The planned cruise itinery of The Yealm and Fowey had been an enticing prospect for the Spring Cruise, but a combination of circumstances made some of the fleet make the difficult decision not to round Portland Bill as intended. The crew of the four boats all had deadlines of when the return home was necessary, so the West Country element would only have been a brief stopover rather than a leisurely cruise. A likely bumpy passage across Lyme Bay, and the fact that the easterly winds were set to remain for the whole of the following week (making a longer than usual return leg), were not encouraging. Instead, we waved off the main fleet, and began our mini breakaway cruise with an extended stay in Portland.

The mini cruise settled into a relaxed pace, with a short stroll for morning coffee, followed by the summer essential of strawberries and cream on deck in the sunshine.

Pimms, Strawberries and cream, on Sea Dragon

In the evening, we ventured into Weymouth following a recommendation for a local Indian restaurant, for a delicious meal and entertaining evening. The following night was a Safari Supper, although we stayed true to our relaxed approach, and settled ourselves on Sea Dragon for the duration!

Shalim’s Balti House, Weymouth

By Thursday, it was time to begin our return to the Solent, with a sail to Lymington. We knew the wind would be against us, but there was enough of it to allow the three boats to sail. The sea conditions were benign enough to allow us to take the Inner Passage past St Alban’s Head. After a full day ‘at sea’, we were relieved that The Mayflower pub was able to accomodate our late plea for them to feed us, with a delicious and well earned meal.

After an overnight stay in Lymington, East Cowes beckoned. It was excellent sailing conditions across the Solent, despite the wind direction still not being as kind as it could. There was a choice of whether to stay north or cross to the Island side early, which inevitably encouraged some spirited competition between the boats!

A ‘Jolly at the Folly’ was the final leg of the cruise. After braving the 10 minute motor up The Medina, we were ready to restore our depleted energy levels with a cream tea on board Vega.

The Folly, Isle of Wight

The breakaway cruise may not have been planned, but proved to be a very relaxing and enjoyable week away. It’s proof that a bit of spontaneity can produce the best trips, and cruising in fantastic company certainly helps!

27th May – 4th June 2023