Chichester and the Solent – family and friends

Thursday 5th September – An evening in Itchenor

With David Allison in the Ship Inn at Itchenor - a welcome and totally unexpected reunion.

With David Allison in the Ship Inn at Itchenor – a welcome and totally unexpected reunion.

David Allison meets us at the jetty and we walk up the Ship Inn in Itchenor. We have not seen David or his family for several years but we enjoyed them as neighbours for several years when we all lived at Blanchcroft in Melbourne. David and Lisa came sailing with us on Sundart nine years ago. They moved to Northamptonshire about two years ago.

The High Street at itchenor - traditional brick, flint and thatched houses line the street.

The High Street at itchenor – traditional brick, flint and thatched houses line the street.

The Ship Inn is busy but we find a table and order fish and chips all round. We have much to catch up on. It turns out that the big boat sailing bug bit and they are now on their second boat – a Southerly 110 moored at Chichester Marina. David works for himself as a company doctor and with a number of other enterprises with like minded people. Lisa qualified as a homeopath but also works with David. Their daughter is now nine – Lisa was poorly whilst sailing with us which was thought to be mal de mer but it now transpires was just morning sickness! We are glad it did not put her off sailing.

The Northshore boat yard at Itchenor, best known for their Southerly range of lift-keel yachts but also producers of other makes including Vancouver.

The Northshore boat yard at Itchenor, best known for their Southerly range of lift-keel yachts but also producers of other makes including Vancouver.

Supper over, David offers to show us their boat which to too tempting to refuse so he drives us to the marina. The boat (Spirit of Solent) is splendid – in great condition. They have just spent a six week holiday on her and even spend Christmas on her!

Too soon it is time to return to Sundart as David has to drive back to Northamptonshire.

Friday 6th September – A day around Chichester Harbour

The Hard at Itchenor is at the end of the little High Street and allows launching of boats at all tides. The harbour master's office is in the centre of the picture. This was once a busy commercial port but is now a busy yachting centre.

The Hard at Itchenor is at the end of the little High Street and allows launching of boats at all tides. The harbour master’s office is in the centre of the picture. This was once a busy commercial port but is now a busy yachting centre.

Looking up the river from Itchenor - shore to shore boats. This is multi-millionaires territory if you want a waterside property. We heard of one such property changing hands recently for over £2.4 million, only for the perfectly acceptable house to be demolished and a new, larger one built.

Looking up the river from Itchenor – shore to shore boats. This is multi-millionaires territory if you want a waterside property. We heard of one such property changing hands recently for over £2.4 million, only for the perfectly acceptable house to be demolished and a new, larger one built.

We sleep until after 9 and are awoken by the harbour master’s assistant knocking on the side of the boat for the harbour dues.

Our friends Ros and Terry O’Connor have kindly arranged to visit us today. They duly arrive at Itchenor a bit earlier than we had expected so it is a rush to get ready and off the boat. Ros’s cousin Adrian is the Deputy Harbourmaster at Itchenor so she has already had a chat with him in the harbour office.

Ros and terry O'Connor at the Anchor Bleu pub at Bosham. They kindly visited us and ferried us around the area

Ros and terry O’Connor at the Anchor Bleu pub at Bosham. They kindly visited us and ferried us around the area

The back of the Anchor Bleu at Bosham with Ros and terry and Janet. There is normally a road to the right.

The back of the Anchor Bleu at Bosham with Ros and terry and Janet. There is normally a road to the right.

The weather forecast is for overcast wet weather but this seems to have blown through overnight so Ros and Terry drive us round to Bosham where we have a coffee at the Anchor Inn. It is a spring tide today so we watch the tide cover the road between the village and the harbour.

The flood prevention door on the sea side of the Anchor Bleu pub, Bosham

The flood prevention door on the sea side of the Anchor Bleu pub, Bosham

High spring tide at Bosham - the sign says it all.

High spring tide at Bosham – the sign says it all.

The pub has some strong watertight doors on the river side and most of the houses have permanent barricades across the doors or very short doors with high steps to protect them against high tides. Global warming is a real threat here!

The road flooded at High Tide at Bosham

The road flooded at High Tide at Bosham by the cafe

The front doors at Bosham with their very high stone doorsteps to guard against flooding at high spring tides. The door opening ends up at not much more than four feet high.

The front doors at Bosham with their very high stone doorsteps to guard against flooding at high spring tides. The door opening ends up at not much more than four feet high.

