Beaulieu Rally Report

Tuesday 13 June 2017


After a busy weekend for Dell Quay members with a very well attended cruise to Bembridge Harbour with dinghies for an evening of jazz and two Open meetings at the Club on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June, the fine weather enticed eight cruisers out for a trip down the Solent to Buckler’s Hard up the peaceful Beaulieu River on Tuesday 13 June.

Parity, Cantata, Mandalay and White Magic left their berths in Chichester Marina and Birdham Pool with Fairwind of Dell Quay slipping her mooring off Longmore followed by Keldy and Pegasus who left from their Dell Quay moorings as soon as they were able. Frith had a head start from her berth in Gosport.  A favourable west going tide helped with progress on a close reach toward the Forts in sparkling sunshine and a gentle breeze.  Suddenly ferries of all shapes and sizes and container vessels seemed to converge just where Fairwind wished to be so she headed off toward Ryde where the wind died.  



The first of the large container vessels successfully avoided by Fairwind.

After a spell of motoring toward Cowes the wind filled in from the SW so the last part of the journey became a beat in a moderate breeze. Once the yellow racing mark and Beaulieu Spit Dolphin had been identified, it was easy to follow the well-marked channel for three and a half miles up the privately owned river. We slid past wooded shores, a stunning array of smart vessels and grand houses with their beautifully kept gardens and private pontoons stretching out to the water interspersed with old oyster beds where sections of Mulberry harbour had been constructed for the Second World War D–Day landings well hidden from prying eyes.  New signs along the river encouraged visitors to call up Beaulieu River Radio on VHF channel 68 and provided useful perches for the varied bird population that enjoys this peaceful area.

The final turn bought us to Buckler’s Hard with its attractive brick built houses, marina and the mid river pontoon where alongside berths had been reserved.



Hospitality aboard Fairwind and Cantata

For Derek in Keldy not only was this his first time to Beaulieu but also his first trip out single-handed in his Sadler 26. His wife Elaine opted to make the journey by car and joined us for the evening. Ken Baker in Pegasus had been busy as the committee boat for the 2000 Open meeting on Sunday and he and his crew had time for a beer before heading off for a meal ashore in their dinghy that they had towed behind them from Dell Quay.  Martin Watson assembled his New Zealand designed flat-pack Ferryman dinghy and took Martin Greenhalgh ashore whilst Barrie inflated Fairwind’s Avon to transport the remaining hungry crews ashore to the Yachtsman’s Bar at The Master Builders for a good meal and a convivial evening.  Cantata, Parity and White Magic crews ate on board enjoying the evening sunshine alongside the pontoon.

Another glorious day dawned on Wednesday with the birds singing enthusiastically to greet the new day. The forecast was for a F3-4 breeze this time from the east. After a master-class in springing off, Parity set off to pay the harbour master followed by the rest of the fleet although a swan took a fancy to one of Mandalay’s fenders and was reluctant to leave it.



It was very tempting to linger longer in this delightful spot, there is plenty to do in and around historic Buckler’s Hard, the Maritime Museum is full of fascinating information about the Agamemnon, Euryalus and Swiftsure, built for the Royal Navy at Buckler’s Hard in the 1740’s by Henry Adams, The Master Shipbuilder; all three vessels fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. With sufficient rise of tide a trip up the river is possible in the dinghy or alternatively follow the footpath along the riverbank for lunch or afternoon tea in Beaulieu village.

With the wind on the nose and the east going tide creating a short chop, progress up the Solent to Chichester was slower than usual and a course through the gap in the submerged barrier off Southsea known as the Dolphins was the preferred route and avoided most of the shipping. It was busy around East Head with fleets of ISC keelboats engaged in close racing and pleasure craft making the most of the good weather. The majority of the rally made their way back to their moorings or berths in Chichester whilst Parity put into Gosport and met up with Martin from Frith for a Chinese meal at The Wall.

Sue Pearson
Fairwind of Dell Quay


If you would like to join us on a rally, the next one is on Saturday 24 June. Martin Watson will be leading a Chichester Harbour cruise for all those who would like to explore the harbour and spend a night aboard in a marina close by. There are further details on the website about this.

On Saturday 8 July there will be another opportunity to visit the Beaulieu River closely followed by a rally on Tuesday 11 to Lymington nearby. Why not combine both and maybe take in Newtown River or Yarmouth for an extended cruise in the western Solent.

If you fancy journeying further afield, the second cross channel rally sets off early on Thursday 13 July.