The 2019 cruiser rally season got off to a good start with shake down rallies to Portsmouth and Bembridge Harbours.


image1aWith a forecast of NE F4~5, two boats set out from the Eastern end of Chichester Harbour with high hopes of a cracking broad reach along the coast to Portsmouth, but unfortunately it did not materialise and most of the way was sailed in F2 or F3, nonetheless it was an enjoyable sail in bright if slightly chilly conditions. Martin on Frith left Dell Quay at the same time as Sue and Barrie on Fairwind came off their mooring at Westlands and made up ground on Fairwind by cutting across all the shallows, taking advantage of her shallow draft and lift keel, so that by the submarine barrier they were more or less sailing in company and sailed into the Premier Gosport Marina no more than a couple of minutes apart. Phil on Fridays Child had arrived fifteen minutes earlier, having sailed down from his new mooring in Fareham. Ron and Pam on their first Club rally in Hobo arrived a little later. At 17:30, we six hardy souls piled into Frith’s saloon for a few drinks and nibbles, before walking up to the New Bengal Indian restaurant, which Martin rates as the best Indian restaurant on the south coast. The food was indeed delicious and all had a very enjoyable evening. The forecast for next morning was for an easterly F2 so Fairwind and Hobo motored back to Chichester Harbour whilst Frith went out and round the corner and back onto her usual berth in Gosport Cruising Club and Fridays Child had a gentle sail back up to Fareham.

Martin Watson


With a forecast of rain and fresh NE winds, six cruisers set off from Chichester; Parity (Dick Hoare and Richard) was first into Bembridge followed by Martin Watson in Frith who had a good sail from his berth in Gosport. Fairwind of Dell Quay was escorted across the shipping channel by a pod of eight dolphins and what a delight it was to see them come to swim alongside and diving under the boat.  It was quite a spectacle, all captured by Barrie on video.  Snoopy (John Martin) and Mandalay (Martin Greenhalgh crewed by Chris Campbell) were soon joined by Harami (Tim Applewhite and John) closely followed by Nick and Laura Pearson aboard Sentoray with Archie, Freddie and Henry the dog and Moody Maid (Dick Cole and Peter Elford) completed the rally. The friendly and helpful marina staff at The Duver berthed all seven of us alongside.  Cockpit tents were put up and all the crews assembled on Fairwind for drinks and nibbles in the warm and dry before heading off across the Causeway and up the hill into St Helen’s where fourteen adults, two children and a dog were made welcome at The Vine Inn. The beer and food was very good and advantage was taken of the two for £12 deal. All enjoyed a very convivial and enjoyable evening with darts and snooker for the boys. Fortunately the rain had stopped for the walk back with torches.

After a trip for some to Baywatch on the Beach for one of their very good breakfasts and image2aafter some minor technical problems aboard were sorted out,  all but the Pearsons set off on Wednesday into the continuing fresh NE wind which made for bouncy conditions over the sands at Bembridge and it was a motor sail home for most with glorious sunshine at the end of the trip.  

image3aWith an extra day available to the crews of Fairwind and Sentoray, an excursion to Bembridge for items from the Spinnaker Chandlery plus some fun on the beach and crabbing off the pontoon in the sunshine was in order. The café on the Fisherman’s pontoon is recommended for a seafood lunch; Sue and Barrie enjoyed fresh crab sandwiches in the warmth of the log-burning stove followed by delicious cake. Whilst walking around the Harbour toward Bembridge, it was noted that the more dilapidated of the house boats had been removed and replaced by an eclectic assortment of moored vessels, some of which are available as B&Bs or holiday lets.

image4aThe new Duver café was open on Thursday morning and after enjoying the breakfasts on offer, Sentoray and Fairwind set off back to Chichester Harbour in glorious sunshine and a gentle ESE wind.  An excellent start to the sailing season.


Quote of the rally: “I can’t reach my drink, my lips are too short!”

As the weather warms up, why not sign up here for the May rallies:

Wednesday 8 May                   Yarmouth – Leader Ron Foden
Thursday 16–26 May approx.  Spring Cruise – Leader Dick Cole

Sue Pearson