The start of what is officially Autumn brought a change in the weather – to bright sunshine and rising temperatures. It felt the least Autumnal it has for the last couple of months. While there were no complaints about the sun putting in an appearance, a little more wind would have been appreciated. ‘Metal sails’ were the order of the day for many, although there was some actual sailing squeezed in for anybody not in a rush.

Bembridge Harbour brings more of a challenge to navigate than some marinas, especially if a rally is timed to coincide with spring tides, but 13 boats arrived without incident. It was one of the largest turnouts for a Rally, with 36 people making it across the high seas to the Isle of Wight. One boat was missing due to technical issues with their metal sail, but were not discouraged and arrived by ferry.

Another boat tried to generate a potential Uncle Albert moment, when their head sail opted to go for a swim shortly after it was raised. They may have redeemed themselves sufficiently by providing Sunday morning entertainment in the form of a mast climb.

With a large attendance and probably the narrowest pontoons, it was a squeeze to fit everybody in for tea (Pimms) and cake in the afternoon. It seemed like the majority of other visitors at Bembridge had dogs, who needed to navigate the pontoon, which added to the jeopardy, but nobody ended up getting wet, so it was a success. One particularly feisty swan took it upon himself to chase dogs along the pontoon.

The evening saw the Club visiting Brading Haven Yacht Club, for a very enjoyable evening and burgee swap.

There was even less wind on Sunday, at its strongest there was just enough to fly a burgee, but I don’t think any sails were needed. It gave Navy Blues the opportunity for some Man over Board practice, when a fender was spotted floating in the water. With clear skies, and the sun staying for another day, it wasn’t a hardship to float across the Solent.

2nd – 3rd September 2023