Handover: Wednesday 20 - Thursday 21 February 2002
Sparkes' Marina, Chichester Harbour, to Port Hamble Marina, Hamble
(Click on any of the photographs below to see a larger image)
Delivery Trip from Chichester Harbour to the Hamble
After handover, we, the owners, had to take Bagadeus to Port Hamble Marina, Hamble, for final fitting out and charter coding. This relatively short (20 mile) trip was planned originally for handover day, Wednesday 20th February 2002.
However the weather was not good on 20th February. High winds were forecast and experienced all day - we saw gusts of up to 40 knots on bagadeus' anemometer for most of the day and evening. The reported sea state was 'rough to very rough'. Conditions over the Chichester Harbour bar would be dangerous; it was, all in all, weather in which yachts like Bagadeus stayed in port and waited for better weather.
A small high pressure ridge was forecast to form early on Thursday and was expected to last into the afternoon, during which the wind would drop to F3/4 and veer to north/northwest, before another depression arrived with the wind backing and increasing again to F8/9. North/northwest would mean that there was no fetch to the waves, and the sea should quieten considerably. Consistent with the this, the sea state during the weather window was forecast to be "slight to moderate" - perfectly satisfactory for the short trip round to the Hamble.
The weather forecasts were watched keenly using the Navtex receiver on Bagadeus. At one stage on Wednesday evening the forecast weather window dropped out of the forecasts, causing some concern. However by midnight the temporary high pressure ridge was back in the forecasts. The inshore waters forecast at 00:48 predicted that the ridge would form during the morning and last until the afternoon.
And so it transpired. From around 04:00 hrs. on Thursday morning the wind dropped and turned northerly; a few hours of this wind would almost certainly mean a quiet sea with no problems over the bar.
After some final checks Bagadeus departed Sparkes' Marina at 10:30 at low water, albeit neaps. Over the hump in the approach channel to the marina the echo sounder was indicating 0.1/0.2 m, and at one point dropped to zero (the echo sounder had been set with a 2m offset and Bagadeus draws 1.85m, so at that point she had 15 cm or less below her keel).
There was about 0.5m at the lowest over the bar. The new chartplotter was a great help in crossing the bar; using the plotter display in front of the helmsman it was relatively easy to steer so as to keep the little boat symbol which marked our position over the deepest part of the channel. We had already entered a route into the chartplotter (West Pole - Winner - Horse Sand Fort - Browndown - North Channel eastern entrance - Reach - Hamble Point). Having passed West Pole beacon we turned onto course for the Winner buoy. It was important not to drift north of the track because of the Winner Bank shallows, so we engaged the autopilot's 'track' function to ensure we maintained the planned track over the ground direct to the buoy. This worked well - the "rolling road" GPS display confirmed we were keeping exactly on track.
The sea was calm as anticipated, but the wind, although only F3, was heading us so we continued on engine. the Winner buoy duly appeared ahead and we turned onto the track for Horse Sand Fort. Around this, and on to Browndown. By this stage we had switched on the radar. We encountered, as frequently in the Solent, a ferry which presented a possible collision risk so we invoked the radar's MARPA (Mini Automatic Radar Plotting Aid) capability, now standard in the Plus range of Raymarine radars. The results were impressive - see the box below for details.
As we entered the North Channel into Southampton Water, the wind began to back and increase. The weather window was clearly coming to an end, but no matter - we were now in relatively sheltered waters. We briefly tried the sails and were impressed. The main went up easily, and the single line reefing system is extremely easy to use; it is operated entirely from the cockpit - no need to go on deck to reef.
Finally to Hamble Point buoy for the turn into the Hamble river, and to Port Hamble Marina. Bagadeus was left in the care of her Charter Agents for charter coding work. She is currently available for charter from Hamble Point Yacht Charters at Hamble Point Marina.
MARPA Tracking - an illustration
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