Cruiser Reports

Port Hamble Rally 2021

Port Hamble rally – 29/30 June 2021

Six boats made it to Port Hamble marina during overcast conditions with little or no wind.  It is advisable to arrive at the marina at slack water to minimise the tidal stream flowing through the moorings. High water in the Hamble River has a two hour stand which gave us a window between 1400 and 1600 hours to aim at for our arrival. Most boats made it in time and all found the marina staff very helpful. Payment was only required on arrival, which is a pleasant change from the growing policy of many destinations who require payment in advance with little or no refund if conditions make the trip untenable.

It was decided that the prudent plan was to advise the marina early to ensure berthing availability for all. Consequently, notice of the rally was posted some eight weeks ahead and a deadline cut-off of 10th June set for registrations. Originally nine boats registered, but three had to withdrawn for various reasons.

Fairwind was the first to arrive, followed shortly by Parity with a berth alongside. Firebird, Moody Maid and Snoopy followed a short while later, with Mandalay getting in a couple of hours later.


On route from West Pole, Parity came across a loan sailor in an X-boat who was becalmed. After a short discussion, we threw him a line and set up a tow. The sailor, who told us he was in his eighty’s, was sailing from Itchenor to Cowes. Parity towed him to mid-way along the north passage past the Bramble Bank, where we cast him off as the wind had returned from the west.

With the Covid restrictions in mind, a pre-dinner drinks party was arranged on the pontoon between Parity and Fairwind. Social distance was maintained and everyone enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere.

Dinner was booked (in advance) at Banana Wharf, the on-site bar / restaurant. The staff there were very helpful in rearranging our tables so we sat relatively close. Thirteen sat down to dinner in three tables of four or five. Service was good and the meal was excellent.

Most boats travelled back to their home port on Wednesday, with Parity opting to stop over at Gosport. The journey home on Thursday was enhanced by the sight of a newly refurbished J-class yacht that followed us out of the harbour, and a good sail home.

All in all a good trip.

Dick Hoare / Parity




Day Sail 2021

Saturday 19 June 2021

This outing was arranged to make use of a neap tide for a there-and-back sail, providing company for those new to Dell Quay Cruisers.  A lucky break in the weather made the planned destination of Priory Bay (IOW) feasible.

Following torrential rain on Friday 18, Saturday provided a fine window in the weather, cloudy with a light north / north easterly wind, going south easterly in the afternoon, with just a few splats of rain later in the day, and heavy rain due later.  

A fleet of six boats took part, welcoming Mark and Rose Coats, sailing their Centaur “Maria” on their first DQ cruise, and welcoming back Tony and Judy Williams (who have returned to the club)  sailing “Windchat”.  The other four boats were Nick, Laura, Archie and Freddie Pearson (Sentoray), Sue and Barrie Pearson (Fairwind), Martin Watson and Martin Moss (Frith) and Peter and Jane Matthews (Opus IV).

image1A gentle run (no motor and making just 1.5 to 2 Kts) across Hayling Bay towards the IOW provided additional company for Opus IV, with a pair of very friendly dolphins joining the cruise for 15/20 minutes.  Sentoray, making close circuits of one of the anchored tanker ships, managed to coax a few mackerel on board, presumably ones the dolphins hadn’t wanted!


At Priory Bay most crews took to their tenders and went ashore.  The two Martins set up a barbeque to make the rest of just wish, and young Archie went digging for lug worms (successfully), Sue didn’t seem to be impressed!

The return to home provided some interest.  The wind having picked up and blowing directly on to the Priory Bay shore, the Williams’s outboard motor grounded, breaking the shear pin, leaving them bravely paddling back to Windchat until a passing RIB (or is it RHIB?) gave them a tow.  The next to leave being the Matthews’s who had to row the whole way, and are now looking for a small outboard to add to the inventory!


The weather forecast was spot on for a change.  image3The wind had turned southwards and picked up to a fine F3/4, allowing a fetch back to Chichester, under full sail and making 4 to 4.5Kts. A few drops of rain whilst passing up Itchenor Reach, getting back to DQ for high tide.



Bembridge Rally 12 June 2021

Unfortunately, Bembridge Harbour was unable to accept a rally booking from DQSC.  As a result members wanting to join the rally had to try to make individual bookings.  Only 2 Dell Quay boats managed to secure berths in advance, with one further boat managing to secure a last minute berth.

image1So it was that Snoopy (John Martin), Jacob Faithful (Esmond Pope), and Opus IV (Peter Matthews) were the only boats to join the rally, enjoying a good F4 wind, on the nose as usual, across to Bembridge.  As usual, needing to get into Bembridge before the tide drops, this entailed motoring for a good portion of the crossing. Bembridge Harbour was FULL, with a large number of large motor boats, it looked more like a boat show.  These occupied the section of pontoon where rafting might have been possible in calmer times.  

Most berthing is now on finger pontoons, located either side of the spine pontoon. The berths on the inside of the pontoon are accessed by motoring round the Brading Haven end of the pontoon and navigating a rather narrow dredged channel back down the other side. Don’t be fooled by the moored fishing boats off the pontoons, these are moored over the mud, which drops steeply into the channel. (I have had the panicky experience of grounding one keel whilst trying to avoid the stern of a berthed cruiser). Reversing out is also an experience, especially in a boat that doesn’t like going where one wants to go in reverse. Warps back to the pontoon would be advisable in any southerly wind.

