Nine Seavets met at Beachlands Hayling Island this week for the annual cruise - Andy Lacy, John Ellis, Dave Rabbetts, Maurice Humberstone, Simon Barker, Alan Jackson, Keith Williams, first time cruiser Clive Cherry and myself, Richard Williams. We were due to be joined by Nick Kidd but he was testing a helicopter at Fareham so treated us to a flypast instead. The forecast was for a N 12mph wind and sunshine, and this seemed to be the case as we launched at 11.40 and headed E along the seafront on flat water and a puffy offshore wind. We made good progress and soon reached Eastoke Point where we crossed the normal washing machine effect at the entrance to Chichester harbour. The wind was cleaner here and we then had a nice beat heading N towards Emsworth, with a brief stop at HISC to regroup.
Landing at Emsworth was a bit tricky in this wind direction but we eventually landed at 1.30 with the help of some swearing and cursing, stacked boards and sails together on the hard and made our way to the Blue Bell pub for lunch. As last year they were less than accommodating saying they couldn't handle more than 6 in a group, so we walked a few more yards to The Coal Exchange, where we received a warm welcome and were quickly served with a very reasonably priced fish and chip lunch and pint. We will come straight here next time.
Launching again at 2.30 we followed local man Simon to pick our way across the shallow waters towards Langstone Bridge, except Andy who took route one and promptly embedded himself in the thick weed, taking some time to extricate himself, more swearing and cursing! Negotiating the bridge with ease we then entered the wide expanse of Langstone Harbour for a run south in a bit less wind now. Half way across we were treated to our second fly past, this time a WW2 Spitfire which passed right overhead.
On nearing the Ferry the water got a bit choppy where the channel narrows, which was a bit uncomfortable but not too difficult. We landed at the café just past the Ferry pub for a well earned ice cream, and watched as a large sailing boat crabbed its way sideways trying to make headway against the fast flowing outgoing tide. It was then a short hop with the help of the tide back out and along the seafront to Beachlands, landing at 4.15. Sailing time was just on 3 hours, we then posed on the beach for a team photo with new cruiser Clive proudly flying the Jolly Roger, after what had been a very enjoyable days sailing.