Cruiser Reports

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.



11 – 23 July

There were only two boats signed up before the start date, Fairwind (Sue & Barrie Pearson) and Opus IV (Peter and Jane ‘water babe’ Matthews), however it could be argued that the rally had actually 5.5 boats, even if fleetingly. All crews were delighted to get away for a break after such long lockdown periods.

Apart from the first two days, this rally, like the last one in 2019 was blessed with good weather. Glorious days meant motor sailing, but we did have some good sailing as well. Due to the Covid issue, we restricted ourselves to heading west rather than across the Channel and, we decided on a loose plan of using Yarmouth and Portland for their facilities and the likelihood of berths, stopping in Studland / Poole in between.

Given the very hot weather, Jane’s propensity to frequently leap into the sea caught on somewhat.

1-2On Sunday 11 July, both boats left the harbour and headed for the beautiful Bucklers Hard (Beaulieu River). We met up with Hobo (Ron & Pam Foden) and Ron’s brother and wife who had come around from Ramsgate via Eastbourne in/on their Broom, to meet up with them for their annual ‘family’ cruise of the Solent.

Following on from DQ’s previous BBQ success at Bucklers Hard we decided to book another one for the Sunday evening (thank you Ron). The weather had yet to settle, so unfortunately, we had to postpone for 24 hours. The Wi-Fi was good and we were able to watch England get beaten by Italy instead. The next day, the crews of Fairwind and Opus IV managed to walk to Beaulieu to have lunch (outside) at one of the café’s and return without getting wet. For the upcoming BBQ, Ron got on the case with his ‘Rain Radar App’. Not to blame for that at all, but the rain dance thing was another issue. We experienced torrents of the stuff! We put the boot in, if only to stop water pooling on Fairwind’s cockpit tent.

We decided that a pontoon coffee morning at Hobo would be a good substitute the next day. Whilst enjoying coffee, Rear Commodore Cruising drifted passed on Scallywag on her way to the lift out. Ron invited him over for coffee, but unfortunately, he was too busy to join in. At this point, the rally leader claims 4.5 boats in attendance as Scallywag was within ‘pinging’ distance – we all know about ‘pinging’.

In the afternoon Hobo and the Broom left for East Cowes to continue their annual tour of the Solent, with Fairwind and Opus IV setting sail for Studland Bay. The Foden’s had planned only to eat out some of the lunch times where they could assess the Covid safety beforehand. A good plan that the rest of us followed for most of the time. Fairwind and Opus IV had a lovely sail with a light NW wind. Peter remarked about the queue of boats at the Yarmouth entrance just as the wind collapsed in the Yarmouth/Lymington ferry track. A short piece of motor sailing took us around Hurst Point and up the North Channel to get a good lay on Studland Bay. The wind conditions are always a little different west of Hurst Point and in this case, we had a little more wind from the N/NNW enabling a lovely fetch/beam reach. Opus IV managed to pick up one of the Bankes Arms buoys close into the lovely sandy south beach, but Fairwind with her deeper fin keel opted to anchor a bit further out, also to keep away from the little seahorse that apparently lives there. Both stayed two nights.

The crews explored the delights of Studland the following morning meeting up for lunch at the Bankes Arms. Full marks to the Bankes Arms for Covid Safety planning, with 99 tables on their front ‘lawn’ over-looking the bay, ordering and paying upfront by App and having the food and drink delivered to the table. The only flaw was the inadequacy of the Wi-Fi and the relatively poor phone reception. Jane persevered for some 90 minutes to get the order in and after 120 minutes, we got served. Peter suggested that we should have started the internet order process via Google when crossing Christchurch Ledge! Whatever, full marks to them for ingenuity and anyway it was a lovely day to do some more catching up. ‘Nil pointes’ for the IT consultant though.

3Peter managed to secure a berth for two nights at Parkstone Yacht Club Haven in Poole with Fairwind finding a swinging mooring in the Wych Channel (Poole Harbour Commissioners moorings), later joined by Mandalay (Martin and Sarah Greenhalgh) who had been trying to sail to the Isles of Scilly this summer but were frustrated by their ever-decreasing time frame. We on the other hand had more luck as the rally was now three boats.  Opus IV enjoyed the Parkstone facilities and the others the Poole Quay Boat Haven facilities by way of the very efficient and free water taxi from the moorings.

54In the end, we all stayed three nights in Poole Harbour taking in lunch at The Custom House and a day on Brownsea Island (National Trust) famous for (and not exclusively) for red squirrels and the foundation of the Scout movement.

