Cruiser Reports

Hardway Sailing Club Rally 25th/26th September


The annual cruiser rally to Hardway Sailing Club went ahead last weekend.
With misty conditions and little wind, 7 boats set forth from differing locations in Chichester Harbour and motored and sailed west to Portsmouth Harbour, arriving at our destination between Gosport and Fareham in the late afternoon.  The participating boats, Moody Maid, Opus IV, Maria, Osprey, Zephyr, Mandalay, Juniper of Leigh all met up with Fridays Child, which was returning from a Solent cruise, on the wide pontoon stretching out from the shore in front of Hardway’s clubhouse.

When first docked, although there was little wind, quite a lumpy swell caused the boats to bounce around on the pontoon. We put it down to a southerly breeze creating this effect but no one was quite sure.

It was good to see both new and not so regular boats and crews joining the older cruising brethren on this rally which is the penultimate DQ event on the organised calendar.

Regrettably the new galley contractor was not opening in the evening so the usually anticipated good and inexpensive food was unavailable. However, a table had been booked at the nearby Jolly Roger pub. All 16 crew met for a pre meal drink in the excellent Hardway Club house before 12 made their way to the pub. Despite mixed reports about what to expect, the pub provided a reasonable meal albeit served rather slowly. A nightcap was then enjoyed back at the clubhouse where incredibly cheap prices lured those lacking self-restraint to drink even more alcohol until last orders were called. Not that we had any such characters in our midst!!

The earlier bouncing had stopped so quiet conditions through the night prevailed to facilitate a peaceful night’s sleep. There was also a period around low water when the water disappeared and boats’ keels sank into the soft mud.

The galley was still not open on Sunday morning so there was no opportunity to enjoy a full English, something we have enjoyed in previous years. Never mind, we can hope that normal service will be resumed next year.

Most boats departed Hardway late morning and the wind gradually picked up as we sailed east. By mid afternoon a southerly F4 had set in but most boats were back on their moorings by this time.

This is one of the shortest and most straightforward rallies of the season. If you haven’t yet tried rallying with the DQ cruisers then why not put in your diary for next year. It’s usually in September or early October. You will be very welcome.

Tim Applewhite


Folly Rally Report 7 September 2021

Six boats made it to Folly Reach on the River Media, Isle of Wight on the 7th September 2021. Fairwind, with Sue and Barrie on board, were the first to arrive with Martin on Frith of Dell Quay. Parity (Dick & Richard) joined them shortly afterwards, followed by Mandalay (Sarah & Martin), Jacob Faithful (Esmond & Paul) and finally Firebird (Tim). The weather was exceptionally good with warm sunshine and a clear blue sky. With the wind in the East, most of us had a broad reach and later, a dead run to Cowes and the engine was required on the last leg from Horse Sand Fort to the small boat channel into Cowes.

However, Firebird did find some wind and made a fine picture sailing out from West Pole.

parity fairwind
Parity, Fairwind & Frith
jacob mandalay
Firebird & Jacob Faithfull, Mandalay behind

The Folly berthing team were there to greet us and provide mooring instructions and all boats were able to tie-up together on the mid river pontoon opposite the Folly Inn pub.

Dinner was enjoyed al-fresco in the recently refurbished seating area on the north side of the pub, where we all enjoyed an excellent meal with good service.

Three boats decided to make the most of the outing and sailed the following morning to Portsmouth Harbour. Gosport marina was full, as was Hasler, so we all eventually got into Port Solent. However, the wind was quite brisk (gusting 22+kts) and still easterly. With wind over a Spring tide the sea state was quite challenging. Jacob Faithful and Parity beat across the Solent to the Hampshire shore where the sea was a little calmer, but Firebird struggled in rough seas on the island side until eventually making it across to Gillkicker Point and on into the harbour. Despite a passing thunder storm just before dinner, we all enjoyed a meal at the Harvester pub.