Coffee taken, we walk around the harbour. It is pretty and quaint with traditional flint and brick built buildings and also some weather boarded buildings including the old tide mill which now serves as the yacht club. John fancies taking Sundart up to Bosham to dry out against the piles at the quay and inquires about the costs from the Quay master. These are high, like many things in this part of the world.

Spring high tide at Bosham harbour. The weatherboarded building is the current Bosham yacht Club and was formerly a tide mill. The area is under the administration of the Bosham Hundred and Manor which dates back to at least 1248.

Spring high tide at Bosham harbour. The weatherboarded building is the current Bosham yacht Club and was formerly a tide mill. The area is under the administration of the Bosham Hundred and Manor which dates back to at least 1248.

Bosham church is a classic flint, stone and tile construction of this area

Holy Trinity Church at Bosham is a classic flint, stone and tile construction of this area and dates back to Saxon times.

The quay is owned by the “Hundred and Manor of Bosham” – a kickback to feudal times when the manorial hundred was the standard way the land was divided up.

We decide to lunch at the café on the front and enjoy some excellent sandwiches. Lunch taken, we decide on a walk round East Head at the entrance to Chichester Harbour so we are driven round there.

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A famous resident of West Wittering

A famous resident of West Wittering

Gerald Marcuse was a local pioneer of radio, being the first to transmit short wave radio programmes to the Commonwealth in 1927 from his station 2NM in Catrham, Surrey. He later made the first radio telegraph contact to California, Brazil and New Zealand

Gerald Marcuse was a local pioneer of radio, being the first to transmit short wave radio programmes to the Commonwealth in 1927 from his station 2NM in Caterham, Surrey. He later made the first radio telegraph contact to California, Brazil and New Zealand

East Head is a popular mooring area at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, although some of the berths dry. The stone in the foreground is some of the recent coastal protection works, although it has apparently been decided that this wil be the last protection work that will be done here and henceforth the coast wil be left to evolve whatever the sea does.

East Head is a popular mooring area at the entrance to Chichester Harbour, although some of the berths dry. The stone in the foreground is some of the recent coastal protection works, although it has apparently been decided that this will be the last protection work that will be done here and henceforth the coast will be left to evolve whatever the sea does.

The Chichester River by East Head. There is a popular anchorage in front of this beach which the yacht is making for.

The Chichester River by East Head. There is a popular anchorage in front of this beach which the yacht is making for.

The entrance to Chichester Harbour from the English Channel. Hayling island is on the opposite shore

The entrance to Chichester Harbour from the English Channel. Hayling island is on the opposite shore

With Ros and terry O'Connor at West Wittering, enjoying the sea view before embarking on the walk round East Head

With Ros and terry O’Connor at West Wittering, enjoying the sea view before embarking on the walk round East Head

The Pirbeck stone used for the new coastal defences had some enormous fossils embedded in them including this ammonite about one foot (300 mm) across

The Pirbeck stone used for the new coastal defences had some enormous fossils embedded in them including this ammonite about one foot (300 mm) across

A murmuration of starlings taking flight from the rich harvest of blackberries by the salt marshes on East Head

A murmuration of starlings taking flight from the rich harvest of blackberries by the salt marshes on East Head

Dingy racing is a very popular sport across the whole of the Solent and Chichester harbour areas with a number of classes sailed that have been developed of many years that are unique to the area. These boats that are about to start a race are X Class keel boats that are sailed in Chichester Harbour: this class is over 100 years old but has been carefully developed over recent years to permit the use of modern materials. Solent Sunbeams and Swallows are tow other long established classes that are unique to this area and which boast impressive fleet numbers.

Dingy racing is a very popular sport across the whole of the Solent and Chichester harbour areas with a number of classes sailed that have been developed of many years that are unique to the area. These boats that are about to start a race are X Class keel boats that are sailed in Chichester Harbour: this class is over 100 years old but has been carefully developed over recent years to permit the use of modern materials. Solent Sunbeams and Swallows arewo other long established classes that are unique to this area and which boast impressive fleet numbers.

Chichester Harbour is a large area of rivers, salt marshes and saltings and is a designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. East Head, which is owned by the National Trust, is sand spit at the entrance to Chichester Harbour at West Wittering. It is managed by the NT to allow access for walking but also to provide protected habitats for the many varieties of bird that nest here such as the ringed plover. The spit, being in effect a huge sand dune system, is constantly moving and has rotated by about 90 degrees around its southern end over the last 200 years or so.

