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Western Solent Cruise Report

The shake, rattle and roll weather of Summer continues to make waves through the sailing calendar, extending the rally’s stay in Yarmouth to three nights in hope of a smoother sail home.

Fourteen boats and crews made it through the choppy western Solent to Buckler’s Hard for a night’s stay and a sociable barbecue eaten under the cover of the marina’s marquee. With an impossible forecast for the planned Sunday return, four boats returned east the next day and ten went west to Yarmouth in a strong south westerly wind which, unforecast, built and built with gusts up to 26 knots. One boat turned back en-route and went east to Cowes and nine yachts battled through, a good sail it was not.

But there’s nothing as good for putting one’s struggles in perspective as watching others’ bravery and endurance. In the rain and wind the next day we had grandstand views from Yarmouth pier and castle of the start of the Fastnet Race from Cowes to Penzance, Ireland and Cherbourg. About 450 yachts came past in the race’s first two hours, heading into the 30 knot south-westerly, tacking, foiling and heeling in the rain, mist and chop. Only another two days of this to go chaps! Yarmouth lifeboat was called out twice and two yachts from the race retired to Yarmouth Harbour, one with an injured crewman.

We had an excellent dinner that evening at the Royal Solent Yacht Club which coped sympathetically with the reduction from 31 pre-booked diners to 15.

On Sunday, in better weather, a walk to the Golden Hill Fort and Freshwater was followed by lunch at the former Yarmouth railway station, now Off the Rails café/restaurant.

A calm, motorsail journey home on Monday. Could have done with some of that weekend’s westerly wind…

Rally boats: April Folly, Coco, Dawn Chorus, Good Day Sunshine, Hermit 2, High Time, Legato, Lunici, Misty Blue, Quintette, Raven, Saxon, Sounio, Star Dancer.

Amanda and David Pearce, April Folly.