6We landed on Brownsea by dinghy on the beach at the lovely Pottery Pier, on the WNW tip of the island. Having lunch sitting outside at the NT Café overlooking the entrance to the harbour at the eastern end is just one of the many delights. 7

On the walk back from the café having seen most of the sights, we took in the Forest Bathing facility to have a little rest. The island is a beautiful, interesting and peaceful place and the Pottery Pier/Maryland seaside offers a lovely location for swimming.

Mandalay secured two nights in Weymouth, so Fairwind and Opus IV did the same, doing so at 24 hours-notice which was a pleasant surprise. On Sunday 18th we left Poole harbour, bound for Weymouth. The Lulworth Range was not active ( has a useful booklet with information for mariners. No firing Sundays and 28 July to 31 August), so we were able to do a slow motor ‘sail’ down the Jurassic Coast. This is a rare thing as normally, you have to sail well out to avoid the overfalls, and further west, the gunnery ranges. There are minor overfalls at Old Harry (Studland) and Peveril Ledge (Swanage). The big one is a 4-mile line SW from St Albans Head. There is a very narrow inner passage which looks quite scary so close to the rocky shore, but in fact the water is very deep there.

We took in the following Jurassic Coast sights:


 St Albans Head
 Warbarrow Bay West
 Kimmeridge Ledges & Bay
 Lulworth Cove
 Warbarrow Bay East
 Stair Hole Caves
 Durdle Door
 Weymouth Bay & Cruise Ships
 Weymouth Harbour

 The P&O cruise ships were Ventura and Aurora with attendant dolphins.


1817Mandalay and Opus IV had secured berths in the ‘Cove’ (the usual place) on the interesting and lively south side, but due to new rules Fairwind was put on the northern quayside pontoon where the big boats normally go. It seems that at 1.6m draft, she now qualifies as ‘big’ (just like the late 70’s). Fixed lights  ‘green over white over green’ at the entrance signalled ‘seek instructions on entry’. A quick call to the Weymouth harbour on VHF channel 12 confirmed the berth to aim for. The large berth identifiers painted in orange on the harbour walls now made it all quite easy.


19Weymouth is a lively place and had thousands of human BBQs beachside. As ever, a half mile-walk to the east end of Weymouth beach paid big dividends. Lovely clear water, sandy beach and many fewer human BBQs. We also swam with the locals in a little cove to the west of 19th century Fort Nothe, between Weymouth and Portland Harbours.  

Quayside were many fishermen, ferrymen and of course the leisure sailors, some of the latter having rounded Portland Bill providing us with intel on the Devon/Cornish ports.

Martin and Peter managed to book a table at the Prezzo on the quayside for Monday evening; almost the last table available in Weymouth. All six of us were quite safe on a table in an ‘alcove’ by a large open window. Lovely evening with much laughter, some DQ matters discussed, then back to more laughter.

20The next day at lunchtime (Tuesday), we all motor-sailed/sailed back to Studland. This time, the Lulworth Ranges were firing, so we had to keep 3 miles off, below the 50.33.00N line. Opus IV and Fairwind passed very close to the range patrol boat receiving a very friendly wave. Heavy firing could be heard which was quite disconcerting. Fairwind noted the overfalls at St Albans Head which given the smooth conditions and at 3 miles out were only evidenced by many small, long and strictly parallel waves heading in from a SE directions; concertina like.

Mandalay managed to fly her kite on this leg. Fairwind had decided years ago to keep her spinnaker at home for safe keeping.

22The three boats stayed in Studland overnight. Opus IV left in the morning to sail back to Chichester, but Fairwind and Mandalay with a little more time left later with some ‘champagne sailing’ across Christchurch Bay and anchored early evening at the bottom of Beaulieu river for a very peaceful night.

21On the way back in the Solent, we sighted the ‘Golden Horizon’, the world’s largest square-rigged sailing ship. She was bound for the West Country on her maiden voyage after spending 24 hours under arrest in Dover for failing to pay a debt.

Next day, Mandalay sailed over to Cowes for a final night. Fairwind sailed with a F4 on the nose to the Forts and then had a fetch to Chichester Bar. The early sail home was in advance of a threatened F6 from the east (Wight F8), but in fact, it was much less in the end and Mandalay had a good and lively sail back on Friday.

Thanks to all the crews for joining Fairwind, whether they knew they were part of the rally or not………Sue and I had a great time enhanced by the wonderful company.

Barrie Pearson
with contributions from the crews of Opus IV, Mandalay and Hobo

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