Littlehampton Rally Video
Littlehampton rally report
On the Friday morning, we rose bright and early, opened the wash boards, and were greeted by brilliant sunshine. Oh sugar! Must have the wrong day, it’s not normally like this for our rallies; we usually have to endure a force 5-6, with moderate to rough seas, and rain! Zeta, Blue Danube, Stream, and ZaZar left Brighton near low water springs, with little water under us, to find light winds on our stern and a smooth sea. On ZaZar, we were at last able to try out our cruising chute, which had lain dormant in a locker since we bought it earlier in the year. “Light blue and bright pink” are just what you need for creeping past Brighton Beach without being seen! The experts on Zeta had their chute out, too.
We all had an absolutely brilliant sail in the sunshine. Our only concern was the wooden crates and logs that kept floating past. I have never seen so many. Blue Danube was hit by one off Shoreham. We were 40 minutes into our journey when the radio sprang to life. It was Salute, who had also come out to join us. Great - five boats with three more joining us on Saturday - what a turn out!On entering Littlehampton, we proceeded to crab sideways up the river – as you do. Eileen was at the helm and apart from the swan that we very nearly squashed against the training wall, she managed the feat without incident. Once alongside we, like the others, opened a bottle and made some lunch. Later that afternoon we went for a stroll along the beach towards Rustington. En route, Nigel bought the ice creams, we continued for a couple of miles and at regular intervals Nigel enquired “are we there yet?” – he doesn’t do long walks!
For the evening meal we assembled on ZaZar. Each boat brought some food along and we all tucked in. We always eat well on Rallies. The warm sea air had taken its toll, and we were all shattered, so the evening finished early and we made our way to our bunks. I didn’t even have my obligatory onboard late night nip of port.The hot weather was set to continue for the weekend, very unlike our previous Rallies of 2011. Andrew & Jane (Stream) went off to an art exhibition in Chichester, whilst the others relaxed on board waiting for the remaining boats to arrive. Bang on time at 14.00 they came in one after the other, first Hunky Dory, followed by Fafnir, and then Dianna who arrived with a bit of a bump – but fortunately little harm done.
We had booked the Arun Yacht Club for our rally meal. An Italian themed menu at £15.00 was the order of the day (£5.00 of which was subsidised by NYC). Ann arranged for the Club’s boat to ferry us over to the other side, but some opted to walk the 20 minutes or so up the river and over the bridge. Eighteen were present for the meal, one of our best turnouts for a Rally. After a jovial evening consisting of good food and a couple of drinks, we made our way back to Zeta for a nightcap before turning in.On Sunday morning we witnessed two skippers go up their masts - Matt (Salute) and Nigel (Zeta) both had problems with their wind instruments. Matt’s wife, Jackie, couldn’t watch as he clambered up the mast; she hid down below and pretended to be busy. As you would expect, both Matt and Nigel received plenty of encouragement and instructions from the helpers on deck. By now a small crowd had gathered on the pavement above, and even they began to chip in. Despite our requests to “Slow Down” several powerful ribs came past creating significant amounts of wash which could have easily catapulted our brave mariners into the drink or worse. With both down safely, it was time for a cuppa and to start preparations for the journey home.Nigel had been given a “tip” from the previous Harbour Master; he was told that we would be able to leave once the flood reached the bottom of the wooden piles on the other side of the river. True enough, Blue Danube, who ventured out first, confirmed that the depth was ok, but by now there was about 3.5 knots of stream to contend with and the passage down the river was slow, but all those leaving managed to get out safely. Zeta and Salute had planned to stay on for another day and take their tenders up river.The journey home was hot, with little wind; we did attempt to sail for a while but barely managed a couple of knots against the tide so we motored with the autopilot on. We had a wonderful weekend, the weather was kind and the company was great – a brilliant rally!Mike ZaZar