Drying out in Ryde

It’s time to test out the true potential and one of the main reasons I bought Seraphim. With a lifting keel and the ability to lower the draft from 2.2 metre to 0.7 m, I decided on a trip to Ryde, accompanied by my friend Jacque.

The day before departure, I called Ryde a harbour, to check out accessibility and draw on local knowledge, always an invaluable asset. This was readily given by Shaun, the harbour master at Ryde. The main problem was the slitting on the right of the entrance, and the other advice was to not necessary stick to the buoyed channel. The buoyed channel, is primarily used to avoid the hovercraft and not for depth. I was advised to make my way from the end of Ryde Pier, and head straight for the entrance, which is what we did.

We slipped lines at 0923 and causally entered the River Hamble and the raised sails and headed to our destination.

Jacque at the helm, leaving Universal
Tides at Ryde on the 15th of May 2021

We arrived at Ryde Pier at 1230, two hours before high water Ryde, and gingerly made our way towards the entrance. Depth dropped to 1.1m and we made notes of times and height of tide, to aide our departure, the next day.

Ryde Pier on the right and Ryde Harbour to the left of this picture

True to Shaun’s word, the entrance was indeed silted up and we had to stick as closely as possible to the green mark when entering, to avoid the build up of sand on our port side.

Ryde harbour entrance, with sand spit clearly visible on left of entrance.
The silted entrance to Ryde Harbour. A narrow and tricky entrance.

Once in the harbour, we reversed into our space on the visitors pontoon, and put Seraphim to rest in her new temporary home.

Reversing into our pontoon, with Jacque casually stepping off the stern.
Aerial view of Ryde Harbour. The blue mark show the visitors pontoon and approximate position of Seraphim.
Seraphim at her berth.
Almost no water

I happened to have friends , Monika and Marcin, who sailed to Bembridge the same day and we arranged to meet for a drink and lunch in a delightful pub called the Boathouse, in Puckpool, not far from Seaview. Needless to say they joined us for drinks on Seraphim after lunch.

Seraphim at sunset

The following day we have to wait for the tide to permit our exit, so we took the opportunity to take a walk through Ryde.

Our entrance route,now completely dried out
The hover port
Appley Tower
Appley Beach
All Saints Church
Art Deco hotel

It wasn’t until 1330, that we had enough water to venture out. The wind was a Force 6, which aided our turn out of our berth, but we had to be pretty careful manoeuvring through the exit of the harbour, especially as we had both the keel and rudder raised. We managed it without issue and had a cracking sail back to Southampton in squalls and F7 winds. Seraphim handled beautifully and the sail was exhilarating and a perfect finish to a perfect weekend.

Sailing back in a Force 7, fantastic

Honolee Launch

Another early start, as I promised Warren a hand with the re launch of his yacht, Honolee. I left home at 0540 and with a stop for fuel and breakfast arrived at Keyhaven just before 0800, for an 0830 launch, we were to be the first launch of the day. Needless to say, West Solent Boat Builders, were working to their schedule and not that of their customers. They had a small lifting keel yacht in their sling, trying to free a jammed keel with a sledge hammer. So we had a coffee and Keyhaven Sailing Club.

We were eventually launched at 0940and after the usual engine check and re fitting of lazy jacks were on our way and winding our way through the small, unmarked channel and towards the Solent.

Honolee, pre launch
I view fro Keyhaven Yacht Club, looking south towards the Solent
A quick hello from a local friend
In she goes, with Warren looking on in anticipation
On our way, with Keyhaven in the distance
The U.K. buoyed channel, with a string of yachts marking the way
Hurst Castle, partially collapsed and being re built
The spit at the entrance/exit
The Lymington ferry, leaving for the IOW
Me, preparing mooring lines
A perfect entry
And we’re in. Me stepping off
Lymington Town Sailing Club, where Warren is a member and where we booked our lunch stop.
1230. Our outside dinning area. Where we had a wonderful lunch of Chowder, smocked haddock on a bed of potatoes and spinach and apple crumble off course, downed with a nice bitter. Thank you Warren.

Portsmouth with Paul

I was very kindly invited by my friend Paul, to join him for a couple of days on Izzy Wizzy.

