Solent Rally & Channel Cruise – 2017

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The sail from Hamble to Lymington was interesting up to 32 knots at times with choppy seas but Alexis was fine reefed down and I was glad there were 4 of us on the boat.  Mooring up was a bit of a challenge in such strong winds as we are trying to manage without a bow thruster and review the situation in November.  The meal at the Haven was good and we had a lot of laughs around the table.  This is my first time at a rally and I don’t race but quickly found everyone to be very friendly and we didn’t talk sailing all night.  I had a perception that all the talk would be about boats and sailing but it was refreshing to see that it wasn’t!

Sunday, we sailed to Gunwharf and rafted up, Bill and Jeff taking our lines, wind on the nose again! Another good evening, pre- dinner drinks on Tean followed by supper at the Royal Naval and Royal Albert Yacht Club where we were well looked after.  We sat with the owners of Vixen, despite being opposite us in our marina, Hamble Point, this is the first time I had met them.

Just 3 of the 10 yachts sailed to Cherbourg on Tuesday casting lines at 7am for a great sail over, wind on the nose again!  Only my second time across the channel.  It felt very special to be in France, we had a relaxed breakfast, pottered for the rest of the day and all met up for a fabulous meal at the Café du Paris in the evening.  A lovely sail to St Vaast-la-Hougue with a little motoring and 2 days of sunshine in the beautiful little fishing town of St Vaast, very relaxing.  On the last night, we ate together on Xtra Time, Jon and Len organised a fabulous evening of food and wine and Anne and Bill kindly hosted and cooked the main course, we christened our oven!

A lovely sail back through the Needles and a great adventure for me, wind on the nose again!   I hope more boats will feel able to enjoy such a week in the future.

It was great to meet lots of new people who were able to pass on useful tips and also good to see how others had organised their boats.  Everyone was very friendly and willing to help with information and great to see some familiar faces when mooring up ready to take our lines.  Our thanks to Jon from La Nef IV for all his hard work organising the week and for your knowledge about the ports.

Lynne Mulholland (Alexis X4 bought August 2016)
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