We enjoy a good walk, with Ros and Terry being knowledgeable bird identifiers. With their help we spot lapwings, starlings, curlews, red and green shanks, godwits and sandling (although these latter could have been grey plover). We are keeping a record of the different species we have seen and this increases our tally to over 60 different birds on our trip.

Tired by the walk, we all return to Itchenor and after a stroll along the shore we retire to the Ship Inn – again – for another good supper.

Ros and Terry depart around 8 pm and we motor back to Sundart in the dinghy. It has been a good day and even the weather behaved itself.

Saturday 7th September – Itchenor to Birdham Pool

The pool above Birdham Pool marina which was originally constructed to help supply the mill at Birdham

The pool above Birdham Pool marina which was originally constructed to help supply the mill at Birdham

Birdham Pool Marina. Formed in the former head pool for the mill. It was made into a marina in 1936 and claims to be the oldest marina in the UK. Box berths and wooden stages are used instead of the floating finger pontoons used in modern marinas.

Birdham Pool Marina. Formed in the former head pool for the mill., it was made into a marina in 1936 and claims to be the oldest marina in the UK. Box berths and wooden stages are used instead of the floating finger pontoons used in modern marinas.

The "home" counties of Kent, Surrey, Essex and Sussex were once heavily wooded and have an on-going tradition of half-timbered and weather-boarded buildings such as the former tide mill on the left of the lock at Birdham Pool. The lock is the original, although now automated, and only takes one boat at a time. Beyond is the tidal river that dries to mud at low tide.

The “home” counties of Kent, Surrey, Essex and Sussex were once heavily wooded and have an ongoing tradition of half-timbered and weather-boarded buildings such as the former tide mill on the left of the lock at Birdham Pool. The lock is the original, although now automated, and only takes one boat at a time. Beyond is the tidal river that dries to mud at low tide.

With Sue Allen, one of the trustees of our charity SUDEP. Yvonne sports the SUDEP tee shirt

With Sue Allen, one of the trustees of our charity SUDEP. Yvonne sports the SUDEP tee-shirt

The night was wet and squally – thank heavens it held off yesterday! We plan to go to Birdham Pool as Janet will be leaving us today and we need a convenient place to meet up with various other people. However, it has a tidal entry via a lock so we will need to wait until midday. We do various jobs about the boat and in due course leave the mooring and sail up the river with just the genoa. It is not far to the end of the navigable river, which is where both Birdham Pool Marina and the much larger Chichester Marina are located. We radio in to arrange the lock, which turns out to be just big enough to fir Sundart in, and are soon in the pool, moored up against one of their wooden staithes.

Birdham Pool is the oldest marina in the country, dating back to 1936. It is located in a former tide mill head pool and is a picture postcard rustic. The lock is a traditional type, albeit now automated, and the “pontoons” are in fact fixed wooden staithes rather than the floating finger pontoons that most modern marinas use. We later learn that the planning authorities oppose any development here that affects the old world aura of the Pool. Certainly it is relaxing and charming and a nice change from the big modern marinas.

Janet leaves us after lunch by taxi to Chichester station to return home. We have enjoyed her company.

Our first visitor this afternoon is Sue Allen, who is a trustee of SUDEP, our charity. Sue lives a mile or so away and contacted us via the SUDEP office. She arrives by bike and we enjoy an hour or so with her, learning more about the charity, how it was founded and has since developed. We discuss where the funds  and express our wish that they either be used for research or to support the Register that SUDEP has recently set up to record the facts and circumstances surrounding each death from SUDEP to provide a statistical basis for research into how the risk of death from SUDEP can be minimised.

Sue departs. John’s sister Ruth and husband Jono are visiting this evening so John cooks up a pork casserole, whilst Yvonne uses the marina laundry. Later we relax and read.

With John's sister Ruth and husband Jono.

With John’s sister Ruth and husband Jono.

Ruth and Jono arrive in the evening and we enjoy a good evening with them, catching up on news.

