Bembridge, the last official rally of the season, accompanied by 7 yachts for the season’s swan song.

Thank you to [Organizer] for organising the event, resurrecting the rally from its initial clash with Ryde @ Pride, and, of course, tolerating our (and my) mischief.

For us, the rally began Friday in Hornet, on [Boat Name] – a seasoned Westerly, sporting plush trend-setting avocado decks. With Halloween near on the horizon, the boat of 5 included 2 virgin sailors and 5 plump pumpkins. The ‘virgin’ element was clearly the result of a certain island festival mix-up.

After the arrival of the remaining crew, a fun evening was had by all, entertained by [Host] and his onboard pizzeria. Satisfied and merry, we then settled down for the night. At that point, I discovered I had the delight to share a cabin with [Member] – one of the taller members of the club… in the back end of [Boat Name]. A space normally reserved for hobbits, he diligently squeezed into an “L” shape, whilst myself into the leftover “.”. Simply put, we unfurled in the morning.


After a somewhat wet and windy night (a learning curve for someone leaving the hatch open), we were greeted with a beautiful morning and a late, almost afternoon-like, departure time. A swift sail across to Bembridge Harbour enjoying 3’s and 4’s, where it should be noted, that 1 of the 7 did not have their sails up – and it was NOT [Another Boat Name]!

Once recovered from the shock, we entered Bembridge Harbour and were welcomed by a flotilla of “Illusionists”. For those not in the know, these are ridiculously small boats for real-sized people.

Flotilla uneventfully passed, we found Bembridge rather empty compared to other years. This didn’t detract, however, from the joys of the berthing when you have too much choice. Needless to say, and after the 3rd attempt, we finally came alongside said (but one) finger pontoon. Be reassured, I have seen [Organizer] do better. As the remaining boats collected, the festivities began. I forever love how organic the mini-welcoming committees gather and spread across from one boat to another. The chatter of excitement and recent gossip is great fun to dip in and out of.

Whilst certainly one of the more serene rally locations, Bembridge allows for an almost unavoidable yet leisurely walk to any of the nearby amenities (i.e. Pub), all around the perimeter of the Harbour. [Member] made the sound suggestion for alcoholic afternoon tea at The Pilot Boat Inn, as a prequel to the dinner exploits later on. This relaxing preamble led us to dinner at The Vine Inn. Greeted at the door, by the tail end of a children’s Halloween party, the inkling of fancy dress possibilities ensured we fitted right in.

Dinner was a success, treated by the announcement, backup singers ([Member], you were great, as ever), and arrival of cake (AKA aesthetically pleasing sticky toffee pudding), celebrating [Member]’s 70th Birthday – congratulations! The closing bell chimed, and we all migrated back to the boats, thusly. A low spring tide meant for a somewhat perilous jaunt along the sea wall but surprisingly, we didn’t lose anyone. That wasn’t until I heard that one member was offering moonlit teddy-bare-beware* picnic tours in the woods that eve. However, I say no more! Ahhh, it must be love!


Feeling fresh yet delicate (probably due to the extra hour of beauty sleep), we enjoyed a second leisurely morning and were able to view the nearby Aqualibrium Art Gallery before readying the boat for our departure. The wind was up at 5’s and 6’s and we had already borne witness to a boat leaving a little too early… running aground, providing great entertainment for onlookers.

A 12 pm departure, we removed ourselves from the pontoon, with substantially more elegance than we arrived. Using [Another Boat Name] as bait over the bar, we let them plough ahead (just hopefully, not literally), and we made for a fast downwind sail back to Gosport.

Importantly, our sailing virgins took the helm in equal measure, and are no longer virgins. Our pumpkins, on the other hand, remained utterly unblemished, much to the glee of [Member], who took all 5 home to enjoy as soup!

*Spelling intentional

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