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Old 30 June 2005, 17:21   #1
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Solent Parrrrrty!!!! Fleet Review 29.06.05

Part 1

Portsmouth children had the day off for the grandest history lesson most of them had ever experienced! And we ribsters gathered for a day of displacement speed cruising as the Solent became a marina for craft of every shape and size. The Solent got ready to Party!!!!

Pete 7 musters his crew
photo : Paul

A group of Solenteers assembled on Tuesday morning at Port Solent (Pete 7, Aging Youth and Kathryn, Oz, Paul Q., Liam, Fiona and ourselves). The wind whistling in the Sunsail rigging heralded a F5/6 as we set off down a Harbour already awash with boats to rendez-vous with Ann and Martyn (Noddy) before joining the queue heading across to the Isle of Wight. A giggle or two at some over-zealousness by some marshals (one of whom buzzed everyone already out of the Harbour to tell them keep their speed down IN the Harbour despite the fact no-one could make more than 5 knots in the exiting queue!!!) and we had to concentrate as the wash from craft combined with the waves already whipped up by the wind. We were already thinking twice about hanging around Ryde Sands (Plan A). We also abandoned our rendez-vous idea with another boat and crawled down towards Cowes for a comfort break (read quick takeaway cappuccinos ). We were delighted to spot & greet Mark Halliday & crew and Mark Wildey & crew on the way as they seemed to be coping with the demands of marshalling in an unobtrusive and chilled out manner.

Ozz in his cheery boat : Hot Lemon
Photo : Paul

Warships and Tall Ships lined the spine of the Solent and pleasure craft skippers acknowledged each other cheerily which added greatly to the feeling of one great big Solent Party! Cowes was quiet for once. Then we crossed the Solent near Calshot making for the more sheltered waters (as promised by Paul, Pete and Kev.) of Lee on the Solent and Stokes Bay.

Martyn (Noddy) and Ann rounded the Solent twice!
Photo : Paul


We anchored for the Queen’s arrival and spotted the Irish Navy ship (not bought off Pete 7 on E Bay but poignantly the last to be built at Verolme Dockyard in Cork). The formal Review of the Fleet was greeted by klaxons and cheers from the spectator craft as well as the more formal salute of the assembled forces.

The Eithne out of Verolme Dockyard Cork
Photo : Paul


The camaraderie out there was impressive. A neighbouring cruise boat invited us on board for lunch! We explained about our plans to BBQ but Paul made it on board for a drink before we heard from Ian, Craig (Team Luna Sea) and family who were at Gilkicker Point (one of the most sensible places to be considering conditions).

The Queen reviews the Fleet
Photo : Paul


We considered organising a beach landing at Stokes Bay. We spoke to the nearby crew of a Rescue Vessel explaining we were worried about swimmers and they grinned at us saying ‘don’t hit any!’. But the shore dump put us off a little and we soldiered on through all the craft, eventually making it back into Portsmouth where force of habit drew us immediately to The Lightship! We saluted Jet Boat John before seeking a pontoon space. Despite what must have been an extremely stressful day for him, the young member of staff from Haslar Marina cheerfully found us a short stay berth and we installed ourselves for a some liquid fortifications (water). Aging Youth, Kathryn and Pete now left for home to fulfil previous engagements and we got suited and booted as we left the pontoon just in time for an electrical storm of biblical proportions ! Fiona was delighted to meet the famous Mr. Ribald aka Pete T. who flashed his blue light for us on demand Next to pass us was none other than John Kennett who gave us a very regal salute as we headed out into lightning and torrential rain. (People laughed at my brolly but I stayed dry OK?). We were next hailed by Jimbo who was heading for cover if he had any sense! After the cloudburst the seas appeared calmer and we managed to get out of the Harbour before the next closure.

Liam and Fiona (Wee Fie) on board Merlin
Photo : Paul
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Old 30 June 2005, 17:23   #2
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Part 2

Voyage 2 to Ryde Sands was a little easier with fewer craft. The lightning faded eventually. The general good cheer of everyone who had persisted with this latest sortie was contagious as we stationed ourselves to view the Red Arrows.

The striking Red Arrows
Photo: Paul


This spectacular display of skill, precision and general excellence was certainly breathtaking…a ‘goosebump moment’ according to Fiona. Their courage and nerve are truly amazing as they decorated a gloomy sky culminating in a giant red heart which was pierced through by one of the Arrows. The symbolism was overpowering; and the happiness of the day was eloquently shot through with a visual reminder of the loss and sadnesses of war.

Red Arrows paint the evening sky
Photo : Paul


One of our crew was ecstatic at the next display. A lone Spitfire climbed and pirouetted dizzily as the pilot demonstrated the capabilities of yesteryear. Although the area was emptier now we still had to keep moving as ferries and container ships vyed with submarines and leisure craft- all at times a bit too close for comfort!!! Ozz bid us farewell at this stage and gathered some brownie points by making it home in good time!
To while away the time before the fireworks the rest of us headed for a secret location on the Isle of Wight where we dutifully scared the two seagulls off Ray Bradman’s RIB (as instructed) before setting up our BBQ . By this stage we were joined by DJL (Daniel) and Carly and Motley Crew all of whom were in excellent spirits

Evening Anchorage
Photo : Paul


We put the Beach back as we found it before making our way back towards the action! Fiona was helming Carl’s mate’s Bayliner and we wound our way through the remaining craft at anchor off Ryde before meeting up with Paul Q.’s friends on a saily boat. We didn’t have to be asked aboard for coffee twice!!! We shared some chocolate cake in return. For a few magical moments we admired the synchronised fireworks from the three barges while Paul Q (bit of a pyrotechnician) explained the exotic Chinese names (things which sounded like Magnolia Blossom On A Spring Afternoon!!!). Unfortunately the crew of the Bin/Bayliner were having a ‘Stars in their Eyes’ moment as they sang lustily along with their blaring radio and completely missed the entire display! (Not quite "Songs of Praise" Baby!). As the last sparks died all the Fleet gave one last salute as each one lit up with festive lights to mark the end of a wonderful celebration.

finale
Photo : Paul

Finally…it was time to go. Merlin was moored at the pontoon at around 1.00 a.m. and we returned home well pleased that we had made the most of a very different but historic day in the Solent. Thanks for your company all.

(Wee Fie…’twas magic to be on the water with you again)

missus
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Old 30 June 2005, 17:50   #3
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Looks like you guys had an excellent days ribbing.. And not a single wafu in sight..
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Old 30 June 2005, 18:02   #4
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Lovely pictures, the Jackeens!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 30 June 2005, 18:04   #5
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Thanks Tony (What's a wafu? )

Thanks Jewels

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Old 30 June 2005, 18:46   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Jackeens
(What's a wafu? )



Don'tg be a twit , you twit

It's a wind assisted Fkkn udiot
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Old 30 June 2005, 18:54   #7
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Cool. A nice story, Kathleen.
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Old 01 July 2005, 02:37   #8
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Cool. A nice story, Kathleen.
Thanks Jeff

K
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Old 01 July 2005, 02:58   #9
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Excellent stuff great pictures
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Old 01 July 2005, 03:19   #10
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Thanks Tony (What's a wafu? )
Someone who's wet and firkin useless...
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