Awesome trip - have to say it was interesting in patches.
I was picked up by Nasher at about quarter to ten from eastney ferry pontoon, and joined Nasher, Christopher, Ben and Ollyit already aboard Nashers Revenge. Christopher & Ben were suitably attired in their new drysuits, and we headed off out of Langstone Harbour.
The chop at the entrance to langstone harbour proved interesting, and while chatting to Ben (who is a very tough 7 years old I believe) we decided that Big Nasher wasn't enjoying himself driving, and needed looking after. Nasher and I swapped positions, and with Ben sitting in front of Nasher on the jockey seat, offering his Dad a little bit of support through the choppy seas, we set off for Portsmouth.
We arrived in Portsmouth Harbour, and RV'd with Pete7, Vivienne, Andrew and Suzie in Old Spice, and Tim M and Julia in his Ribcraft 4.8. After discussion, it was decided Tim would leave the little ribcraft in Haslar Marina, and join us aboard Nashers Revenge for the trip. We then went over to Camber docks, where little Nasher (Ben) who was being very brave in some rough seas decided he'd had enough of looking after his Dad, and abandoned ship along with Christopher, who had also bravely endured all the solent could throw at him, and went home with Frances (Mummy Nasher? Or will I get lynched for saying that!).
We then set off out of Portsmouth Harbour, with other participants deemed no shows, and headed over for the Isle of Wight. Leaving Portsmouth Harbour, things got a little dicey to say the least, and in between watching with awe Old Spice being thrown around by the waves, and trying to cope with them as best we could, we managed a rather spectacular sojourn into the air, with the wind ripping underneath us, and Nashers Revenge (a 6.5m Ocean) pushing back almost past the vertical point. Thankfully we landed with a crash into the water, and after about thirty seconds Nasher confessed to me that he had been convinced we were going to turn over - as I had been. Undeterred, we carried on over to the Island, managing to keep the bow down and make reasonable progress.
Outside Cowes, we me up with (I think - correct me if I'm wrong!) Andy Moore in Ditherer, Pressman Crew + Stowaway
in Pressman, Ian M in his XS, and Biggles and his Son in Zestorer. As a convoy we proceded to Yarmouth, in some slightly better conditions than before - albeit encountering one brief and one slightly longer squall on the way, complete with stinging rain and dramatically reduced visibility. The (far to tall to be a real stowaway in my view) stowaway on Pressmen did casually inform me later "Oh, Steve just switched the Radar on and said the squalls were only little, so we just pushed through them". Yup. A handy bit of knowledge, if you happen to have radar fitted. We pushed through the weather, arriving in Yarmouth somewhen indetermined.
We could see SlimTim launching in Yarmouth, and as we were rafting up, we were joined by benc in Intrepid, and Ozz in Bojangles. Looking out of the harbour we could also see what looked to be a 4m Searider heading towards us, and after comments of "who the hell would be out in this in a 4m searider) it became apparent that Nos2r4 had made it to join us. A visitation to the Kings Head for Beverages and Light Refreshements did follow, with merry banter and rib comparisons (as usual).
Biggles then organised the line up, we were to be heading north or something to some place called black rock, so having agreed to go east to the needles we were all set and ready to head west for bembridge. Several of us then briefed the other crews on the plan to go south for the photo shoot, and we left Yarmouth and turned left. (Don't worry - inside joke).
After the photo shoot (not really sure what went on here!) we all parted company, and having witnessd Nos4r2 carry out a really rather spectacular stuff (and come up beaming ear to ear!) Old Spice and Nashers Revenge went steaming off. We had a brief stop in Cowes to let Old Spice dry out, as Pete7 had discovered that his instrument panel had suddenly become live, and every time he switched the bilge pump on or off, he got an electric shock! Having dried out and had a bit of coffee in cowes, I jumped ship from Nashers Revenge, and joined Pete & crew on Old Spice. Expertly piloted out of Cowes by Suzie, we headed straight back to Portsmouth. Nearly at Gilkicker we handed over Tim's house key (which was in my pocket) and left Nasher to head off to Langstone.
Pete drove us into Portsmouth harbour - always eerily flat and calm after enduring some nasty choppy seas on the way in, and dropped Andrew & I off at Tim M's rib (still tied up in Haslar). While Pete refueled old spice, Andrew had a little practice handling a somewhat smaller rib, in somewhat flatter water, and dropped me at work. Sent off with a shiny new pair of sea boots, I waved goodbye to the crew of old spice.
I've just finished checking back in all my Charter Yachts - none of whom could believe I took a rib too and from Yarmouth today, and off to recover Tim M's rib now, after what has been a rather pleasant day.
Sorry if I missed anyone out from the lists - please add yourself if I did! Great day, nice to meet some new faces, nice to chat to some old ones, lets do it again sometime a bit flatter!