'Cobnor and Beyond' 2019

Mother nature finally got her act together to provide blue sky and perfect breezes for our annual ‘mid-summer migration’ to Cobnor.

With a busy weeks work behind us Friday afternoon finally arrived and we made our way to the sailing club to load and rig our boats in a frenzy of excitement before the afternoon spring tide left us behind. Big Steve P kindly skippered his mate Dell B to keep a watchful eye as a rather heavily ladened ‘Sunny Lady’ (Wilburn’s Wayfarer) set sail accompanied by ‘Smartie’ (Lizzie Kies and Gals Wanderer), ‘Brown Beast’ (Moranne Laser), ‘Arwen’ (the rather slick Heppenstall Wanderer), ‘Fantasy’ (the reliable Morley Wanderer), multiple Pico’s (Alex W, Hugo B, Gav M, Morley girls, Russell- Wells: dad and Lad) sorry if I missed anyone! We all loved making our way in the evening sun and perfect SW breeze. On arrival at Cobnor a kindly beach crew helped lift all the boats clear of the water and some took a cheeky swim before we headed to our campsite.

Dell Quay members aren’t shy and we soon took over a large portion of the North Woods field with an invasion of tents, campers, trailer tents and ‘sleep-in-the-back’ cars. The evening passed pleasurably with fine fare (thanks for the amazing Chilli Rach!), a few drinks and a campfire to warm us through before we hit the therma-rests.

Saturday dawned with all the promise of a dream day in our fabulous harbour and a small group wasted no time in hitting the water for a truly refreshing morning ‘swim club’. Bacon gobbled and plans made we headed to the water and made our way in a F2-3 SE breeze to East Head, now joined by yet more boats bringing our fleet to 15 (ish) mixed dinghies (including a Cammack Bosun, Pendry Comet and John Rodgerson’s lovely little Tinker!). some rested and relaxed next to the dunes whilst a competitive group played beach boule. We were dominated by Gav ‘Le Cochon’ Mitchell who was pretty impressive! The younger contingent took to the water again, this time to be towed behind a raging 2.5hp charged Sunny Lady on our old friend the ‘Cool Rider’ (see photos) for some kind of hybrid watersports activity! Simultaneously a splinter group took the water and under the watchful eye of Andy M (thank you) and sailed out of the harbour to West Pole (an enjoyable ‘first-time’ experience for many of the crews). We don’t hang around on the Cobnor weekend and in the interests of ‘catching the tide’ we upped anchors mid-afternoon and made our way back to Cobnor around HW. After re-grouping and allocating some new crews we cruised down to Bosham village. The high tide and helpful wind direction allowed us to sail all the way to the ice cream van in the centre of the village. After a raid on the van and the ice cream shop we promptly utilised the start of the ebb tide to return to Cobnor. With the water lapping at the edges of the upper shore many took the chance to use paddle boards or swim again in the warmth of the afternoon sun. This ended a fantastic day on the water with a bunch of lovely people! A day of sailing which would take some beating anywhere in the world!

Saturday night started with some light refreshments as we regaled the stories of the day. As the convivial atmosphere developed we spotted two elegant cyclist heading towards us across the field. ‘Who on earth is it arriving at this time?’ someone asked, ‘they look lean and mean,’ another exclaimed! ‘It’s the Commodore!’ shouted the excited campers; ‘Let the Tug ‘o War commence’.

No sooner said than done as old and (very) young came out to take their space on the rope. The straight ‘adult vs kids’ was an adult walk-over (albeit a little adult heavy!). New teams were formed with the kids ‘selecting’ their choice of five adults! This time things were a little more interesting with the kids taking the best of three. Various other combinations then followed with the ultimate victory going to all who took part to make this traditional feature as much fun as ever.

Fun over it was time for the serious business of the football! With the pitch set both adults and kids started with a new level of ferocity and hunger for victory. The youngest players (5 years ish) showed incredible form weaving through the densely packed field of players. Despite valiant work from Mark M, Viv K and Joe R-W early blood went to the kids with the nimble and skilful ‘Alessandro’ scoring a blinder! After much hustle and bustle, a few inevitable injuries and some incredible clashes between Megs W and Greg K, Zander scored to bring things level. As the players began to tire the real skills emerged with Pete G, Toby T and other others showing deft footwork to put the pressure on the kids. Zander then did the impossible and scored again to cap a victory for the adults. It gets harder each year and I must give it to the kids as they were seriously outnumbered by the adults.

We ate, drank and finally fell by the warmth of the campfire to close out an action-packed ‘best-ever’ day!
The sociable sunday morning breakfast went down in warm but slightly grey morning. After striking camp many enjoyed a sail to Pilsey Island for a picnic ‘left-over’ lunch. Thanks again to Steve for supporting us in the patrol boat and providing such good lunch options!

After a brief stop back at Cobnor we sailed back to Dell Quay in the NNE winds to be welcomed with a cream tea at the club and entertainment (plus a chance to have a go I hear) from the Northney rowing skiffs.

Thanks to all who took part and those who helped to make it a truly memorable weekend.
Selection of my best shots attached/on website.

See you next year I hope – it’s provisionally booked for 19-21st June 2020!
Jon W