Five girls in a boat – Jane Mancini (Skipper), Jane, Claire, Clare and Chrissi AKA “Oceans 5”

First things first, we needed to be able to distinguish between the x2 Jane’s and x2 Claire’s with nick names but what goes on tour stays on tour! Why did we decide to this sailing trip you may ask? In no particular order, to deepen understanding and build confidence; to practice all those sailing manoeuvres like tacking and helming that some take for granted; and to have a giggle and drink gin; did we mention gin?

We put in a call to the club and ‘booked’ our Skipper Jane, and thanks to her weather witching and her trusty Chief Nav, Clare, who both watched that forecast with a hawks eye, we opted for a weekend sail versus midweek, having pencilled in both options with agreement we could cancel one. We met on Friday evening as a group of new and existing friends and began as we meant to go on; gin and tonics, ahead of fabulous meal number one (FMno.1), courtesy of Claire who really knows how to deal with potential cases of hangry with a well stocked fridge and plenty of Scooby snacks. We had a discussion about what we wanted to learn and following a lesson about springs and neaps we looked at tides and the weather to understand what was possible to achieve over the weekend.

On Saturday morning, after a nutritious and healthy breakfast (FMNo. 2) we departed for our lunch destination of a buoy outside Yarmouth, with our first stop the fuel pontoon, having booked a slot to re-fuel, which is now customary.

Once in Southampton Water the main sail went up with Clare and Chrissi determined to put into practice the notes made from their trip earlier in the summer. To all our delight we tacked all the way to Yarmouth with Jane at the helm with a huge smile on her face. As the story goes I believe this is how it started all those years ago for our excellent Skip, Jane. Next began the game of “Spot the buoy that has got a line on that works”. This gave Chrissi an opportunity to develop her skills manoeuvring the boat under slow speed.

After lunch (FMNo3), wind and tide dictated a very speedy return eastwards with the sun on our backs to the entrance to Cowes. With our new found knowledge and understanding of tides and depth of water above chart datum Skip suggested we head down the Medina river to The Folly Inn. It is here we moored for the evening and we learnt that the eldest member of our crew had never set foot on the Isle of Wight. This had to be immediately rectified! We drew comment from the water taxi crew as an unusual sight being an all women crew as we headed over for a sundowner at The Folly. It seemed fitting to celebrate this monumental step for Jane to partake in the local fare; gin and tonics all round!

Sunday morning dawned with enough time to head over to and up Southampton Water to give Clare a well earned break from the nav table with a stint on the helm in some excellent sailing conditions. Breathing in the sea air with the wind in your hair and feeling the warmth of the sun during October was unexpected and brought such healing qualities to us all. Sun, sea, sail and Solent is 100% success in our book. Safe to say all our objectives and much more were met over this weekend and we can’t wait to go again.

Don’t forget our winter offer of £300 for the weekend, or book a club skipper to get a bit of winter practice in ready for next year.

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