The cruise began with an informal briefing in the clubhouse on Monday evening, 2 October. All the usual topics were discussed, the main subject being the weather forecast. This was good for the following day, Tuesday, but showed a marked deterioration for the period overnight Wednesday into Thursday, when the cruise would be returning to Chichester. Various options were discussed and it was decided to go to Buckler’s Hard as planned, with a decision to return to Chichester on Wednesday, or to continue to Universal being made on Tuesday evening. Although the weather was fine for the trip to Buckler’s Hard the forecast for Wednesday night/ Thursday morning indicated further deterioration with winds forecast to increase to F7, occasionally F8 so with much umm-ing, aaah-ing and gnashing of teeth it was decided to abandon the trip to Universal and return to Chichester the following morning.
The cruise enjoyed a pleasant sail on Tuesday, all arriving by late afternoon to berth on the refuelling pontoon at Buckler’s Hard. The mandatory pontoon party was held early on Tuesday evening, with some crews electing to return to their yachts for the rest of the evening, others enjoying a meal in The Master Builder hotel’s restaurant.
The timing of tides for Wednesday meant that, having taken the decision to abandon the passage to Universal Marina, an early start was required and crews were up and about by 7 am in time to catch the flood tide. At this stage the weather was still fine with a light north westerly breeze, no sign of the forecast mayhem to come….in the event the wind blew hard during Wednesday night but started to abate during Thursday, by which time everyone was safely home.
Yachts taking part: Another Fantasy, Bugsy 2, Muddy Waters, Quintette, CoCo, Sigridur, Kerry Dancer and Cheeky Girl.
– by Ian Culley