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Early May Bank Holiday Weekend - Hamble and Newport

2nd to 4th May 2009

Report by Peter Lowry (Cleo), photos by Roger Wills (Talulah)

Boats taking part:

Cleo, Abacus, Vol au Vent, Niquaydi, Rascal, Blythe Spirit, Sea lady, Shiraz, Zephyr, Penlu, Tallulah, Seal, Red Seal, Can y Mor, Macoma, Sunflower, Breeze, Dawn

Sat 2nd May

0700 hrs: I finished my night shift and walked out of work into clear blue skies and sunshine and just for one second decided to forget it was a bank holiday weekend. Most of them nowadays are wet and windy!

Cleo and Co only had to go about 2 miles upstream to the Elephant Boatyard at the top of the Hamble River just near the M27 motorway.

Our planned rally was to overnight at the boatyard. But first we inflated our dinghies and went up stream to the upper reaches of the river for a BBQ.

Murlo Primrose is the owner of "Seal", which is the very first of our class ever built. Seal is based at the boatyard. Murlo was keen for us to have a drink aboard. 14 of us obliged in a typical rally manner. We sat on board in the afternoon sunshine in 4 inches of water in the self-filling cockpit!

Thanks go to Murlo for a lovely afternoon and her hospitality.

1630 hrs: 11 dinghies pottered up stream to enjoy the evening and to enjoy a BBQ.

Sun 3rd May

1100 hrs (ish!): It was not an early start as Low Water was around 11.00hrs. We sailed gently down the river under jib, in company, and across to Cowes, up the River Medina to Newport.

Not a lift-keel!

The river gets very shallow after Island Harbour and then dries out into a stream. This is where the fun and competition started!

Cleo, Blythe Spirit, Rascal, Sunflower, Zephyr, Dawn and Vol au Vent were all ditch crawling towards Newport in 2½ feet of water and then were repeatedly getting stuck at the 2 foot mark.

When the leading boat found a deeper channel, we all followed until the sandy base was touched. This was all done with almost no engine and jib alone by some. Others cheated!

Watching this drama unfold from Newport was Macoma, Can y Mor and Niquaydi. It kept them very amused for about 2 hours. So glad to be part of the entertainment! They even had a sweepstake!

Sun 3rd May

1800 hrs: Macoma hosted drinks on the pontoon.

1930hrs: Dinner at the Wheatsheaf Hotel.

Thanks to Phil and Carol for their hospitality and booking the hotel.

Monday 4th May

0800 hrs: Some boats left for home and some of us moored up at Shepard’s Wharf at Cowes. We descended on the town, enjoyed morning coffee, a little retail therapy and nosed around the chandleries.

Leaving on Monday morning:

A gentle sail down the Medina:

Tallulah at Shepherd's Wharf
Tallulah at Shepherd's Wharf

14.30hrs: Departed for home after a celebratory drink on board Macoma, in honour of yet another of Phil’s birthdays - they seem to come round so quickly!

By this time the wind had gone up to the top end of a 5. What a cracking sail home! What a fast passage! Cleo even managed to beat Niquaydi!

What a great Bank Holiday! We even managed to find some warm weather and sunshine!

To all who attended, it was lovely to see you and hope you all enjoyed your weekend. We look forward to seeing you at the next event.

Peter Lowry
Solent officer/ Vice Commodore