Fast cruisers party on pontoon
Organiser Lynn Griffiths (pictured left) pulled off another tour de Solent with a cracking fast cruise to the Hamble on Saturday 27 October.
17 boats and 70 crew started from the forts at 11.30 Ronhilda left 10 minutes later and made it to the Hamble first. Snoek took four and half hours but came first overall on Big Dons much discussed new handicapping system.
The wind was fresh all day with a steady force 5-6 from the south west but the rain kept off as the boats plugged their way backwards and forwards across the Solent.
Commodore Keith Irons with crack crew Kate, Xavier, Ian and Paul showed what a Moody without a scrubbed bottom can do. The misnamed Sobriety (pictured left) got faster as the day wore on as the crew emptied the beer stocks on board. This years secret weapon, Suzy Anderson, kept them on track to the finish. Odin was practically kissing Troika at Peel Bank until the crew of Troika fumbled their reefing technique and went off at right angles to the next mark.
Synergy arrived safely and with aplomb at the Hamble having decided to ditch the course and sail straight there: Built for comfort, not for speed, said skipper Alan Crux, referring to his boat not himself. Team Charter made it from the Hamble to the start before discovering that boats are better with the water on the outside and returning home to base.
Sula again graced the fleet with her rear view and awesome electronic tacking technique, crew tucked comfortably under the vast canopy of the spray hood.
Once neatly tied up, the pontoon party started. Slowly at first, and then as more crews headed down to A pontoon there were some dodgy moments as the assembled company discovered that pontoons are not designed for 70 people to stand on at once.
One safety conscious and seamanlike person had the forethought to wear a lifejacket, the rest of us clung to our wine bottles in the hope they might float if we went down any further.
And so to supper at La Dolce Vita a great Italian restaurant taken over by the Little Ship Club. Some unfortunate normal people were trying to hold a 60th birthday party at one of the other tables. At least we helped sing Happy Birthday.
After hangover inducing late nights for some, the clocks went back, the wind freshened, the rain came down. Troika had a great sail back to Gosport well-reefed, small jib, boat handling well. Who was that who said lets sail the course in reverse? No, lets make some coffee and eat the rest of the chocolate.