Thursday, 26 June 2014

May 2014 - Chichester and the First International Shilling Rally

Launch day

On 15 May, I towed "Margherita" from home and launched her at Emsworth Yacht Harbour, in Chichester Harbour, and moored her in their marina for a couple of weeks, before sailing back to Poole.  I had her hoisted in with a crane, which looked rather scary! 

The following day I met up with Tom Taylor and his Shilling “Marjory”; the first one built by Phil Swift in about 1998. Together over the next couple of days we did some exploring of the harbour, and later sailed to Bembridge for a night.  It was very crowded and we were forced to anchor on the beach. which had a hideous cross current. Never again! 

!Marjory and Margherita on the beach at Bembridge

Four Shillings in the collection - and still not enough for an ice cream

Tom knows Vince Powell, who now owns Ten Bob (Shilling number 10 and the last one built by Phil Swift) and he keeps her at Emsworth too.  So, on 16 May we three met on the Emsworth visitors pontoon where Vince was puzzling over the mizzen rigging. Tom offered some advice..... 

We three agreed to meet later that evening at East Head, near the harbour entrance.  As Tom and I sailed slowly to our destination, against the tide in the entrance, I noticed a yawl with tan sails heading into the harbour.  As it got closer, I recognised her as Five Bob (Shilling number 5) with Matt Andrews on board. Quite by coincidence he had launched at Langston Harbour and sailed to Chichester – and he was as surprised as we were!  Five Bob is marginally longer than my Shilling at 17 ft 3 inches, and has her engine in a well. This works well for Matt as he keeps her on a trailer most of the time and does not suffer fouling problems, but it is in the water all of the time he is sailing, which must affect performance a bit.

Five Bob skippered by Matt Andrews

Five Bob and Marjory

So, we three beached in the mud of a falling tide and, after being joined by Vince, the four skippers spent the evening drinking Matt’s wine and comparing boats, before dispersing next morning hoping we could all meet again in the future somewhere. 

We were 99% certain that this was the largest gathering of Shillings ever accomplished and it represented half of the existing active fleet. Well done team!

Ten Bob

Left to Right - Five Bob, Margherita, Marjory and Ten Bob
Tom and I spent some time sailing together in Chichester Harbour exploring places I had never visited before.  It was surprisingly large and very attractive - but very busy on the Sunday.  The tides were a bit of a shock after Poole, with a 4M range at Springs and a ferocious current in the entrance!  The two boats were surprisingly well matched despite different rigs.  With a decent breeze the cutter rig of Margherita made her a bit faster upwind, but we were never more than a few hundred yards apart.  This matching was even more evident in our later sail together to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight ( a later post I think). 

Marjory leading Margherita

Marjory looking good
An excellent Long weekend and my thanks to Tom for his company and local knowledge.