Solent Cruise 2023

Solent Cruise Report 3rd to 7th July 2023

Once again the Solent cruise was blessed with dry sunny weather, albeit with a brisk south westerly wind.  The first day saw the boats sailing to Yarmouth against the wind for a lively start.  Dinner at the Terrace restaurant was excellent and the crews were joined by other members who lived on the island.

The next day, a perfect downwind sail was enjoyed for the short trip to East Cowes Marina where crews spent the afternoon either visiting the Classic Boat Museum in East Cowes or, in the case of the Commodore’s crew, searching for the dinghy and inflating it ready for the next day’s stop – there were some mutinous crew members who even doubted it existed!  However, all was well and everyone assembled at the Lifeboat Inn adjacent to the marina for a good pub supper.

The wind remained fairly brisk and, although the trip was most enjoyable, entry across Chichester bar was lively.  Everyone moored up to the large mooring buoys in Itchenor Reach but the strong wind and tide made for an uncomfortable stay. The motorboat, owned by Past Commodore Nigel Reece, had a particularly uncomfortable mooring and he moved to Chichester Marina. There were fears he might not be able to join everyone for the evening meal members who lived nearby were to join everyone for dinner and a phone call to Past Commodore Mike Slack ensured a lift for Nigel and Barbara and an excellent dinner was enjoyed at the Ship Inn.   Amongst those who joined the crews was Club Admiral Cdre Tony Morrow CVO who had recently returned from Scotland where he escorted HM the King during a visit to his last command, HMY Britannia (check out on YouTube “The King returns to HMY Britannia”).  Altogether, a very successful stay for the first time the Solent Cruise had included Chichester Harbour.

On Thursday morning the boats set off for the short trip to Bembridge where berths had been booked in the marina.  The weather was identical to the last two years with brilliant sunshine and light winds so conditions for the barbeque were ideal.  To watch members’ choice of foods to barbeque was interesting.  Some arrived armed with traditional sausages and chicken but one crew were treated to enormous rib-eye steaks – something to do with their skipper who is a liveryman of the Butchers Company (no marks for guessing who!).

Overall, a successful cruise and friendships were made or strengthened and we are sure that more Members would enjoy the event if it did not exclude those who were unable to give up a week’s work to sail the Solent.  The Committee will be looking at a possible change next year with a cruise from Wednesday to Sunday, thus enabling Members to join just for the weekend portion – more news to follow.

Gp Capt Peter Bingham
Vice Commodore