The old harbour office (Portacabin) has gone.  The office is now in the right hand corner of the building ahead of you as you walk up the ramp from the pontoon.  There is a bar and cafe on the right as the top of the ramp, and the showers and toilets across the open area, bearing left.  These are now uni-sex, with quite nice combined shower, basin, and toilet cubicles (still very wet floors).  Access to the facilities is now with a key fob (the old code entry system is no longer) so it is essential that you call into the harbour office as soon as possible after arriving and collect your fob keys.

We ate at The Vine on St Helens green, now under new ownership, brightened up with a more modern, but still tasteful, decor.  The welcome as good as it always has been, and the food quite good (as it always has been) and good value (drink, main and coffee £15) (More expensive options available).  I had pre-booked 2 tables by phone, but surprisingly the evening rush had gone by the time we arrived at just gone 7 pm.

The return on Sunday was perfect, F2/3 south/ south easterly, giving us 3 to 4 Kts under sail all the way, needing to use the motor only for a few minutes in the harbour entrance and in Itchenor Reach (why does one always get headed there?).  Being a hot and sunny week-end, East Head was very busy, with boats anchored well out into the channel and a lot of to and fro-ing to watch out for, as well as those departing the anchorage on the last of the flood, and not keeping very good watch!

Peter Matthews


Cruiser rally to Beaulieu
Tuesday 8 June 2021

There was a good turnout for first rally of the season and six boats attended with a further three unable to book after the Bucklers Hard marina became full. There were two single handers, Frith (Martin) and Firebird (Tim). This was the first trip out of the harbour this year for Tim in Firebird.

The weather was excellent but winds were light in the morning so for most it was motoring until the sea breeze kicked in around Cowes.  Nikita was rather more fortunate having left Chichester later and enjoyed a good breeze for much of the way down the Solent.

We were made very welcome by the marina staff and were the only boats put on the Bucklers Hard Pier; all together with Fairwind, Parity, Nikita, Hobo, Frith and Firebird moored in two rafts of three.



This location was a first for all of us, nicely positioned off the Bucklers Hard Green and also used by Oliver B, the Beaulieu River Cruise boat.


Although we were unable to book tables at the Master Builders, we were perhaps more fortunate to have booked the BBQ at the marina for the evening get together on a BYO / DIY basis.  Plenty of space (to socially distance) and well positioned to enjoy the evening sun and observe the larger CYC rally that gathered for a ‘pontoon party’ below our commanding position on the quay. We even had other boaters asking if our BBQ was a commercial offering; quite a dilemma but our food would only go so far.

It was a great evening with much catching up.


Nikita (Peter and Dave) and Hobo (Ron and Pam) returned the next day, with Parity (Dick and Richard) and Firebird in company with Frith back to Gosport. Fairwind (Sue and Barrie) made an early start and motored over to Newtown for what turned out to be a very eventful day. She sprung a leak in her fresh water system; we did not hear the pump moving 156 litres of water into the bilges! Needless to say, the bilges are spotless, the leak fixed and a fresh supply of water taken on at Newtown and then Itchenor.

Sue & Barrie Pearson


Lay-up Rally 2019 Report

Scheduled for 2 days, 15th and 16th October, the lay-up rally is the final sailing rally of the season.  At the end of the summer, achievable destinations become scarce due to many local marinas filling up with boats settling in for the winter.  A popular and readily available target is Bembridge Harbour which was selected a couple of weeks prior, with the long term weather forecast suggesting that there might be a weather window to give a pleasant finale to the season.

Six boats registered for the rally:- Fairwind, Frith, Harami, Mandaly, Parity and Opus IV.

Unfortunately the forecast became increasingly pessimistic in the days before the rally with significant uncertainty, and over the weekend the outlook for the Tuesday was a pleasant fine day with F4 winds, but a very wet and windy Wednesday with F5 to F7/8 gusts forecast until late afternoon, making a safe and timely return to Dell Quay quite uncertain.  A circulation of emails amongst those registered led to agreement that Bembridge was too risky, and an alternative destination was agreed, allowing for a later departure and earlier safe return.

Tuesday dawned damp and murky (not a nautical term) but later reports from a member enjoying life in Port Solent indicated a fine sunny afternoon.

map Five intrepid crews (one having dropped out due to illness, a speedy recovery  wished by all) set out well after high tide towards our reserve destination,  approximately 30o  magnetic and 6.13Nm from Dell Quay.  Reliance on GPS navigation did result in one member navigating a interesting course.

???  Yes, we had agreed to head towards the source of the Lavant River, which of course (thanks to the Roman hydraulic engineers) runs into Chichester Harbour above Dell Quay to form our channel.

fireArriving at our destination after dark, five crews relaxed in the comfortable warmth of a fine log fire and great company for a pleasant dinner.  Later, filled with the warm glow of good food, wine (beers) and company, we departed to safely weather the forecast stormy conditions (which didn’t materialise! just grey and damp).

Thus ended the Lay-up Rally to the Fox Goes Free at Charlton.



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