January is a great time to go fast cruising on the Solent, few yachts about, plenty of commercial shipping to avoid, and it is cold. Saturday morning saw us up early and out through the lock on free flow, down the river and out on to a gloomy breezy Solent. We headed east to the start but it was still only 9.30 so what to do with ourselves for an hour? How about some sailing. Out with the jib and soon we were hatching a plan for the best way to start the interesting roughly east-west course. Up from the west suddenly appeared a red dot with all canvas flying, the only hint of colour in this grey atmospheric morning. ADATR was with us. Soon there was another familiar burgee, then another, then another.
It was 11am and we were off! South to windward, northeast on a reach, east past the forts into a spot of choppy water, north for a few minutes, west again and then a neat jibe and a romp for home. What a cracking day of winter sailing. Why on earth do people still take their boats out of the water in the winter?
After a rest and a shower, we were off for dinner at the Royal Naval and Royal Albert Yacht Club which has become one of our most enjoyable winter venues. What an impressive and historic club this is. We received a warm reception from the Commodore and formal thanks were offered by Barrie on our behalf with a reminder that we are always free to join in competitive sailing on the Solent in the summer. Our dinner was a choice of beef bourguignon or paella followed by a tasty sweet to wind up the evening.
Sunday morning dawned bright, crisp and sunny with ice on the Gunwharf Marina dock. With little wind we headed back home with memories of a most memorable weekend.
Written by Tim Bizzey.