Parity at Port Solent, the Harvester pub in the background

The following day, the wind had eased to a Force 3-4 from the south. The sail back was perfect with a calm sea and strange visibility, which was clear up to about 50 feet and ten tenths cloud above. Parity tacked out towards the shipping channel and saw the (infamous) EverGiven pass by, having been released from the Suez canal. Gosh it’s big!

The Folly Inn is back to its former high standard after the recent lockdowns and well worth a visit.

Dick Hoare (Parity)


Newtown River Informal Rally 24 – 25 August 2021

Fairwind (Sue and Barrie Pearson with grandchildren Archie and Freddie) and Frith of Dell Quay (Martin Watson) left early to catch the westerly tide in the Solent in a moderate easterly breeze and fine weather.  Frith arrived first and once Fairwind had picked up a white visitors buoy a little further north of Hamstead Jetty, Frith relocated and tied alongside.

A BBQ on the beach was planned and although getting ashore at dead low water springs was a bit muddy, Martin impressed with a very efficient BBQ, windbreak tent and a trowel to bury the ashes.



Wednesday was another gloriously sunny day and Frith and Fairwind had both planned to stay out another night so with the advice from a grandchild “If you want a lie in until 7am Granny, you need to tire us out” ringing in our ears a full day of tiring activities was planned.

Firstly a trip ashore for treasure hunting on the shingle beach which turned in to more of a beach clean as an empty plastic sack labelled galvanised shackles was found and quickly filled with other plastic rubbish, whilst special shells, stones and sea glass went into a rucksack.

Next, a dinghy trip with Martin up to Shalfeet Quay followed by a brisk walk to the village shop for the promised ice creams. We found the well -stocked shop is now open from 08:00 to 19:00 with no extended afternoon break so there had been no need to rush!  The New Inn was functioning and we were tempted to pop in but we had a picnic with us and we had swimming and fishing activities on the agenda for the afternoon.


Finally, the fishing; however despite Archie’s best efforts to entice fish with rather smelly bait, neither he, Freddie nor Martin were successful and we had pasta for supper. We all slept well.

An early start in cloudier conditions saw Frith away to Lymington on Thursday whilst Fairwind had a beat back to Chichester on the flood tide but against a moderate to fresh easterly.  The fishing was more successful and the boys went home with three splendid mackerel caught in quick succession in Hayling Bay whilst Fairwind was close hauled and doing 6kts.

This was the first time an informal rally had been organised with Newtown River the perfect destination for such an event. The National Trust manages the river and the Harbour Master comes around in his launch to collect berthing fees when the tide allows.  Anchoring is free. It is a special place with creeks to explore, beaches to swim from and wildlife in abundance. Water is available from the tap at the end of the bridge across the salt marshes and there are bins for rubbish at Shalfleet Quay, both destinations are accessible over high water that conveniently stands for two hours.

Sue Pearson Fairwind of Dell Quay


DQSC Cruisers to Yarmouth IOW

Saturday 24 July 2021

They were eight cruisers planning on making this rally so potentially a good turn out for a lovely destination. Scallywag, Parity, Frith of Glasgow, Frith, Hi Time, Osprey, Laudi and Moody Moon with the idea of all meeting up for a drink on the pontoon and meal in the Bugle Coaching House Yarmouth at 1930 on Saturday 24th July 2021.

The best laid plans of Dell Quay sailors don’t always come to fruition and some had to drop out Scallywag had engine problems (sounded expensive), Parity who had departed on Friday spending the night in Cowes got weed in the cooling intake, Osprey with transport issues and Laudi whose crew cancelled so we were left with only four.

Moody Moon had been on the beach at Dell Quay on Friday afternnon for a scrub and antifoul, the water was a nice temperature for wading and scrubbing.

image1After watching a stunning sunset, Moody Moon floated at around 2300 with the intention of going down to Westlands and picking up a buoy but thunder, lightning and F7 winds suggested a better option was the Chichester Marina waiting pontoon. We picked the rest of the crew on Saturday morning around 0900 and then went down harbour maintaining a listening watch on VHF #8. Out into the Solent and a very gentle easterly breeze enabled us to put up sail and move at a bit more than the tide however, as we went through the Forts the wind faded away so it was on with the engine. Frith had reported the same lack of wind when off Wooton Creek. So, a nice steady motor all the way to Yarmouth.


