Skip to navigation Skip to content
< Back to Saga Sapphire blog

4th May, 2018


It was an early morning, as the Pilot was due at the Lepe Station at 0600, meaning we were coming in from the Needles, the west approach to the Ilse of Wight. The Needless Channel is a navigably narrow entrance with, essentially, one cardinal mark [navigation buoy] to mark the shallows to the south. So the conditions need to be right.

The Bridge and Engine Room were at ‘Stand By below’ for 0445 [this means we were ready to react and focussed specifically on the job to hand] before passing the Needles and shaping up for the Pilot. The Pilot embarked at 0600 and we made our way west of the Brambles Bank, before turning around to port to pass Calshot and then to navigate past the Fawley Oil terminal.

Staff Captain Tom was driving this morning and berthing on the QEII terminal, berth 38/39. Fine morning, a hint of a breeze and a moderate ebb tide to contend with. All tucked-up alongside at 0800, on time. It had been a fabulous cruise and my farewell chat at 0845 was very sincere as I had made so many friends over this interesting cruise.

Apart from the 12 guests staying back to back, the ship was clear by lunchtime and it was then the high-speed operation to get the ship fully ready by 1300, for embarkation.

Sailing was at 1800 hours today, rather than the regular 1600 hours. We were ready to sail at 1800 but I had to wait for the mobile block of flats, one of those overly large cruise blocks… to come past.

Once she was clear, we let go the moorings and made our last winter/spring departure from Southampton for the season. This cruise finishes back in Dover, the summer home-port. It was a fabulous sail-out, breathless and clear skies with the sun setting as we disembarked the Pilot at 2030.

With the paper work done, it was time for bed. Another early start in the morning with a wake-up call at 0415, ready for Le Havre, and we had clocks being advanced one hour - just to make the night even shorter!

Night night….

Captain Stuart Horne

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.