Having ‘sussed’ Bembridge previously we spend a happy few days polishing and buffing (the boat) before our first outing with the MOA. We leave slightly later than planned due to some urgent domestic stuff and motor sail east once more in light winds and glorious sunshine. While most boats will be arriving on Saturday, we take advantage of being able to get in early on the Friday. In the event, the marina is already crowded with two rallies plus the usual crowds expected for a sunny bank holiday weekend. The harbour takes on a completely different form in sunshine and the contrast with a week previously could not be more stark. We raft up next to Dave and Jenny in their immaculate Moody 36 and are glad that we applied a bit of spit, polish and pressure wash to Heydays…she has scrubbed up reasonably well. With a dozen hands taking lines we are soon moored and enjoying not only the very warm welcome from everyone including Sue and Ian who have organised the rally, but also have some gin and tonic with a twist of lemon before our evening meal on board of tapasy stuff.
Saturday sees us breakfasting at the little marina café where an enterprising couple have set up fresh coffee and bacon and egg baps in an ex shipping container. It’s a tough life. it is also fascinating to see Bembridge with no water…
We take the opportunity of a free day (no organised activities until the evening!!!) to look around Bembridge itself and having chatted to a few other owners, we take ourselves off on the little ferry which drops us on the beach.
The little village is very pretty although busy with cars and cyclists (there is really only one main road around the island). On the way back we get the ferry to drop us at the Crab House for lunch while a fleet of brightly coloured sails drift slowly past on the tide…wonderful.
By the time we get back to Heydays, we are in the middle of a gigantic floating raft of plastic. With two inside and three outside including both in front and behind we couldn’t get out if we wanted to. Not sure about all this intimacy. We like the sun but kind of preferred it when we had the place to ourselves.
The evening consists of a BBQ which turns out to be a bit of a free for all as we bring our own food to cook, but we have brought plenty of booze so time passes until the quiz. We don’t come last is the best we can say, but failed miserably in our knowledge of the Isle of Wight. We sit out in the cockpit for the rest of the evening with the merry clink of glasses chiming with the retiring seagulls.
Sunday is a stroll around the harbour with everyone else for lunch at the sailing club…we are on our best behaviour and manage to scrub up OK. This is not really our ‘thing’ but pleasant enough. On the way back we explore a bit more of the dunes and beaches…would be great to bring the grandchildren here one sunny day.
Some boats leave on Sunday but we stay to catch the Monday afternoon tide. Lunch in the pub is good enough but James is trying hard not to look at the football on the big screen….Saints are rubbish this season and we need a win away at Everton to avoid relegation…mustn’t let it spoil the weekend…
The sail back has light winds from the East and we get our cruising chute out for the very first time. After a lot of fiddling and playing with bits of string, we get it flying. Heydays responds as always….with gentle puffs sending us surging along past Cowes and back up ‘our’ bit of the Solent.
We are chased up the Lymington river by the returning fleet of scows but manage to get safely moored before several dozen boats all try to use the slip at once!