24th March: 19′ Shrimper in near gale!

Adapted from my post on the Calshot Blog :

On the afternoon of Friday, 24th March I was doing a lone watch at NCI Stone Point.  The wind was near gale force 7 from the southwest, occasionally gusting gale force 8. By the mid-afternoon a large (4.8m) spring tide was ebbing, and there was a strong westward current off Lepe Country Park. The effect of “wind against tide” was resulting in some particularly large waves in the region of Lepe Spit.

I was therefore a surprised to see a 19 foot Cornish Shrimper approaching from the east under engine. Having been tossed about off the spit, she motored past Stone Point and I assumed she was going into Beaulieu River.  However, she went about, broke out the jib and started to run back towards Gurnard on the Isle of Wight.

This seemed a very small boat to be out in the weather conditions, but she seemed to be coping well with the waves and, as far as could be seen, the two people on board appeared to be well equipped and enjoying their trip! However I was conscious that there was surf braking on the beaches of the mainland and the Isle of Wight and if she suffered any gear failure they would have to act fast to avoid being driven ashore. I kept her under observation from NCI Stone Point until, as they got closer to the Isle of Wight, it became hard to pick her out amongst the mist formed from spray off the waves.

I estimated her latitude and longitude together with a range and bearing and passed the position to NCI Calshot Tower who, although more distant, had the advantage of a higher observing position. The watchkeepers in the Tower successfully located the yacht and monitored her continued safe passage to Cowes. We assume the people on board the Shrimper had had an exciting day out on the water!

Not is the Blog! :

While this was going on there were two hardy swimmers braving the waves off Lepe beach.  I took some photos of them mainly to try out the Nikon camera that is a fairly new addition to the station.  I hope they don’t mind me showing the photos here (if they do then please contact me and I will remove them).  On the other hand if they want copies of the photos to prove they were there, then I’d be happy to oblige!