The Ashlett Creek Rally
Sat 19th September 2009

As we approached the southern entrance to Ashlett Creek (the one with the leading marks) the dogleg withies had gone. We had been warned that this entrance was silting up. The main channel sides had disappeared under one of the highest tides of the year so we went the "new’" way, straight in, ignoring the well marked northern route and found plenty of water.

The Quay was festooned with dinghies and the tide had flooded it so when we saw Adrian waving and indicating a space on the club pontoon we knew we had a welcome from the "locals". Royce and Brenda were already there (with the three dogs) in Shiraz, Chris and Ros in Jans Express and Pam and Adrian in Vienna. If there had been a prize for the greatest distance travelled to the venue and the shortest by boat then Pam and Adrian would have won both. From Northants to Vienna then across from their mooring to the club pontoon to keep us company. That’s dedication for you!

I measured their sail on Google Earth at 0.04 NM!

Soon Jenny, Peter and the boys arrived in Cleo followed by Peter and Mike in Zephyr and then, true to form, Philip arrived in Rascal with the tide seriously ebbing ... squeezing comfortably in the remaining space ... drying out totally, just minutes later!

We were then introduced to a boat we had not seen before .. Angelica .. a much modified early 22 .... no 3. Ian and Pat had bought her when looking at a different boat in a barn somewhere ..... details Ian?

So, with our own Elsa, (Alice and I) eight boats and company had gathered for a pleasant warm evening. After lazy walks and drinks on board, Ashlett Sailing Club made us very welcome in the old 16th C mill house which is now under the auspices of the Waterside Sports and Social Club. Lunch is always available there but we found that Adrian and Pam had arranged with Andrea to cater for us in the evening.

Following a convivial, good value meal and club priced bar we were invited to a skittles competition upstairs. Philip was the only one to scoop the lot ... all 9 in one three ball shoot ... but couldn’t keep up the form in the final knockout rounds. After a nail-biting finish Alex Lowry took the honours to be champ skittler of the night. Good fun.

Andrea had already told us that she was happy to put on breakfast at the club in the morning ... so at a respectable 9 am we were all well fuelled for the day with the "full works" including black pudding. Fantastic.

The tide rocketed in after 11 and we left severally with gratitude to our hosts Pam and Adrian and Ashlett Sailing Club. Thanks. We’ll come again!

Chris & Alice Turner, SS26/103 Elsa