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16 - 22 JUNE 2023

AMPOTIS is our beloved 26ft Westerly Centaur, skipper Ian Owens and crew Patricia. We were bitterly disappointed at the beginning of the season when Ian tested positive for Covid. Hence delaying time on Ampotis and on the water at the beginning of the season.Some weeks later we received the information that Langstone Sailing Club were organising a nine-day sailing rally, commencing on 15 June and ending on23 June.

Leaving London on Wednesday morning, 14 June.On arrival we unpacked food and wine and after a very nice lunch in the sunshine made our way out of Langstone, towards The Solent. We made contact with the other sailing boats on the rally at Hurst Castle.The weather, wind and visibility was perfect.Acalm sea when approaching The Needles.We are now heading towards Christchurch Bay.

All is well. Ampotis is trailing behind, we are smaller, olderand of course slower.I could almost see the other nine boats ahead.Leisure craft are well aware of floating lobster pots.It is on the lines of a disease for small craft.There is no planning of position, no warning on approach. Markers coloured white, not a good choice amongst breaking waves.I was keeping a lookout on the boats ahead of Ampotis.I noticed Ampotis was catching up with the group.I then realised the boats ahead had stopped. We were now within shouting distance and Tony on April Mist informed us thatRestless had unfortunately sailed over a lobster pot and the rope was around the rudder.What does one say, don't say.I guess start praying. The boats standing by were in contact with each other. Fortunately we were towing our small dinghy. With hand signals and shouting obtained John's and Mary's permission to sail towards their boat and transfer the dinghy. This was fine until we were closer to Restless, it was certainly a little scary when we were up close. However, Mary was very efficient in handling the many fenders to protect both boats.After this tricky transaction was completed, we Ampotis, Ian and I returned alongside April Mist and Razzle and watched in awe at John's strength,patience and determination in cutting the rope coiled around the rudder.

After a short time, I saw the white pot marker buoy floating away from Restless.John now had the very difficult task of freeing the rope that was jammed between the rudder and the transom. I must add here John did an excellent very difficult job, in a short time. John signalled to the boats standing bythat there was no damage and with relief we all sailed towards Poole Harbour.

Poole is lively, with good facilities within the marina, good trips on leisure boats to Brownsea Island. The Sun Seeker motor craft factory is still in business. You can refuel at the quay near the Sun Seeker building but be aware the only way to pay is if you have an account.

The next day Ampotis sailed towards Lulworth Cove. This is adjacent to the Lulworth Firing Ranges. However, we had miscalculated our position and were advised by the firing protection patrol boat to sail further west. We were very grateful, thanked them and moved on.

We then sailed on to Portland.Speed good, weather and visibility good.We could see the entrance to Portland Harbour ahead. Suddenly the alarm on the VHF went off. There was a stricken Bavaria 40 with engine failure some distance behind us, could we assist. We turned Ampotis towards the stricken craft. We could see her. Then, suddenly,the VHF said they were cancelling the PAN PAN, the crew had started the engine and they were moving slowly. We were grateful and continued towards Portland Harbour. On arrival the guys took my mooring line and made Ampotis safe and secure on the mooring.

Thank heavens for pontoon parties, I needed a stiff drink.

The next day Ian and I visited a friend that had moved to Bridport, a very nice town with interesting shops. We very much enjoyed the day. The bus ride was efficient, on time and many scenic views enroute. It was a very warm sunny day and waiting for a bus at Weymouth I was envious of those enjoying the beach and swimming in the sea. We had an excellent pub lunch, fresh crab sandwiches and of course liquid reshments.

All the pontoon parties were a great success and fun and new friendships were made.

Also the Da Vincis restaurant at Poole ticked all the boxes. Every member of the rally were on the same table, the food was excellent.It was rather expensive, but it is 2023!!

I would like to pay tribute to John and Mary, Trevor and Sharon, and all the other participants, including Peter who helped Ian to secure Ampotis's mooring on our return to Langstone.

There is only one way to end this story with one of my favourite songs.

As they say

"The way you take my line, the way you wear your hat, the way you sip your beer, the way your smile just beams." There are many crazy things that will keep us sailing. We may never meet again on the bumpy Solent. But I will always keep memory of my friends at Langstone Sailing Club. Nothey can't take that away from me. And it is tax free!!

Thank you.


10 cruisers took part in the rally:

Ampotis Ian and Patricia
April Mist Tony and Linda
Babar Peter and Angela
El Lujo Chris, Julie and John
Kalita Trevor and Sharon
Patience Owen and Gerry
Piper John and Peter
Razzle Bob and Val
Restless John and Mary
Wild Affair Brian and Roz

Last updated 13:42 on 19 April 2024

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