About a green forest, a pressure cooker and a Swiss salami…

16. – 23. april 2011
Friday, 15. April, we flew to the big island, looking forward to the cruise on the new twin engines Motoryacht of CCS. A training cruise is planned; with the skipper Marc on board, who is as well the manager of ROLLING SWISS II, we expect some instructive days. The Trader 42 boat emerged as quite spacious and the interior accessories; we wouldn’t dream about. Everything else, but made in China?! We really are surprised.

Marc introduces us to the first movements with intuition and patience. We learn how to turn the boat on place without moving the rudder; just leaving it in its center position. Surprising the possibilities of a two engine drive. Later in the day we went further to explore the northern area of Portsmouth harbor. Quite strange, the chart doesn’t fit with what we see around us. What do these damned green colored areas mean? There is only water around us, no forest at all. After a little while it suddenly dawned on us: areas can fall dry. Well two sweet-water pilots learnt a lesson.

Video, mpg, 19MB): missing the forest

Some hours later in the Medina River near Cowes on the Isle of Wigh, the next challenge is waiting for us. Well, In fact we already managed the real problem in the evening before. We had to calculate, if there is enough water to avoid grounding near Folly Inn at low water during spring tide. Very strange, the club’s forms we were used to looked different than we remembered – so many tables on the front and the back of the sheet. Even our battle-hardened ships engineer Max got into trouble. However, trying hard we found the right solution. Around 18:00h, launching on the jetty we got the confirmation: just enough.

The following days, we went back and fore on the Solent, between the “Big Island” and the Isle of Wight. There was one evening to enjoy the enchanting nature of Newton River, another day the cruising on the Beaulieu River or visiting the charming little town of Yarmouth and also fascinated by the white color of the Needles at the western end of the Isle of Wight. We were cruising in a real nice area indeed, not that bad South England. However there was a nice summer temperature and no rain at all during the whole week, might be a contribution to our good feeling.

Always very busy on maneuvering we progressed quite well, at least this is the opinion of the writer. The only point where some doubts remain is: Easing the boat against a spring line is still not very clear and subject of discussions. More than once the spherical fender did a good job to protect the bow, poor chap. At the middle of the week we were asked by Trader motor yachts Ltd to run some fuel consumption tests by single engine operation. At the side of the fairway we went up and down the Solent maneuvering between two buoys by running the engines under different rpm’s. At the end had established the requested measuring report and some of the crew felt remembered the old times, when doing test runs on big Sulzer Marine Diesel Engines. One following our exercise by AIS might have caused astonishments and head nodding.

The highlight of our journey has been saved for the end of the week. A night cruise down the River Hamble near Southampton and back to Haslar Marina in Portsmouth. Starting little after 22:00. we sailed downstream in direction to the fairway for the big vessels. Downstream, green on portside, no problem you think. However since the whole river presents as one big marina, lights are blinking and flashing from every side; quite challenging. In addition the wind shields are mirroring and even a little filmed over. Not to figure out what would happen on a rainy or foggy day and some heavy waves. Lying back buoy by buoy we more safely at our berth in the marina near 01:30. Very instructive indeed, even for our skipper, who intensively observed the radar. Finally we found a reason to slice our Swiss Salami brought along, to drink a glass of wine and go to sleep rather late.

Video (mpg, 16MB): approaching Portsmouth by night

Then the last day is left to prepare the ship for the next crew. Given that the boat leaves the area, Marc gets Trader for the very last remaining guarantee works to be fixed. Ourselves twiddling around the soundless Navtex, but were not really successful. The pressure cooker sent by Marc from Switzerland by post to the Marina unfortunately remains untraceable – stranded somewhere in a depot in the UK. Before saying goodbye to first crew members we had a nice dinner at Gunwharf Quays. Finally everything comes to an end and each of us looks forward to see his family to spend some time on the upcoming Easter holidays – even though we were just in good mood for our next cruise on ROLLING SWISS II.
By Christoph, crew member of CCS Cruise 08-2011-16

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