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South Coast: Newport Rally
16th June 2018 @ 8:00 am - 17th June 2018 @ 5:00 pm
Shamefully I didn’t keep a proper log of our trip to Newport, Isle of Wight. But I have quite vivid memories of the trip back to Poole.
I have a Westerly Storm 33 with a fin keel. I was particularly I was interested to do this rally to see how she took the ground.
My friend Vikki and I set off from Poole around 10am on the Saturday timed to get to Newport IoW as close to high tide as possible.
We timed it well and got to Newport about 13.30 on a rising tide and found a suitable spot on the Newport Harbour wall. Strangely there was a sign there saying ‘No Parking On Quayside’. But we moored up all the same. Coming down the Medina just outside Newport we could hear them setting up for the Isle of Wight Festival taking place the following weekend.
It was my first time drying out and I nearly got it badly wrong putting the shore securing line through the guard wires rather than above them. A kind rally member adjusted that for me whilst I was away from the boat. Otherwise I’d have no stanchions now.
Vikki and I ambled in to town, had a late lunch at the delightful Quay Arts Centre, and which seems to be in revived good health. I’ve been to Newport once or twice since then. It’s an attractive place and I always find it interesting to see old waterside towns. Buildings that were once hives of industrial activity are now genteel residences overlooking altogether more leisurely waters.
We got back to Petrel to find the water was ebbing away fast. The tension on the shoreline (my old much-too-thick jib halyard) was such that you could have played a tune on it. And we were happily sitting more or less level, unlike Fenix, Nicky’s Merlin just up from us which looked like it was taking part in a show jumping competition and was about to take off.
The impressive gathering of Westerlys of all shapes and sizes and, I think, 13 or 14 in all, made for a very jolly evening meal at The Bargeman’s Rest, though the length of the table meant it was difficult to get to know anyone not in close proximity and getting out from the table required some careful logistical management. We slept well. So well in fact that I never heard the tide coming and going in the night. At some point we must have been afloat. I never felt a thing. We woke to a slightly grey day and with Petrel once again firmly and happily aground.
We had to wait until about 2pm for our departure. So there was time for a good pub Sunday roast and as soon as we had water (in the river that is) we slipped – in reverse – did a neat backwards passage until there was enough room to do a three point turn and head for Cowes and the Solent. I never know quite how I manage to do such manoeuvres without actually hitting something. Every arrival and departure is an exercise that could go horribly wrong and so far hasn’t.
We motored up the Medina in an increasing blustery wind, heading into the Solent where we encountered, a westerly wind blowing a good Force 5 – 6, a choppy sea, increasing rain and poor visibility. It was clearly going to be a bit of a slog home.
It took five hours from casting off from Newport to get to our mooring in Poole. It wasn’t the most uplifting of passages, but I learnt some useful lessons and it was good preparation for the trip I did to the Scillies and back in August. But that’s another story….