Claire Dresser winning the Frank Heenan Award for her Double Handed, All Female, RORC Transatlantic Race with boat owner Kate Cope on Purple Mist.

On Friday 28 April the Cruising members enjoyed the first of their suppers.  As Claire Dresser had not been able to attend the Fitting Out supper she was presented with the Frank Heenan award at the Cruiser supper.

After a gap of 4 years due to Covid and other reasons the Solent Cruiser Race was back in the calendar.  Although there were only 3 boat racing on the first 2 days there were 4 on the Monday.  There were also many of the members new to this event along for the rally.  Although the weather was fairly benign there was still a bit of a nip in the air.  The first stop was Bucklers Hard where we were all rafted up together.  The racing boats coming in a bit later many concerned about the bar as low water was just after mid day.  But no one went aground.  Rin Jinn managed to sail right up to the last bend just before the marina.  I did hear there were several in the group had either walked or jogged up to Beaulieu through the woods.  At 1800 all the crews & 2 dogs joined the pontoon party.   The duck of the day (Donald) was presented to Red Five.    There is now a pop up fish restaurant by the marina but it appeared very popular and ran out of food before they had managed to serve everyone.  Luckily most of us had chosen to eat on board.

On Sunday it was time for the second leg of the rally.   Again the winds were gentle but it was a bit overcast.  This time the racing contingent arrived before the cruisers as some had left after coffee at Bucklers Hard and some had done a small tour of the Western Solent.

We all squeezed into the South basin of Shephards marina herded by lady in a RIB.   Most of us went for a walk through the town and some to visit the Island Sailing Club.  We had a few visitors for the pontoon party who were not on the rally but we managed to not sink the pontoon.  For Saturday’s race the Duck of the Day was presented to Purrfect Tale who had come up with a new synonym on the results sheet,  WDF = We Did Finish.  They hadn’t finished on Saturday.  Our final social event was supper in RORC.

The wind had gone round to the North West for the final day and everyone had left by noon to return to Hamble.  It did try to rain but nothing came of it.  Those that had not done this event before said they thoroughly enjoyed it and would come again.