I was taking a bit of a risk booking a sailing rally for the second weekend of October but I thought.. what the heck. BOA ralliers are a rufty tufty crowd and a bit of wind and weather wouldn’t put them off joining in a bit of fun….
So, we put on our oilies and sea boots and set off in 25 degrees sunshine and a frightening force 2 for Lymington. The sea was like glass and the only vessels moving at any sort of speed were the speed boats fighting for their place in the annual race around the Isle of Wight.
When I rang Lymington harbour to book the rally onto the new finger berths built at the town quay I was told that, "No, we don’t book rallies onto the new berths". I suggested that perhaps it wasn’t a rally as such, more a collection of friends in boats and would there be space for 10 of us? Sarah (the harbour master, or should that be mistress, or perhaps, person), concurred and said that she would make an exception as it was out of season. She asked the size of the boats and when I said they would range from 30ft up to 42ft she said that they couldn’t take boats that large. I pointed out that a friend had been there just the previous week and spotted a boat of 41ft moored on the outside berth? Sarah said that just for this once any of our boats up to 42ft could moor up, but they would have to be rafted…..
I then attempted to book a meal for 24 at The Ship Inn, on the quayside, and was told no more than 12 could be accommodated at any one time. However, the very helpful manager, Trevor, called me back and suggested that would a further two tables of six be acceptable with a service gap of about 20 minutes between tables. By this time I was a bit desperate to fit everyone in, so agreed.
All 10 boats booked arrived. We had two new members as well turn up, so hope they enjoyed themselves and that we see them again on another rally.
The usual pontoon party took place on the pontoon next to Oceansong, and then we all went off to The Ship for dinner, which was excellent. The cherry on top of the cake was the fact that it was Corinnes birthday as well so we all sang ‘Happy Birthday’.
All in all, it was a great rally. The berthing masters and Sarah couldn’t have been more helpful, as were the staff and manager of The Ship Inn. The location of the pontoons was excellent; right by the town quay. We will certainly go back there for another rally (or collection of boats) sometime.
The sail back was uneventful, except for the fact that we could actually sail! The wind picked up just in time for our trip to Cowes to pick up some fuel.
A big ‘thank you’ to all the ralliers for making it such a success, and don’t forget the Christmas Jumper rally in December! Best wishes Crid & David