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Solent Area report 2008

Hello everyone, well what a funny year it’s been. All in all it has been better than 2007 with less rain but unfortunately with more wind. "Cleo" sailed most of her time this year with a reef or two in main and the smaller jib, due to winds of 18 knots or more for most of the season.

The Solent is still busy though with lots planned for the fleet to join in; unfortunately with high winds several rallies were cancelled at the eleventh hour, or only a few hardy sailors turned out to attend.

Easter was at its earliest for a very long time and although we had planned a rally in Portsmouth Harbour, the thought of freezing winds at force 5 and snow put most people off and we cancelled.

I had the offer of a sail from Chichester to London with Walter Brown on "Ard Righ", to where she is currently based at St Catharine’s Dock by Tower Bridge. It was a fabulous sail in freezing conditions with the wind veering and backing just when you needed it to. Thermals, layers and wet gear were the order of the weekend.

Both May bank holiday weekends were a success, with a birthday party on the earlier weekend at Newport and Lymington, and a rally to Fareham on the later one; again the wind blew and only 4 boats made it by sea and a few trying but not succeeding, it was well attended by road.

I made the return journey from Benfleet to Chichester not on "Ard Righ", but on Phillip Linsells new purchase "Rascal" - the weather was a lot warmer!

The high light of the summer was the Isle of Wight rock festival. We ended up with about 10 boats and found our pitch just south of the rowing club on the west bank of the Medina - bands like the Sex Pistols, the Police, Scouting for Girls, Amy Mc Donald, the Clash and Sugababes to name but a few - it may not have been everyone’s cup of tea, but a good time had by all with warm dry weather to make it all worth while.

Emsworth again was well attended by road and a few boats again due to high winds. At Newtown Creek and Bembridge although they were officially cancelled a few turned out and a barbeque was had as was at both events.

"Cleo" has spent lots of time out this year but have not ventured very far - in fact we did not get any further west than Newtown Creek and as far east as Chichester (twice).

As I am writing this now in early September I look out and see the sun shining and wonder if we are going to have an Indian summer and a change to have a few late impromptu rallies before we all think of hauling out for winter maintenance.

The Laying Up lunch is again in November and I look forward to seeing you all there.

Peter Lowry
Solent Officer.