Unfortunately, Yarmouth Harbour was fully booked for rallies and so we had to take pot luck on where we were going to be berthed, thankfully we were all close together. Frith arriving first then Moody Moon, Firth of Glasgow and finally Hi Time of which more later.

image2Meeting for a drink on the pontoon before going to the Bugle was a good chance to catch up and tell stories of daring doings as well as finding out what members had been up to during the lock down.

It wasn’t until we were seated in the Bugle that we realised Hi Time was not with us and unfortunately in the Old Coaching House I had no phone signal so couldn’t find out where they were or what was happening.

We had a lovely meal in the Bugle which had all been pre-ordered and as we left my phone pinged to say that Hi Time had just got in after a bit of engine/fuel issue. It transpires that Hi Time took a lot longer than expected to get to Yarmouth, leaving Thornham Marina at 11am sailing all the way to Cowes, reaching Yarmouth around 22:00.

Sunday morning the forecast was for a northerly F3 and showers, lovely - ha we should have known better.

Frith of Glasgow left around 0650 after a bit of tricky time reversing out of our berth (Finesse 24’s don’t steer to port very well in reverse!) so despite a big lurch in the wrong direction not helped by the wind they narrowly avoided smashing their bowsprit through Frith’s  washboards. Wind on the nose on the whole way home to Dell Quay so they motored home in the drizzle and got back at 11:45.

Frith left at about 08:30 and Martin later reported “I beat out to the middle of the channel in F2 winds and then had a long board reach to Gurnard before putting in a tack to get me back out into the channel again, as I passed Egypt Head, the wind went further north and increased to F3 for a while and so I ended up on a broad reach straight down the middle to Gilkicker, doing 6.5kts over the ground in 6.5kts apparent wind” as he went back to Portsmouth.

Hi Time Googled their engine problem in the morning, sorting the issue out and then leaving at 05:00 catching some good wind back almost to Cowes - although while sailing part of our rigging broke …….. - it slowed them down rather than stopping them. The wind then died off to about F1/F2 and they motored the rest of the way home arriving in Thornham marina at 14:30 with about 10 minutes to spare before losing the water.

Moody Moon left at 09:00 and had a light F1-2 easterly……. And then the heavens opened so on engine and oilskins and motored all the way home to Dell Quay dropping off one at Chichester Marina as we went past. Offloading the extra crew and bags etc at the Quay with about 30 mins of water left and so back out to the mooring – where the heavens opened and there was more thunder and lightning.

A great cruiser rally enjoyed by all, with crews re-learning or remembering skills and requirements for fuel and navigation planning but most importantly getting together for a social, chatting face to face even if socially distanced.

Piers Chamberlain - Moody Moon


Round the Wight Rally 10th/11th Aug 2021

The annual Round the Wight Rally provides an opportunity for cruisers to escape the Solent and sail in less protected waters whilst amongst ‘friendly’ boats. This helps to provide a feeling of comfort and solidarity, especially if it is the first time south of the island.  From DQ to Yarmouth is around 28Nm and from Yarmouth anticlockwise around the island and returning to DQ is approx 45Nm. These are sort of direct distances, but avoiding land. Add a fair bit if you are having to beat into the wind!

Eight boats signed up for the rally this year and a booking for berths in Yarmouth was made early just in case it was really busy. This was a good move as it turned out. On the departure day, numbers had dropped to five boats due to engine problems, rigging failure and a fish hook through the finger. Ouch! These were much better reasons than given in some previous years.

Fairwind (Sue and Barrie), Moody Maid (Sue and Dick), Osprey (Chris and Julian) and Roussillon (Chris, Andy and Tim) departed from Chichester Harbour at widely differing times during the morning. Frith (Martin) sailed out from Portsmouth Harbour.