Izzy Wizzy at her berth at Gosport Marina

Views of Gosport Marina and Spinnaker Tower

I arrived at Gosport marina at 0830 and explored the marina and surroundings before meeting up with Paul. Our two Aircraft Carriers were in port and looked magnificent against the scenic and historic background of Portsmouth. It’s an amazing, magical city, steeped with history. The Historic Dockyards are a must if you visit. https://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/

Paul, wanted to brush of the cobwebs, and we decided to sail to the Nab Tower, neither of us had been before. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nab_Tower

We slipped lines at 0940 and couldn’t resist a sail pass by our carriers, which were both leaving for duties and exercises. The Queen Elizabeth to the South China Seas and the prince of Wales to Scotland.

Prince of Wales and Queen Elizabeth

View as leaving Portsmouth

We then motored out of Portsmouth, which is always filled with much emotions. One cant help thinking about the centuries of activity in this extremely important Naval base. Glimpses of memories flooded back to me of my first visit in 1969, when I was only 9, on a school trip, “Little Ealing Junior School”

We had a mixture of sailing and motoring to the Nab Tower, passing the Solent Napoleonic Forts. https://welcometoportsmouth.co.uk/solent_forts.html

One of the Napoleonic Forts

Nab Tower

Lunch on the go, extremely delicious, infarct I thought it was home made

Paul, reversing Izzy Wizzy into her berth

Royal Clarence

Light snack and beer at Arty’s , Royal Clarence Marina

We returned back to Gosport at 1545 and relaxed with a walk to Clarence Marina for a pint and snack, before returning to Izzy Wizzy, for a relaxing evening with a wonderful meal presented by Paul.





Wootton Creek

After being in Portsmouth for a few days and seeing both the Queen Elizabeth and the Prince of Wales, I had a notion to see them departing Portsmouth harbour. After checking the Portsmouth VTS website, I discovered that the departure of the Queen Elizabeth was schedules for the 1st of May at 1550.

The evening of the 30th of April, I texted some new friends, ” Monika and Marcin” and asked them if they were interested. They immediately agreed, now the decision was on which boat??

Their yacht, “Spellbound of Narnia”, is based in Southsea, which has a cill gate, and restricted access times, whereas, Seraphim, at Universal is only minimally limited at extreme low water during spring tides. And so, it was decided to go on Seraphim.

I drove down to Universal at 0600, stopping en route to get provisions for or trip. I later found out that Monika had made a chicken cassoulet. So we had plenty of options.

Seraphim at her berth in the early mooring of the 1st of May

Monika and Marcin promptly arrived at 1000, and after showing them around Seraphim, doing a safety brief and having some coffee and cake, we slipped lines at 1105.  We gently made our way into the Hamble river and upstream into Southampton Water.

Monika, Marcin and me, in the River Hamble having just left Universal.

Surprisingly, the wind picked up and as we entered Southampton Water we raised Seraphim’s sails and entered the peaceful world of wind and waves.

As we crossed the Solent and neared the Isle of Wight, we noticed the ferries entering and leaving Wootton Creek. I reminisced the last time I had been here, several years ago in Yaga. I suggested we change our plan and go into Wootton Creek for lunch. The reasoning was that waiting for the Queen Elizabeth would mean we would come back close to low water and that’s without any delays.

So we started our entry into Wootton Creek by approaching the North Cardinal mark and then following the buoyed channel. We made it just before the ferry started to make here way into the channel. We moored up at the end of the visitors pontoon at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club.

In the channel, approaching Wootton Creek

The club was open, indeed this was their first day of serving lunches outside. We decided to forgo our onboard delights and refreshments and partake in a helping of Fish n Chips on the terraces of the club. Such beautiful views and peacefulness, and people milling around, almost made one forget the Covid crisis.

Wootton Creek, as viewed from The Royal Victoria Yacht Club

Seraphim, at her berth – Royal Victoria Yacht Club

After lunch, we slipped lines at 1526 and made our way back, predominantly under sail, to Universal marina. Arriving back at 1840 we reversed Seraphim into her berth. Marcin stepping of the stern, attached our stern line to the dock cleat, whilst I powered forward and brought Seraphim gently into her pontoon.


Sailing back, with the Fawley chimney in sight

A surprise when entering Southampton Water – The Queen Mary II

Monika at the helm, having fun

Having settled Seraphim in, it was time for some light refreshments of beer and wine and discussions about our trip and sailing adventures in general.

Our passage

A most pleasant day and it just goes to show that changing plans can be rewarding, and exciting, an in many way better than the original one.