Ship’s log

Day’s run:                       0.5 nm

Total miles to date:          2442.9 nm

Engine hours:                  0.4 hours

Total engine hours:          298.4 hours

Hours sailed:                   0.5 Hours

Total hours sailed;           536.6 hours

Sunday 8th September – Birdham Pool to Thorney Island

The Chichester Canal has some interesting craft moored on it including this former admiral's steam pinnace "Fusil" dating from the Victorian era. Other boats here include "Wild Chorus" which went to the Dunkirk evacuation and a converted life boat from Cromer, Norfolk

The Chichester Canal has some interesting craft moored on it including this former admiral’s steam pinnace “Fusil” dating from the Victorian era. Other boats here include “Wild Chorus” which went to the Dunkirk evacuation and a converted life boat from Cromer, Norfolk

The sea lock at the end of the Chichester Canal. . The information board claimed it was still working but the picture tells a different story. The canal was constructed to help link Chichester to Portsmouth but never made any money.

The sea lock at the end of the Chichester Canal. . The information board claimed it was still working but the picture tells a different story. The canal was constructed to help link Chichester to Portsmouth but never made any money.

The Chichester Canal, little used apart from the line of house boats

The Chichester Canal, little used apart from the line of house boats

Memorial plaque to the great dinghy designer Jack Holt OBE at the Chichester Yacht Club. Jack Holt design many popular dinghies including the GP14, Solo, Enterprise, Cadet, National 12 and 14, Merlin Rocket, Streaker and Mirror to name only a few of his prolific designs. he lived at Putney but was associated with many sailing clubs including Chichestr, where he often sailed his Solo. His pioneering designs of dinghies using plywood did much to popularise the sport of sailing in the period immediately following World War II. Yvonne and I both learnt to sail in Jack Holt designed dinghies and still sail in them today. Many of his designs have had new life breathed into them by the use of modern materials and construction techniques.

Memorial plaque to the great dinghy designer Jack Holt OBE at the Chichester Yacht Club. Jack Holt design many popular dinghies including the GP14, Solo, Enterprise, Cadet, National 12 and 14, Merlin Rocket, Streaker and Mirror to name only a few of his prolific designs. he lived at Putney but was associated with many sailing clubs including Chichester, where he often sailed his Solo. His pioneering designs of dinghies using plywood did much to popularise the sport of sailing in the period immediately following World War II. Yvonne and I both learnt to sail in Jack Holt designed dinghies and still sail in them today. Many of his designs have had new life breathed into them by the use of modern materials and construction techniques.

It is a bright and breezy morning. We plan to leave Birdham today to anchor near the entrance to Chichester Harbour but need to wait for the tide after lunch to be able to get out of the lock and over the mud flats in the river. We breakfast then use the marina showers. These turn out to have under floor heating, which is a great novelty.

We walk to nearby Chichester Marina via the Chichester Canal to the little convenience store for the Sunday papers and milk. We pass Chichester Yacht Club and see a sign celebrating Jack Holt, who was a member here and sailed his Solo dinghy. Jack was one of the great dinghy designers who designed many of the most popular dinghies and bought sailing to the masses.

A few jobs done, we relax with the papers before having lunch. After lunch we wait for a shower to pass, then fuel up at the pump in the lock and leave. We motor against the wind past Itchenor. Just past Itchenor, the wind picks up, peaking at 27 knots on our wind instrument and the heavens open. The squall wreaks havoc on the dinghy sailors out in the river, with at least one dinghy capsizing and requiring the harbour launch to assist in its recovery. Other dinghies take shelter in bays off the river until the squall passes. The rain stings our faces but after turning away from the worst of the squall, we resume our course, turning off the main river to one of the permitted anchorages behind Thorney Island.

The anchorage at Thorney island with the sun setting in the west

The anchorage at Thorney island with the sun setting in the west

It is a lovely spot which we have to ourselves and once the rain has passed the wind drops and it is very peaceful. As the tide drops we sink below the level of the surrounding land and have a lovely sunset to round of the day.

In the evening we talk to Nigel and Di Pepperdine, who kindly offer to collect us and our stuff from Dartmouth when we complete the trip.

Ship’s log

Day’s run:                       4.1 nm

Total miles to date:          2447.0 nm

Engine hours:                  1.3 hours

Total engine hours:          299.7 hours

Hours sailed:                   2.5 Hours

Total hours sailed;           539.1 hours

A following wind and fair weather to you all.

Yvonne and John

 

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One thought on “Chichester and the Solent – family and friends

  1. Pingback: Sailing Destinations And Travel Tips | Travel , Booking & Leisure Guide

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