HRSC CENTENARY CRUISE JULY 12 – 14 2019
Published 08:51 on 18 Jul 2019
HRSC CENTENARY CRUISE JULY 12 – 14 2019
Friday 12th July dawned bright and sunny with a NE 3 wind blowing. Ideal for the first leg of our Centenary Cruise to Poole with the first night stop in Yarmouth. There were 7 boats booked on the rally.
John Noë's X-332 "La Nef IV"
Steph Merry's Seaward 23 "Sea Rider"
Ken & Linda Munro's Sigma 33 "Dino Volante"
Peter Slimming's Hunter Crusader 30 "Anne-Louise"
James & Jenny Irwin's Sigma 292 "Shy Girl"
Rupert & Kathy Smalley's Laser 28 "Flying Fish"
Bob & Gill's Beneteau Swift Trawler 30 "Piglet"
There should have been an 8th boat but Mike James and his Westerly 24 Forethought could not make it at the last minute.
La Nef IV, Dino Volante and Shy Girl all set off around 10.00 in order to catch the tide to Yarmouth. With the NE wind, we all had a spanking reach down to Yarmouth arriving some 2 ¼hours later. La Nef arrived first followed shortly by Dino and then Shy Girl. She was followed quickly by the "big" motor yacht Piglet. This was the first real outing for Bob & Gill in their new vessel. Steph in Sea Rider arrived whilst the rest of us were having lunch and before taking her place alongside Dino, managed to empty her purse of the best part of £150 in fuel for her little boat.
A little later having had to punch the tide from Beaulieu, Flying Fish and Anne Louise arrived in good time however, for our first drinks party.
Before this, the crew of La Nef took a walk to inspect the "Off the Rails Restaurant". This proved to be what seems to be an ideal location for a future event. The owner, a Frenchman, Phillippe is very friendly and the restaurant at the old station has fantastic views over the IOW countryside.
Around 18.00, we all found ourselves aboard either Sea Rider or Dino and the drinks started to flow. Then, out of the blue, a superb tray of nibbles arrived courtesy of Ross Elliston's "Mist" who just happened to be in Yarmouth at the same time as the rally.
Soon the party spread to the pontoon as Liz and Robbie Robinson with "Hot Rats" joined us too.
The group on the pontoon Yarmouth
It was a riotous event that had to end all too soon since most of us had booked into the Royal Solent Yacht Club for dinner.
The Royal Solent YC
The club looked after us extremely well, given that they had another major event on at the same time. Having sufficiently wined and dined ourselves we all wandered back to our boats for a well-earned kip.
Everyone was up bright and early in the sun as we had to be away between 09.30 and 10.00 once again to catch the tide down to Poole.
The boats left the marina in the reverse order of arrival. Those of us moored to the northern side of the pontoon availed ourselves of help from the berthing master to extract our boats from the pontoon. We were soon out hoisting our sails for the sail down to Poole. That is except Sea Rider and Piglet who both use iron topsails!
First away were the 2 motor boats followed by Flying Fish and Anne-Louise. Then came Shy Girl, Dino Volante and then finally La Nef IV.
Dino and Shy Girl took a little time to get their sails up and drawing whilst La Nef took a little less time. With the NE now at a good F4 La Nef picked up her skirts and was soon sailing at some 9Kn SOG passing close to Hurst Castle heading towards North Head buoy. Having rapidly cleared the aforesaid buoy La Nef had Flying Fish and Anne-Louise in her sights. Please understand, we were not racing, but what does a poor boy do when there are fellow members ahead! With the wind gusting to 18Kn, all boats were flying along in a nice flat sea with a glorious blue sky overhead. Real champagne sailing for all.
Piglet was obviously some way ahead. Sea Rider kindly waited for La Nef to lead the way through the East Looe channel into Poole Harbour. There was a little moment of concern when the depth alarm sounded as we had only 0.7m water under the keel, but it soon went deep again.
Arriving outside Poole Yacht Haven we made a quick call to the harbour office to ascertain which berths we had and entered to find that Piglet was not with us! This was a surprise as we had booked all boats together. La Nef moored first. Sea Rider came alongside and Flying Fish, the next boat in, alongside her.
