Coastal Skipper Course 30 Sept – 5 Oct 2012
This was to be a full on course with 4 students completing Coastal Skipper (Alex, Alison, Pat & Guy) and one very able Competent Crew (Ray). It’s very unusual to have so many students doing Coastal Skipper so it was to be a very hard but rewarding week particularly on Thurs with strong
winds forecast.

During the week each student took turns in skippering Ultra (Bavaria 36) which was the norm on RYA courses, with 4 students all completing the same Coastal Skipper course it was a challenge for me to firstly allow each of them to complete 2 passages each and secondly to find a passage which would challenge them as potential Coastal Skippers. With the high winds forecast and the challenges of interesting harbours in The Solent we were able to complete the syllabus in the Yachtmaster Scheme log book G15 including rigging the storm jib when heavy weather sailing. Alison skippered the yacht on our night sail from Cowes to Gosport which was a very exhilarating downwind sail which everyone enjoyed very much. The following day Guy  took us from Gosport to Bembridge which has its own depth related problems and we sailed on to a buoy outside the harbour to wait for sufficient water before entering the channel, just enough time to have a brew. After lunch Alex sailed us off the pontoon to Yarmouth which was quite a long beat to windward arriving just as it was getting dark, it was Alison’s turn to pick up a buoy under sail, both main and head sail were used as the tide was building in strength.

Thursday was a return to Poole under Pat’s leadership after a morning in Yarmouth Harbour pontoon bashing ( I am pleased to say not a lot of bashing went on ) during our passage to Poole a distance of about 20nm we heard repeated forecasts of a SWF9 so it was important to arrive in Poole although the winds were not due until the early hours of the following day. It was decided to anchor off Goathorn Point behind Brownsea Island where we thought that there would be ample shelter from the forecast winds, how wrong we were, both Alex, Pat and myself are regular sailors in the harbour so knew the area very well and were quite surprised at what was to come. After a very enjoyable sail across from The Solent we again sailed on to a mooring buoy off Brownsea Castle again in the dark, this was all good practice for the Coastal Skippers. We motored down South Deep and anchored off Goathorn Point, had our evening meal and retired for the night. At about midnight the wind arrived and the yacht sneered at anchor it was very difficult to sleep, at 2am we checked our position and pat recorded the wind strength on his hand held  anemometer which recorded winds of 49.4 knts, we had dragged our anchor into the channel. It was time to go, we got dressed weighed anchor which wasn’t easy and (myself at the helm) repositioned the yacht on substantial mooring buoy in The Witch Channel in the lee of Brownsea Island. We retired for the second time that night at 4am.

The wind went as quickly as it came, we woke just before 8 on Fri morning to a very pleasant day, after breakfast we completed then week with a sail from our mooring, up The North Channel, joining the main channel past the ferry terminal, sailing up to Rockley before returning in time to catch the 1230 bridge back to Cobbs Quay.