Rally to Hardway Sailing Club

Saturday 30 September 2023

The annual rally to Hardway SC enjoyed good sailing weather, which in late September is not always the case. To be frank, it hasn't been the case for much of the last 3 months.

There was much to-ing and fro-ing as skippers signed up and later withdrew for a variety of reasons but in the end five boats finally arrived and managed to find a berth on Hardway's long pontoon stretching out into Portsmouth Harbour.

image1In all ten crew aboard Amore, Chiara, Opus IV, Moody Maid and Roussillon made the trip.

For a sailing club, Hardway appears to have everything, an enthusiastic and large membership, scrubbing piles, a mast crane, a large area for tender storage and an excellent clubhouse. Drinks are as cheap as chips and Colin the recently appointed galley franchisee was able to provide us with excellent food from a lengthy menu at great prices. We sat down to eat together and then remained to enjoy the sounds of a group of singers and musicians who had travelled from France especially to regale the Hardway members; an annual event apparently. I don't think that any of us had encountered a group playing such a wide range of music, from opera to Abba, to Pink Floyd. Comfortably Numb will never quite sound the same again.

image2We all departed mid morning as the tide finally lifted us from the gooey mud for the return trip.

image3There was a fair amount of drama on board Moody Maid as her engine revs started to ebb and flow.

As she approached Portsmouth Harbour entrance with the spring flood running at around 4 knots and with a huge gaggle of boats also struggling to make headway, the thought of the engine dying was almost unbearable for the grim faced crew.

Aware of the crisis, Opus IV pushed on close behind, ready to support Moody Maid if she became stricken. Fortunately this didn't happen. Phew!

The wind was kind for the sail back east and all boats made it home, even Moody Maid, although some coughing and spluttering kept the tension going until the mooring buoy was safely attached.

Tim Applewhite