Monday, July 21, 2008

MacGregor Solent Rally

Fri 20 Jun Headed out to Newtown Creek with enough wind to sail from the end of the Itchen River at 6+ knots! Once round Calshot, we ended up head to wind so raised the staysail and beat to Newtown, again at 6+ knots. Anchored in a deep pool on the East side of the creek and hoisted the MacGregor burgee, ready for everyone else to arrive the next day.

Sat 21 Jun Got up at leisurely pace and took Pippin ashore before everyone arrived. A couple of Macs rafted on us, and two more rafted on Ruff ‘n’ Ready, Adrian’s 46’ Bavaria which was anchored close by. Adrian had to do a mad dash in the dinghy to recover a fender which had come untied. Since he was rowing, Mark jumped in our dinghy to go and tow him back to Ruff ‘n’ Ready, which was fine until Mark ran out of fuel on the way back to Talia and ended up rowing as well !
After lunch we had a fast sail to Yarmouth where most of the others were already waiting on the outer pontoon. We had a good nosey round Alicia and Ruff ‘n’ Ready and showed people around Talia, whilst quaffing several beers and G&T’s. We had dinner ashore which involved practically taking over the tea rooms and caused much chaos with the kitchens, then after a couple of drinks in the pub, it was back to the boats.

Sun 22 Jun Plan was to leave early and head to the Folly to meet up with David and Jilly. However, our plans came unstuck when the people who were rafted outside us promised to wait 20 minutes while we quickly walked Pippin, then changed their minds and went ashore as soon as we were out of sight. With a raft of 4 boats in front of us and 2 boats behind, there was no way we could manoeuvre Talia out, even if we could get the other boat moved. By the time we had shuffled several boats around, it was too late to get to the Folly and still get back to our berth on the tide. Instead we had a fast race back to Southampton Water in westerly winds of 5-6 knots. It was quite a struggle for the Macs but we had a great sail.
We tried to sail up Southampton Water but somehow lost the wind and it was slow and painful progress. As we came past the moored oil tankers, a ferry (which was well out of the channel) nearly hit us – we were less than a boat length from it, stalled in the water and unable to start the engine in time to manoeuvre away. We might have been able to turn more easily if we’d had the staysail up but as it was, we were extremely lucky not to have been run down. At the time, we were too shocked to do more than gather ourselves to continue on, but in hindsight, we should have noted the ferry name, position and time and reported it to the authorities.