Summer starts here! AKA Chichester Weekend June ’21

In spite of the restrictions imposed upon us over the last twelve months. Monthly meetings recommenced in January on Zoom with the generous help of Allan and Gaye. The first two were just social occasions but subsequent meetings included sailing business. I know that things aren’t perfect yet. Not all facilities are open at Cobnor but they definitely are at Bala and I do hope that more members will join us there on the weekend of 10th/11th July.

Sailing Report Chichester Harbour Weekend

Oh my word but it was good to be back on the water again!

We have just returned from Chichester and the last of our party returned today from what I feel has been one of our most spectacular visits in years. The weather has been outstanding with wall-to-wall sunshine virtually throughout with just a short sharp shower on the last full day.

Largely because of Covid, boats were only being sailed by single household groups meaning that Rob and David spent most of the time afloat on their own. Everyone who attended took lateral flow Covid tests on arrival to which all results were reported negative. This made socialising a little more relaxed, although we refrained from the hugging and kissing. Obviously.

During the weekend our various destinations were familiar:

Saturday: Itchenor (Yes I know that’s not far but you have to start some where).

Sunday: Dell Quay

Monday: East Head

Tuesday: Hayling Island.

Lunch at East Head- Note the white Bermudan style sand!

The single handed sailing by some of our number meant that sailing in close company was essential for all destinations, each of us looking out for the others. This was of particular import for the venture to East Head on the Tuesday. The day started with a lively easterly wind and, with all boats on reduced sail, our little flotilla reached Hayling Island Sailing Club safely in time for lunch. During our lunch break, however, the sea breeze kicked in and the wind strength increased considerably to the point that white horses could be seen all over the harbour and the wind made the shrouds whistle. The tide was on the make and the water from Hayling Island back to East Head had become very choppy.

It has to be said that few of us were happy about it. The hot weather meant that only Rob was in a drysuit and capsizing for any reason was not an option. It became obvious that sailing single-handed in such conditions would be most unwise. As a company, we decided to wait a couple of hours for the tide to slacken, which we hoped would reduce the chop and Tony, who had travelled to Hayling with Steve in the Drascombe, agreed to crew for Rob on the return leg.

After a couple of hours, the wind had lessened slightly and so had the chop. The two Wayfarers left. First Rob & Tony, followed by Richard and Rhona, both under double reefed mainsails. The boats were difficult to beat into the wind and, eventually, both skippers let go their jibs to gain some traction on the wind. This lead to some exciting sailing even if the crews got a bit wet.  The Drascombe,under jib and mizzen only had no difficulty with the choppy waters but, with less than half sail, it was a slow journey home for my crew of Linda, Pat & Steve. By virtue of good team work and seamanship, all crews returned to the slip safely if a bit damp.

The entire visit was punctuated with lively and enjoyable social occasions, three at the campsite and one meal out. I believe I speak for all who went when I say that if you weren’t there on this occasion, you missed a damn fine weekend.

It’s time to get your sailing gear out, book an AirBNB if you don’t want to camp but please, please come and join us on the water.

Ready about!!

Steve