Jolly Boys Cruise - 2018

Just about recovered from this years Jolly Boys cruise, and as the washing is now done I guess I need to write up the log.. 

So yet another triumph..  in fact considerably better than last years trip,but not without the usual Lymington cock up...

So it was the team conjoined on Friday evening at Rod's place for a swift trip to the boat which was reached about 5 in the evening only to be found well and truly stuck in the mud on the pontoon (low water springs strike)..  doubly irritating as target was Cowes which easily 3 hours away and we were looking for dinner..  Rod had moved her round earlier in the day, but clearly still not deep enough despite the dredging they've done this summer..  Nothing for it but to have a tea, and then try the motor at ever increasing revs, and an hour later we were off and the decision was taken to go for Gosport Marina (the Premier one) rather than Cowes..  safely ensconced (and this marina was a first for me) we departed for food and found an all you can eat Chinese buffet, which we took full advantage of!

Saturday dawned sunny, but with a stiff breeze, and the decision was to put in the second reef, the good news is that the boat we charter ('Ocean Waves of Albany', a Hallberg Rassy 342) had been fitted with roller furling over the winter so less faff with head sails..

Good decision, with a stiff F5 on the nose (it seemed to be for most of the weekend to be honest) we had a good 3 or 4 hour upwind beat to Cowes arriving mid afternoon to find the place absolutely rammed..  seems there were a number of rallys on this weekend and also a leg of one of the big ISC races..  we ended up on the pontoon at the Folly, and another first for me because we were rafted, as middle boat of three.. catching the ferry down to Cowes we caught up with Smithy and t'other Dave who had left early to watch the rugby, grabbed some beers in the Island Sailing Club, and then adjourned for food at the Duke of York (very nice I thought)

Folly reach..

Sunday dawned grey, with the same breeze blowing we left the reefs in, and after a later breakfast (while we waited for the tide to set fair in the Solent) we left for Lymington and had what I think was best sail we've ever had..  it had  picked up a little from yesterday so was more F6 than F5, but a Hallberg Rassy is a heavy old boat, with a heavy old keel, and she just loved it..  superb sailing, a real sense of achievement when we finally dropped sails outside of Lymington and headed in for a well deserved beer...

Dave, Dave and Smithy looking Volvo Ocean Race'ish..  or not...

"Captain, my captain.."
...calls made earlier we were already booked into the marina so headed in..  now readers who have read previous logs of the Jolly Boys cruise will know it rarely goes well in Lymington..  and so it was here...  Dave took her in but got blown by the wind as went round the corner of the finger berth, so we sent Smithy and t'other Dave in to the finger berth with mooring lines to pull her in...  hauling manfully on the forward mooring rope, I looked down fascinated to see the end of it just coming off the cleat on the boat, and Smithy took two steps back and disappeared off the other side of the pontoon...   Having checked he was OK first, we then laughed and laughed - one of the funniest things we've seen and easily better than me going full stretch on my arse two years earlier on a slimed up wooden pontoon in Portsmouth...  I can confirm his auto inflate life jacket went off..  I can confirm that from sheer luck he didn't have his phone on him... 

Drip.. drip..  drip... drip..
...a fully clothed shower ensued, and then having found the dryers in the marina laundry we put it on the hottest setting and shoved the whole lot in.. time for a curry (Rivaaz - very good!)

I can confirm we slept well..  

Monday just for once dawned sunny, but still windy, but being at the "top" of the Solent we had more options, and the decision was taken to go for lunch at Newtown Creek a very favourite destination with the Jolly Boys..  being a Monday we were also hoping it would be quieter than it looked when we had gone past the day before..

Two old men looking for cake...
Jib only run down wind with tide ensued and there surely isn't a better way to travel

Hurst narrows over our shoulder as we ran down wind from Lymington..
...and this was my view for most of it...   a screen saver if ever there was one...

Soon enough though Newtown was reached and we were able to conform that there was indeed room at the inn for a 34 footer on the moorings..

Entrance to the creek..
The entrance to the creek is narrow to say the least and it was low water (on previously mentioned springs) so although it was deep'ish there wasn't much room to manoeuvre once we got in but happily e got the one on the end and settled down to watch the world go by for a totally edifying couple of hours while we decided where to go..

...and just inside...damn windy as can be seen..

Soon enough time to depart however, and a decision was taken to try another new to us location - Hamble le Rice..  dropped the mooring, almost motored over it, and then threaded our way out of the narrow entrance before running for Southampton water in an ugly nasty wind over tide chop, with waves of up to three feet at times..  two hours of that and we were more than a little happy to round Calshot and head into Southampton water..

Our destination for the night was Port Hamble marina, which is damn difficult to find in a river that is completely and totally rammed with yachts in marina' from one end of it to the other...! 

Noisy neighbours Port Hamble marina..
Funny old place the Hamble.. absolutely rammed with boats..  there must be thousands and thousands and thousands of them...  mostly high end, and/or racing machines..  so MUCH money it makes your eyes water...

Time for some beer and dinner..  first stop of the night was the RAFYacht club who mde us very welcome (one as visiting yachtsmen, and two because Ocean Waves is chartered from the Royal Marines Sailing Club so there's a service link) - they have a truly lovely location which must be worth I don't know how much, but some beers outside n the verandah were very much enjoyed... stop was top end however, Royal SouthernYC, who also welcome visiting yachtsmen but perhaps not as much as their RAF neighbours do (or maybe it was the slight smell of diesel and mould we all had, or the shorts, or the fact that Dave pulled the red emergency cord in the disabled toilets thinking it was the toilet flush? ) anyway, it is a truly awesome building, but a little "stiff", and we are not... 

....and after a further beer and some good food while listening to the end of the England Tunisia match we again slept well...

...and so the day dawned for the final trip - Tuesday. I have to admit I was keen to get home as I had a funeral on the Wednesday but didn't want to drag everyone else back but it seemed most were OK with a suggestion that we do a long run downwind under jib to Seaview where we could pick up a mooring and bask in what little sun there was while we finished the provisions..   

...and that was it, all food finished, all beer finished, and we were back on the mooring and packing up by five... a brilliant four days out...  now, where's Sparrow... ??


Distance: 70.92 miles (cumulative total in the mileage tab at the top)


  • Sat F5 gusting F6; SW
  • Sun F5 gusting top end F6; SW
  • Mon Both ends of a F5 gusting F6; SWxS
  • Tues F4; SWxS/WSW

Sail Plan: Either full or 2nd reef main; full or second reef jib
Speed: See distance section above..  NB. Dave N. had the weekend record with a spotted 8.7 kts (SOG) on Sunday afternoon..

All done... and work beckons.. 


  1. A very entertaining account of a good cruise! One that "the boys" will never forget, by the sound of it, Steve! Those Hallberg-Rasseys are lovely, eh?

    1. Chris - a real Rolls Royce type boat... and yes, this years was well up with the rest of them!


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