Dino came in shortly after and moored behind La Nef ,then Anne-Louise a little later having more cautiously come in via the No3 buoy rather than the shorter E.Looe channel. Finally Shy Girl arrived and rafted alongside Dino. We had all arrived safely and in time for some lunch and a little R&R.
Dinner had been booked for 19.30 at the RNLI, some 15 minutes' walk away. The crew of La Nef hadopted for some comfort overnight and had booked into the RNLI for the night. Having checked in during the afternoon, we discovered that they were expecting us for drinks at 19.00 which gave us very little time for another pontoon drinks party.
However shortly after 18.00 14 people were seen aboard La Nef with the other 4 of the party aboard Sea Rider. La Nef provided the nibbles and some of the drinks whilst others brought more eats and drinks, so a merry time was had by all.
Full cockpit on La Nef IV
All too soon we migrated to the RNLI for our official dinner. To say that the event was lively was to put it mildly. Richard of the RNLI staff who was attentively looking after our party was on several occasions seen to rush out of the room laughing uncontrollably!
Sunset from the restaurant window
Sunset from the restaurant window
Around 22.00 the party was all but over and so off back to the boats they went. A few of us stayed at the bar for a final drink before turning in to our very comfortable rooms in the building.
Sunday 14th dawned bright and sunny yet again. We really had been blessed with ideal weather for the rally.
The crew of La Nef enjoyed a sumptuous cooked breakfast at the RNLI before heading back to the boat for the journey back to Hamble.
There had been a tentative plan to leave the marina early and go to Studland Bay and anchor for lunch whilst awaiting the tide for the return trip. This was scuttled as soon as we realised that there was a 50s/60s themed event on the quayside. There was a display of classic UK and American cars to view, ranging from Ford Zodiacs, to Cadillacs and many others in between. The owners were dressed in period costume. There were many stalls around selling period stuff AND there was live singing on a stage. The quality of this was very high and both Ken and Linda Munro were seen to be dancing together as were Katie Vigar and Jackie Peck. We had to struggle to take ourselves away from the superb entertainment.
Kathy and Rupert aboard Flying Fish had left very early as they were starting their annual holiday and wanted to get to Alderney in a timely fashion. Peter Slimming and crew Mark Bowers had also disappeared early. It seems they had taken on board some additional crew and gone to Studland.
Shy Girl had decided to stay on a little longer as she wanted to go to Lymington and was in no hurry.
The rest of us all left directly for Hamble around 11.30. La Nef first stopped off to fuel up as we expected there to be little wind and what there was to be on the nose.
We motored out once again through the E.Looe Channel. Even though it was near high water, once again the depth alarm went off in the shallowest part. – Bizarre! Having cleared the channel, we hoisted sail expecting to have to motor. To our pleasant surprise there was 8-9Kn breeze from the SE which meant we could sail at nearly 6Kn. With the tide against us at this time we had an SOG of 4.5 -5.0Kn which was more than enough to keep Diana happy at the helm.
Initially Dino was some 2 miles ahead when we left the E. Looe Channel. By the time we had reached North Head Buoy again, we were some 2 miles ahead which was very satisfactory. What was even better was that the tide had just started to turn and we whistled through Hurst narrows before slowing down as the wind died completely. La Nef then motored for a bit before picking up fresh breeze. This time it was NE so some tacking was called for.
Finally after a most satisfying sail, La Nef was once again tied up on its mooring at 18.30, in plenty of time to use the launch service ashore.
Piglet and Sea Rider had arrived shortly before us and Dino Volante shortly after. Anne Louise had also arrived just behind Dino. Flying Fish had sent a message to say she was now safely moored in Alderney, so all boats had been accounted for.
The comments from all seem to be very favourable with a wish to put on a similar event again next year. A volunteer is called for!!!
One fact that had been noted was that of the 18 people attending the rally 4 were past commodores and one was the commodore!
Finally, I should like to thank my crew aboard La Nef IV. My wife Wendy who puts up with me regularly disappearing off sailing and prepared all the nibbles for Saturday evening, Mark for all the work he did helming and pulling strings and his wife Diana who not only did a lot of the helming, but also non-stop, plied our guests with drink.
Here's to the next time.
John Noë – La Nef IV
Last updated 08:52 on 18 July 2019