In the year of the Covid19 lockdown “staycation”, and unable to book a holiday let for love nor money, we decided to take advantage of the Family Cottage Charter offered by the Club.  It worked, beautifully, on many levels.

Firstly and most importantly the family had a much needed 3 day break and enjoyed the change of scenery, and great weather. Eagle looked more like a warm water cruise in the Greek islands – hammock swinging from the spinnaker halyard (eyed up enviously by passers by!), beach towels draped across the pulpit to provide extra shade, teenagers sunbathing on deck or sitting on the bathing deck dipping their feet, or crabbing on the pontoon, and gin and tonics a-plenty! Plenty to look at also with the constant comings and goings of boats small and large, and awesome sunsets.

We took our newly acquired kayaks with us and had a stunning row with the tide up the Beaulieu river from the slipway at Bucklers Hard (booked in advance) to Beaulieu and back (tougher as we had wind against us), admiring the expensive riverside properties along the way. We would definitely take them again and play on the Hamble now that we are “experts”.

The high volume of road traffic sent us to Lee-on-Solent for a bathe, not quite The Witterings but it served its purpose and was pleasant enough.

We ate on board each evening, making use of the fish and chip shop in Swanwick on our last night. All in all very relaxing indeed.

In addition I gained a huge amount personally.  I’ve been a Club member for several years but have lacked the self-belief to go for my Skipper ticket and always sail with others (thank you, you know who you are!), to my eternal shame and regret. This weekend forced me to deal with stuff that is normally either automatically done by others, or whose advice I can seek there and then. I had to prepare Eagle for use on arrival, check her on departure, check the inventory, complete the handover sheet, log a deficiency, re-charge and re-pack an accidentally dis-charged lifejacket (the deficiency!), advise others and ensure safety on board. And we didn’t even go anywhere!  (I’ll be honest, I did text Jane a few times for affirmation, thank you Jane!)

I even helped another vessel early Sunday morning. My lot were mostly still asleep, one al fresco in the hammock. A Dutchman on his newly acquired yacht got into difficulties trying to leave a nearby berth. He experienced the severity of the Hamble’s falling tide together with gear failure, and ended up starboard side to against the opposite berths.  No harm done other than minor damage to his hull, a lucky escape and an interesting manoeuvre involving a long rope, a dinghy and a lot of winching to bring the vessel back to its original berth, good to witness and help out with a roving fender.

So happy memories made, and a more knowledgeable and confident member of the Club than I was at the outset.  What’s not to like?

Clare Klaire and family