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Home / News / May Cruising Rally & Challenge Cup

May Cruising Rally & Challenge Cup

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Published 22:00 on 28 May 2024

Over the late May bank holiday, a fantastic weekend in the Western Solent was enjoyed by the CO32 cruising fleet

The weekend started with a cruise to Town Quay in Lymington, with wall to wall sunshine but not a huge amount of breeze, although what there was was handily blowing from the East helping the Central and Eastern Solent dwellers make it in good time. The afternoon was spent catching up with old friends and meeting new owners joining a rally for the first time. An added bonus was being handed the 2024 Lymington Harbour guide from the friendly dockmaster, to see that a fleet of CO32s on the Dan Bran from the 50th celebrations was their cover photo! A pleasant drink in the Ship Inn was shared, before the fish and chip shop on the High Street did an excellent job of feeding the gaggle of CO32 sailors. We frightened away the local teenagers as we shared our cans of beer on the quay, before a rain shower sent half the fleet to bed and the other half back into the pub.

Some boats had an early start, with Kit's offer of visiting the Jeremy Rogers boatyard for a tour around the new boat being too good to miss. Then boats slowly made their way out into the Solent. It had been forecast to be overcast and a few showers, but instead we were met with sunshine and 20kts of breeze for a superb downwind-downtide jolly to the Beaulieu River.

However, it wasn't to be all plain sailing - the boats were also taking part in the 2024 Challenge Cup. The rally participants, plus a few other boats dotted around the South Coast of the UK, were given 10 challenges to complete and then share their exploits to the WhatsApp group - with a prize for the fastest boat and a prize for the boat that took the best photos. All the competitors threw themselves into the challenges - with some challenges proving hilarious (a personal favourite was seeing all the skippers wearing silly hats made for them by the crews), some being very inventive (whilst most boats managed to delve to the bottom of the locker to find their motoring cone, one boat had to improvise with an ice cream cone and some cleverly angled photography) and some being deviously challenging (such as tying as many different types of knots in 30seconds). 

The photos continued to flood in, well after many boats had completed the tasks, showing how much fun everyone was having. Some of the older crews found ways to game the system and complete things with as little difficulty as possible! One boat even realised on Sunday morning that the courgette plant they had been sailing around all weekend with met the criteria of something afloat beginning with 'C' (that wasn't a contessa). Acknowledgements for highly commended videos were given to Constella for re-inventing a fender as a fender child which didn't answer back to Mummy and Daddy, and could be thrown overboard if they were naughty, and Andaxi whose advert for their fender swing had professional production quality complete with backing track and credits! However, the prize for the best photos overall went to Coric, who completed every task with absolute professionalism and had us laughing a lot with their 'utility hat' and 'super-skipper'. And the prize for the fastest boat went to Muscadet de Havelet, who didn't give up when the judges determined their photo of another boat at anchor was actually on a mooring, so promptly made a paper boat including a shackle anchor and launched it in a bucket!

After the games had finished - we all arrived at the stunning venue of Bucklers Hard and enjoyed another sunny afternoon in good company, sharing our favourite stories from the day. We were well looked after by the harbour staff (including one of the CO32-owning dockmasters who chatted to everyone) with 12 boats lined up next to each other to allow maximum socialisation. A few boats enjoyed the museums at Bucklers Hard and others played French cricket on the lawn. It wasn't long before the sun was over the yardarm, and G&Ts were enjoyed as part of the traditional pontoon party and we all BBQed our food in the marquee. A few extra boats joined by road and the party, drinks and conversation continued well into the night.

Bank holiday Monday dawned - and once again the weather defied the forecast with beautiful sunshine and 20kts of breeze again. Most boats sailed quickly home, getting back alongside before the rain reminded us what bank holidays are meant to be like! However, as the crew of Augusta pointed out - it was one of the rare weekends where we went downwind all weekend!

Huge thanks go to Jo Clatworthy for organising the event, the staff at Lymington & Bucklers Hard, Kit for the yard tour and everyone that came along and made it so much fun. The next rally will be August Bank holiday to Bembridge and we hope that we will see many of you there to enjoy the fun again.

Jo Sammons

Last updated 22:03 on 28 May 2024

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