The voyage west was unusual in that the wind was on the nose, something we regular Solent sailors rarely encounter. I jest. Engines rattled away and the wind strength gradually increased. A voice on the VHF from the leading boat announced that F5 and steep seas were being encountered in the western Solent. Glad tidings and something to look forward to for those boats yet to reach Cowes.

The party leader, on board tail end Charlie repeatedly tried to obtain more information via the radio from the other skippers. In fact he tried all four different radios on board many times but not a single response was forthcoming. Some said later that his voice was drowned by engine noise but it was more likely that nobody wanted to talk to him. This has been noted and will be discussed at the next cruiser committee meeting.


All five boats finally made it to Yarmouth and were tightly rafted together. Just as well that berths had been booked; it was full to the gunwhales so to speak. More sailors using their boats on staycation rather than chartering a monster in the Aegean perhaps.

A plan for social interaction was hatched. We would have drinks and nibbles on a couple of the boats and then move on to The Bugle where they would welcome us (and our cash) with open arms (and hands) and ply us with huge meals. They no longer allow you to book in advance regrettably.

socialAt 1800hrs the wine and beer flowed and after the small talk about the Olympics and Covid we got down to the serious annual debate about what time we would need to set forth the following morning. This is always a good one. The idea is to depart Yarmouth during the final stages of the ebb west and arrive at the Needles just as the east going flood starts. Failure to do so could result in you being swept backwards with all sorts of ramifications too dire to mention. (Wind and/or an engine can help to avoid this though)

As always there were widely differing opinions ranging from the insomniac who thought that a 0400hrs start was necessary, to the sloth who thought that sometime after 0800hrs would be OK. Out came the tide tables, charts, tablets, phones etc. Back and forth it went until in the end a compromise of 0600hrs was agreed whereupon it was time to move on and sample the delights that we expected would be on offer at The Bugle.


Imagine our collective dismay when they refused to feed us. It was full of those staycationers who had got there before us. Grrrr. Can you believe that not one other pub in Yarmouth was serving food – it being a Tuesday?? Staff shortages perhaps. However, we were offered a glimmer of hope when we were told that a chippy in Totland did deliveries. Hurray! Orders were taken and our elected spokesperson rang to place our valued order, only to be told that we had been lied to. Even more dismay! Some of us stayed in town for a beer but we all ended up back on board our respective boats to feast on Fray Bentos pies, spam, beans, bread and biscuits – all the nutritious things that cruising folk keep on board for just such an emergency.

Up at the crack of dawn, the hygiene conscious amongst us made their way to the showers only to find them locked. A security guard was letting people singly into the outside disabled toilet. Bah, no time. Skipper Sprules vowed to pen a strong letter of complaint to Yarmouth as he is a regular and expert writer of such rants.

And so we all departed in orderly fashion and motored on a flat calm sea west towards the Needles.

needlesThere we did indeed encounter the slack water allowing us to slip south of the island and head east. Gentle motoring was the order of the day until as we neared St.Catherine’s Point a wind of sorts and from the opposite direction to the one forecast (of course) helped us on our way.  It was pleasing to encounter the dreaded overfalls off the Point having a placid day.


The sun shone and with a light following wind Ventnor, Shanklin and Sandown slipped by quickly thanks to the flood tide beneath us. 7 knots OTG soon eats up the miles. By lunchtime the leading boats were off Bembridge Ledge and bidding farewell to fellow ralliers. They even communicated with the party leader. Funny how the sun can cheer people up.

All boats apart from one headed home but Roussillon was determined to continue the fun.


However, Bembridge Harbour turned her away and she had to settle for the bright lights of Haslar Marina and a meal on board the Mary Mouse which was very agreeable.

For those cruising folk who have yet to try our RTW Rally, you’ve got to agree that it is a joyful and rewarding experience, haven’t you? Why not try it for yourself next year.


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