Chichester marina may seem, and indeed is, a long way from Lagos, Portugal.The connection?
Four Dream or Two graduates who first met on a New Year’s trip with Jannine on Muritai in 2013/14, sailing and carousing our way along the Algarve.
Sailing gives us many things – freedom, challenges, excitement, frustrations, the occasional bout of fear (and seasickness) and importantly, a sense of teamwork and the possibilities of building new friendships.
Different life experiences bring strangers together to crew on a boat, but the shared endeavors and sense of achievement enable people of different ages and backgrounds to gel together in a way that few other hobbies (or obsessions!) achieve.
So why were Niall, Dan, Sue and Alison in Chichester on Valentine’s Day 2015? Well…unlike many well-intentioned group partings and promises to “keep in touch” which don’t materialise, we managed to remain in contact and follow each other’s adventures on Facebook, messaging each other with updates and promising to sail together again.
During the year we had individually sailed in Scotland, Devon, Greece, BVIs and the Solent, and Sue had joined Dream or Two for their trip around the Finnish Archipelago. Then came Ellida.…..Niall’s plans and dreams to buy his own boat came to fruition and he invited the rest of us to join him on his pride and joy.
What a beautiful boat she is, a 1984 Scanmar 33 and she was resplendent in the water after only being back in for a couple of days after a lift out and clean.
As is common there at the weekend, a certain amount of dinghy-dodging was needed to avoid the toppers training in the bay, and eventually we got through the harbour entrance and out to sea.
There was a bit of a swell, but nothing too challenging, and we were able to make our way to the Solent, avoiding the submarine barrier, accompanied by the soundtrack of the 80s courtesy of DJ Niall. It was a dull day but with enough wind to get the sails up and head for Cowes. Ellida sails beautifully and is a joy to handle.
Sailing past Portsmouth Harbour the Spinnaker Tower is always an impressive site, and it looked particularly glorious reflecting the midday sun against the grey skies. The grey eventually caught up with us, and we got drenched from Osborne Bay until our arrival in Cowes Yacht Haven, some of us taking in the new approach for the first time. It didn’t dampen our spirits though, and the usual entertaining discussions en route kept our minds off the cold and damp.
Needless to say we celebrated our first trip together on Ellida with champagne and followed up with a meal together at the Union (after a little bit of shopping…) .
Sunday was unexpectedly glorious, almost warm, beautiful sunshine and just about enough of a F3 to get the sails going nicely. A couple of long tacks took us nicely past Osborne House then Portsmouth harbour again, and an earlier than expected arrival in Chichester Harbour, which necessitated a wait until we had enough depth to approach the lock at the marina (memories of our approach to Olhao!).
As usual the weekend ended all too quickly, but we have another couple of dates booked in and the Round the Island Race to look forward to, where we hope to mount a serious challenge to the Dream or Two skipper and crew .
Dream or Two brought us together and provided us with the skills, and confidence, and qualifications to be able to go it alone. No doubt we will all be back to hone those skills, and look forward to many more fantastic sailing experiences as individuals and as a group of friends.