Dell Quay Not to Yarmouth Lymington Rally Saturday 2 September 2023

This was the ‘Dell Quay Not to Yarmouth Lymington Rally’, a nod to the comedian Peter Kaye tour that didn’t.

The organiser (yours truly) contacted Yarmouth HM on 1 June to book the rally for the 2 September, thinking 3 months was ample notice. I was informed that they were taking rally bookings for February 2024, which was no use of course because February is usually too cold. In a panic, I contacted a nice lady in the Lymington HM office who detecting one over the local rival, was only too pleased to accommodate us on the Dan Bran pontoon which is situated just outside the Lymington Yacht Haven, the first marina on the river. Phew! All I had to do was send her a list of boats and then ask the skippers to pay before 31 August with the added comfort of a very reasonable cancellation policy. Yarmouth was quickly struck out on the DQ Webpage and replaced with Lymington. Peter and Jane Matthews in Opus 1V had already signed up for Yarmouth. Hold this thought please.

The amendment to the DQ Webpage created a surge of interest with another 7 DQ boats signing up for Lymington plus a Bosham boat joined the party. I duly sent the list of ‘Lymington’ rally boats to the HM. Luckily, with 5 days to go I realised I had missed Opus 1V who due to my (ongoing) stupidity was still technically destined for Yarmouth. Anyway, all sorted in the end. I had only to deal with the dinner booking at the Royal Lymington Yacht Club which is a whole story in itself. I will not bore you further.

The signed-up boats were:

Opus 1V  Peter and Jane (first to do so)
Fairwind  Sue and Barrie
Mandalay  Martin and Sarah with Toby the dog
Jacob Faithful
 Esmond, Paul and George
Osprey  Chris and Julian
Snoopy  John and Avril
Chiara  Tony and Francesca
Piquant  Chris (Bosham SC)
Frith  Martin Watson


The weather forecast was looking too good to be true with sunshine and light Easterly winds going out and sunshine and light Westerly winds coming back.

The crews who could find extra time to enjoy the weather set out for the Solent a day or two early and one or two stayed out longer. Mandalay and Piquant went to Bembridge, Snoopy directly to Lymington and Fairwind to the lower reaches of the Beaulieu river. HMS The Prince of Wales carrier was seen leaving Portsmouth harbour on the Friday after trials following the ‘repacking of her starboard prop shaft gland’ (joke). Quite a sight, a carrier that was moving, albeit with the aid of several tugs out into the Solent.

Fairwind decided to get to Lymington early on the Saturday to size up the facilities on the relatively new Dan Bran pontoon. This was a good idea as on the way into Lymington a Lancaster Bomber flew low and directly overhead with sun reflecting off the back of her four propellers; quite a majestic sight. Later that day, the Red Arrows flew over to the north of Lymington, so all quite entertaining. The pontoon is a lovely location in settled weather because you have a view up the Solent to Cowes, over to Yarmouth and of course, the movement of boats in the river provides its own entertainment. A rather large Lido is situated close by which attracts locals and tourists alike.

Many of the remaining boats arrived in good time with the exception of Chiara and Piquant. Tony Booker in Chiara texted later on to say that he had made it to Cowes, but it was unlikely that he would be able to get to Lymington as he was running late and had run out of fuel. A valient effort but such a pity. Earlier Chris in Piquant (Bosham SC) had to return to Chichester because he had fallen ill during the morning. We wish him well. The rally of 9 boats was down to 7.

image1At the request of the organiser, John and Avril kindly hosted four past and long standing DQ members; the Buchanans who now live in Lymington and the Fortunes who were berthed up river in the Berthon Marina.

Fairwind had the space to accommodate the remaining crews for the usual get together early evening. It was warm, sunny and calm, summer had indeed arrived.

We were all very impressed with the many ferries passing quietly by and towering over us about 50m away, but making absolutely no wake. If only the Ribs were so designed?

image2The slightly confusing zig-zag walk off the pontoon took about 5 minutes with the dinner venue, the Royal Lymington Yacht Club an additional 1 minute away. We arrived in good time for more pre-dinner drinks and we all gathered with John, Avril, and after such a long time, Jean, Malcolm, David and Caroline.

Were it not for the DQ and Maxi Owners’ rallies, the RLYC restaurant would have been surprisingly empty. With the two rallies arriving at similar times however, the RLYC staff coped well and the meals arrived on time. The views were wonderful, the food good and a very convivial evening was over too quickly.

image3The stroll back to the Dan Bran pontoon was bathed in lovely bright Super Moonlight, the second ‘Blue Moon’ this summer.

Sunday proved to be glorious. Some boats headed off early to take advantage of a full Spring tidal flow to get back to DQ. Sailing up the Western Solent close hauled (I said the forecast was too good to be true) was gentle and a delight with around 9 knots of (easterly) wind. It was a surprise to round Egypt Point at Cowes to have no wind at all, with steerage lost in the ferry track. From there on it was motor sailing. There were many boats on the water, no doubt hanging around for the start of the Clipper Race from Portsmouth later in the afternoon. Osprey set off from Lymington later to take in the Clipper start, returning to her mooring near Westlands in the evening.

image4aSue and I stayed on board Fairwind on Sunday night at Westlands and experienced a really great sunset.

Thank you to all those who came along for making the week end very enjoyable.

Barrie Pearson

Make the most of the rest of the season and sign up for the last three rallies.

SATURDAY 16 SEPTEMBER - FOLLY INN R. MEDINA  4 spaces available - be quick!