoy so I shackled my own chain to the chain below it. At least that way we were secure.

Text for the Day

Romans 8:25 ‘But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.’

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