Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Drascombe Association: Chichester Rally, 27-30 May, 2016

Sunset over Chichester Marina
This was my first visit to Chichester Harbour and its environs; a Drascombe Association rally seemed too good an opportunity to miss.  It really is a splendid Drascombing location and it's not difficult to see why south coast Drascombers enjoy this location as much as they do.  We were based in Chichester Marina which provides lock-based access to the harbour.  
The marina is extremely well-appointed and, perhaps unsurprisingly, wasn't cheap, although we apparently had a special weekend deal - three days for £60, berthing, slipway use and car/trailer parking.

Winds for the three days were northerly, the weather being truly exceptional for the first two days of sailing.

The following video gives a flavour of the event.

Most boats arrived either by land or by sea on Friday 27th May.  Work commitments and bank holiday traffic delayed my arrival until very late that same evening, so I slept aboard with the boat on the trailer and launched at 7am the following morning.
Slipway at Chichester Marina

The rally involved two days of sailing around the harbour with visits to East Head on Saturday and the Thorney Channel on Sunday; at this point, the rally ended with some leaving, others planning an extended cruise as a postlude.  Despite a forecast of increasing winds, I tagged on a solo trip taking in the Emsworth Channel on the Monday morning before recovering the boat and trailing home.

Overall track 46.9nm: yellow (Saturday) 15.7nm; red (Sunday) 14.5nm; green (Monday) 16.7nm.
This was a first opportunity to try out my new chart plotter, the Garmin Echomap 45dv.  It also has the potential for attaching a transducer and this may well interest me in due course since my current echo sounder has broken down.  However, as can be seen from the tracks, the chart plotter is working well and has lots of interesting functions with which I should spend time gaining familiarity.

Saturday 28th May - trip to East Head
Unusually, I had the pleasure of company in the guise of the Chair of the Association, over from Ireland without boat.  We sailed downstream for a planned lunchtime anchorage off East Head before my crew jumped ship to join the ex-Chair in his boat.

I beat a passage upstream as far as Del Quay before retiring to the marina.
Dabber action!

Saturday track: 15.7nm
Sunday 29th May - trip up the Thorney Channel
Today's trip involved a trip up the Thorney Channel aiming, amongst other things, to catch a glimpse of seals.  In the event, we saw one, although of these wonderful creatures are such a common sight in my usual sailing areas, I wasn't disappointed.  Again, I had company for the trip to Thorney and back.  
Lunchtime anchorage off the Thorney Channel
Having parted company with crew mid-afternoon, I anchored off Copperas Point for a while, watching boats on their way up to Dell Quay before setting off myself under full (albeit not particularly well-set) main for another beat past Dell Quay, retiring once again to the marina for supper.
Coasters Blue Peter and Nonsuch rafting up off Copperas Point
Amongst other entertainment in the evening, I admired nesting birds using the boom ends of the two neighbouring boats to my own - footage of this can be seen in the video above.  I wonder how often those boats are used...

Sunday track: 14.5nm
Monday 30th May - solo trip up the Emsworth Channel
Freshening winds were forecast today so, with the rally now officially ended, I departed early aiming to take in the western wing of the harbour - the Emsworth Channel.
I sailed with the ebb along to East Head before rounding the corner just off Hayling Island.  Now pointing into the wind and against the ebbing tide, I resorted to motor for the long northerly trip up to Emsworth.  Once there, I thought about stopping at the visitor jetty but decided the strengthening breeze merited an early return to base - there would be plenty to do, hauling out the boat ahead of a three and a half hour road trip back home.
Waiting for 'lock-in' at Chichester Marina
Monday track: 16.7nm


  1. Now that looks like fun!!

    1. Indeed it was, Curt! Many thanks for reading and commenting!