Hardway Sailing Club Rally 25th/26th September


The annual cruiser rally to Hardway Sailing Club went ahead last weekend.
With misty conditions and little wind, 7 boats set forth from differing locations in Chichester Harbour and motored and sailed west to Portsmouth Harbour, arriving at our destination between Gosport and Fareham in the late afternoon.  The participating boats, Moody Maid, Opus IV, Maria, Osprey, Zephyr, Mandalay, Juniper of Leigh all met up with Fridays Child, which was returning from a Solent cruise, on the wide pontoon stretching out from the shore in front of Hardway’s clubhouse.

When first docked, although there was little wind, quite a lumpy swell caused the boats to bounce around on the pontoon. We put it down to a southerly breeze creating this effect but no one was quite sure.

It was good to see both new and not so regular boats and crews joining the older cruising brethren on this rally which is the penultimate DQ event on the organised calendar.

Regrettably the new galley contractor was not opening in the evening so the usually anticipated good and inexpensive food was unavailable. However, a table had been booked at the nearby Jolly Roger pub. All 16 crew met for a pre meal drink in the excellent Hardway Club house before 12 made their way to the pub. Despite mixed reports about what to expect, the pub provided a reasonable meal albeit served rather slowly. A nightcap was then enjoyed back at the clubhouse where incredibly cheap prices lured those lacking self-restraint to drink even more alcohol until last orders were called. Not that we had any such characters in our midst!!

The earlier bouncing had stopped so quiet conditions through the night prevailed to facilitate a peaceful night’s sleep. There was also a period around low water when the water disappeared and boats’ keels sank into the soft mud.

The galley was still not open on Sunday morning so there was no opportunity to enjoy a full English, something we have enjoyed in previous years. Never mind, we can hope that normal service will be resumed next year.

Most boats departed Hardway late morning and the wind gradually picked up as we sailed east. By mid afternoon a southerly F4 had set in but most boats were back on their moorings by this time.

This is one of the shortest and most straightforward rallies of the season. If you haven’t yet tried rallying with the DQ cruisers then why not put in your diary for next year. It’s usually in September or early October. You will be very welcome.

Tim Applewhite