Having sailed on Volunteer in the Fastnet race of 2015, I was delighted when I saw the email saying that berths were available for a slightly more leisurely trip on board Volunteer over to Bembridge. This was also an opportunity for my first club sailing event and my partner’s first trip on board a yacht. Nicola and I having arrived onboard on the Friday evening, the rest of the crew arrived on Saturday, ready to leave by lunchtime once there was enough water for departure out of Port So-lent. Although sadly Susan Ayu had technical issues pre-venting her joining the Meet, it did mean that we gained an extra member of crew in the form of David Whitby. Skippered by David Monks, Volunteer was in good hands.
Having got out into the Solent it was great to get the sails of Volunteer up again. Although fairly light winds from the NE and E, we were able to make good pro-gress across to the Eastern end of the Isle of Wight. After enjoying a warm afternoon of sailing it was time to head into Bembridge.
We made our way up the nar-row channel into the marina, and what a hidden gem Bembridge is. We quickly located the rest of the RNVRYC battle flags and rafted up with the Club Meet fleet. By the time we were secured, the sun was well and truly over the yard arm and it was time for the G & T’s.
After a couple of pre-dinner drinks we headed over by water taxi for dinner at Bembridge Sailing Club . The club balcony provided a perfect venue to watch the sunset across Bembridge harbour. There followed a wonderful dinner, which provided Nicola and me with a great opportunity to meet and chat to other members of our club. A return trip on the water taxi saw us back on board for the night.
As low tide was early on the Sunday, it provided a lei-surely day off the water to enjoy Bembridge and the beach. As mentioned earlier, it really is a hidden gem on a hot bank holiday weekend. Once the crew had re-grouped, the G & T’s flowed again prior to a pontoon party and supper, providing a more informal get-together. Thanks to Alison and Gavin for a great BBQ. It did seem we ate half the island’s cattle herd! Again it was great to be able to chat to other club members, with everyone incredibly welcoming.
Monday morning saw Volunteer leaving early to make the tide out of Bembridge. After some good sailing in the So-lent we finally headed back towards Port Solent in order to hand her over as she was heading out on another charter later that day.
All in all it was a most enjoyable weekend. We thoroughly look forward to the next event and getting out on the water with the club again.