Mayday Weekend 02 - 04 May 2015
Langstone & not so much Bembridge, more Fareham - Rally Report

...and then there were three!

The Langstone Rally and Bembridge Rally faced a challenging start with winds forecast to be E to ESE f5 gusting to f7 on the Saturday followed by SW f6 gusting f8 on Sunday. Nonetheless, nine hardy souls in four boats set out to get up to Langstone, led by Frith who got up there 1:50 hr before HW (11:18) to initially run aground in three feet of water just short of the pontoon! However, a swift hitching of skirts (keel and rudder) got her onto the end of the pontoon and then dragged as far forward as possible to make way for the others expected soon after. Sophia, ably crewed by Peter, Jenny and Robert, arrived and was followed soon after by Steve and Julie in Penlu.

Unfortunately, Ken Surplice and his family in Vol-au-Vent, who had rafted up alongside Sophia in Gosport overnight, developed engine problems, turned back for the Hamble and had to get a tow up to his berth in Bursledon. Hope you get it sorted soon Ken. (The update from Ken is that it was sludge in the fuel tank and all is in hand for putting things right.)

Although still blowing old boots in Langstone, we were relatively sheltered there and were presently joined by the crews of the other boats who had decided to come by road. So when the Langstone Sailing club bar opened at 12, we made our way upstairs and received a warm welcome from the members. There were 10 boats and crew that had signed up for the rally, Speedwell, Macoma, Juno, Heart of Glass*, Zephyr* and Betty Blue plus of course Frith, Sophia, Penlu and Vol-au-Vent, so we had a splendid turn out and an unexpected bonus of a hot meal available in the clubhouse at a very reasonable price (no extra charge for guests).

At 6pm we had the traditional snacks and drinks on the pontoon but it having turned even colder and threatening rain, only eleven stalwarts turned out to brave the elements, even so when it actually turned to rain, we all dived down below on Frith and finished our drinks there.

We had planned to eat at the Weatherspoons near the A27 jctn but this turned out to be Langbrook Farm, part of the Farmhouse Inn chain. 15 of us pitched up at 7:30pm to a packed house (bank holiday weekend!) but managed to get two tables for 6 and 9 of us, unfortunately not together, nonetheless we made the best of it and had a reasonably priced meal and drinks which I believe everyone enjoyed, and we went our various ways at 10:30pm. (Thanks should be given to Tim Reeder and Ken Surplice for providing the lift to and from the club up to the restaurant)

In the morning, the wind had gone round into the SW as expected so at 10:30 the three remaining boats set out for Portsmouth Harbour, Penlu going back to her berth at Gosport Cruising Club to join the rest by road at Fareham where Sophia and Frith were heading. Frith and Sophia beat out of Langstone Harbour and although initially aiming to take the inshore passage, found themselves favourably set to sail close to the submarine barrier entrance so carried on with a starboard tack under Genoa and motor until tacking onto port for the barrier entrance which they had both over stood having under estimated the tide, meanwhile, Penlu who had turned back in Langstone Harbour entrance to retrieve two fenders, motored directly along the coast and in fact ended up only five minutes behind the two leading boats.

There followed an enjoyable sail into Portsmouth Harbour and we managed to keep sailing almost up to the Salterns Jetty, an enjoyable end to what was in turns a frustrating and challenging weekend.

Martin Watson, Frith

It is suggested that all those who actually made it to the Commodore's 40th wedding anniversary tea party should apply to join the Olympic shooting team. They are obviously very good at hitting a moving target!

Bembridge beach became Fareham SMBC's Salterns pontoons which became Carol and Phil's house in Fareham. Thanks should go to Geoff Turner for his quick response in getting a headline note about the changes on the website. It is hoped that we did not catch anyone out. Fareham became the alternative location after it was decided that Bembridge beach would be untenable in F8 SW winds. A tea party on Fareham SMBC's Salterns pontoons was proposed but even that was shelved in favour of the do for the Commodore's 40th wedding anniversary being moved to Carol and Phil's house in Fareham. The wind was still blowing "old boots" and we had visions of cupcakes and sandwiches floating down the river. As only 2 boats, Sophia and Frith, made it to Fareham, having the tea party at the house seemed a sensible idea as most people were coming by car.

Dress code was hats for ladies and bow ties for gentlemen. Sandwiches, scones and cakes were washed down with copious amounts of bubbly interspersed with cups of tea. The finalé was Tim and Margaret cutting their celebration cake which gave another excuse to break out the bubbly.

In the evening some members sampled the watering holes of Fareham whilst others made their way by car to their boats, many of which were still on their moorings.

Bank holiday Monday dawned relatively bright and clear and the wind had eased. Macoma hosted a birthday breakfast of bacon butties and bucks fizz on the Salterns pontoons. It was Phil's and Macoma's birthdays. Many had returned by car and Sophia and Frith were still moored on the pontoon. Many Moons joined in the breakfast as she is now moored next to Macoma.

The weekend was considered a great success despite all the antics of the weather. Many thanks to all those who took part and helped to make the events of the weekend actually happen.

Phil and Carol Walden, Macoma

Boats represented:
Speedwell, Frith, Betty Blue, Juno, Sophia, Penlu, Vol-au-Vent, Many Moons, Macoma

*Boats that could not make it:
Heart of Glass, Zephyr