Lymington Rally - September 2017

I had sailed past Lymington many times but never had reason to go in so I was looking forward to going somewhere new. We left Haslar at mid-morning to take maximum advantage of the ebb tide and enjoyed a lovely sail even though the wind dropped to almost nothing a couple of times. This usually coincided with the crew saying things like “we’ve come to complete stop” or “no boat speed at all” but of course what they were really trying to say was “Can we put the engine on skip?”  Well, I did give in at one point but only to cross in front of another yacht and keep out of his way. Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!  In fact the timing was spot as you’ll see later.

The entrance to Lymington is very well marked with red and green posts, starting with Jack in the Basket, clearly visible for some distance on this day. A quick call to Lymington Yacht Haven confirmed our allocated berthing position so fenders and lines could be prepared. The marina itself was noticeably crowded which meant that our rally boats had to be dispersed to various points, not moored together. I made contact over the VHF and mobiles with various other HYC members who were a tad disappointed that we weren’t all together but I let them know where we were and arranged to meet them later for a pontoon party. The weather had other ideas though. We’d just got our lines secure and the HYC flags erected on the pontoon when the heavens opened! Hail and rain lashed down and is was a good job we were all in the cabin or we’d have got soaked. Eventually the rain eased off enough so that we could take a walk into the town with brollies. The route took us past the marina office where we could register and pay our mooring fees. Lymington is a beautiful town on the southern edge of the New Forest and its charm and elegance attracts some quite wealthy people. This is then reflected in the prices at the marina and the shops in town. It’s not cheap but it is lovely, the marina facilities were excellent. The shops in town are a haven for those needing some retail therapy and the buildings and cobbled lanes are very attractive. There are plenty of places where a boating type can get what he or she needs whether that be equipment from the chandlery or new clothes for a night out.

We made our way back to the boat and started to prepare for the pontoon party but unfortunately the rain had not eased enough and, understandably, there were not many of the 21 rally attendees prepared to get wet just to enjoy a few glasses of wine. Those that did come along were very cheery all the same and we did enjoy ourselves. I had spread the word to meet at 7 for 7:30 at The Royal Lymington Yacht Club where we were very well looked after. The views from the upstairs rooms were delightful and the place hummed nicely with various other parties in other rooms. We had 3 tables set aside for us and they had thoughtfully prepared some name labels on a side table so that we could choose for ourselves where to sit and with whom. The meal itself was superb and I heard nothing but praise for the work of the chef and staff. If you want to enjoy a superb meal in excellent surroundings then find a way of booking yourselves into this Club, or come with us the next time we go there! I invited the gathered HYC members to show their appreciation with a round of applause for the Club and its staff and the response was whole-hearted and sincere.

The following day there was no point in rushing off as the tide didn’t start helping our return journey until early afternoon so we headed into town to enjoy a superb breakfast. We took advantage of the time available to visit the Wild-life Reserve and enjoyed a lovely walk around the edge spotting many species of birds and a deer who had got onto the wrong side of the fence and couldn’t figure how to escape into the trees. I’m sure it would have got back eventually as there were enough Reserve staff around to make that happen. We got back to our boat, made ready and set off for another gentle and very enjoyable sail home in pleasant sunshine. It was a thoroughly enjoyable rally and I’ll certainly be returning to Lymington in the future as it has many attractions.

Jem Nicholls

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