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Rain and Sun at Calshot

Here is Richard's report on this weeks trip to Calshot. The photos were taken by Barbara and Richard including one of the Seavets flag being respectfully flown at half mast just before sunset on the lagoon.

On Monday the 12th Sept I arrived at Calshot just after 9am to find Keith and Mary Williams had already set up camp, and with the sun shining the omens looked positive. During the morning we were joined by Andy & Linda Lacy, Nick & Fiona Rose, Maurice & Barbara Humberstone, John Ellis, Joe Coulson and Martin Brooks. Martin & Fay Wark unfortunately had to pull out at the last minute due to a knee injury. After an early lunch we took to the water in the lagoon and spent the afternoon blasting around in a strong and gusty S wind. It became cloudy during the day but we decided to have our BBQ in the evening. This was very pleasant until the rain started at about 8pm, so after discovering the centre bar was closed we all had an early night.

Tuesday was cruise day and the rain was still falling and despite the forecast for it to stop by late morning it continued throughout the day, but being the hardy veterans we are decided to go ahead anyway. Keith pulled out due to a rib injury sustained the previous day but we were joined by day sailors Janes Leeming and Dave Rabbetts. The plan was to sail to the Jolly Sailor in Ashlett for lunch then on to Lepe in the afternoon, on phoning the pub we were told the kitchen was closed due to them catering for a wake. The plan was then changed to sail to the cafe at Lepe for lunch instead; according to the local experts it was better to go there earlier anyway due to the strong tidal conditions expected later.

Launching on the Solent at 12.00 nine of us had a fairly comfortable run in the forecast NE 8/10 mph wind, arriving at 12.45 with the rain still pouring down. As we entered the cafe the staff were horrified to see wet people enter the beach cafe on a pouring wet day. After at first refusing to serve us but after some negotiation they agreed to offer us takeaway food and drink. Luckily there was sheltered seating outside and the cafe staff then franticly mopped up the puddles. We set sail again at 1.30 and with the wind still much the same as the outward leg, we expected a fairly easy beat back, how wrong could we be as after making good progress initially we started to feel the effects of the predicted 3 to 4 mph tidal flow. With the wind falling lighter we were all tacking back to the same point on each tack - I thought there must have been several red notice boards on the beach, but there was only one and I got to know it pretty well. Everyone made a valiant effort to round Stone Point but we all failed, so we headed back to Lepe. Once on shore we were reassured to learn that the local coastguard lookout at Lepe had counted us all out and safely in. While wondering what to do next we met a local French windsurfer who we had been chatting to at Calshot earlier, and in Jon’s words did a lot to boost the Entente Cordiale by offering a couple of us a lift back to Calshot. The 2 returning drivers then ferried the rest of us back to pick up our vans. It was never a dangerous situation just frustrating that had the wind held up as forecast it would have been straight forward.

The next morning dawned to still more rain so Andy organised a coffee morning in the centre cafe. On leaving at midday the sun finally made an appearance again, so we quickly rigged up and 6 of us sailed down to the Jolly Sailor in a steady 10mph wind for a fish and chip lunch and a pint. The NE wind was still up as we left so exiting the creek was easy, and we had a steady run back to base. It was a lovely warm afternoon by now so we organised a couple of impromptu races around the moored boats in the lagoon, and we had almost forgotten the disappointment of the previous day.

In the evening 8 of us cycled or drove back to the Jolly Sailor for a very nice pub meal, where Martin was inducted into the grand order of the wooden spoon, for his mud larking exploits after a late landing in the lagoon, this rounded off the trip and the cruising season nicely.

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Fantastic ! Far more than I would have attempted in my prime. Give me Vassiliki any day, even one when the staff were a bit slow carrying my board and rig down to the water. Alan Rowlands

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