Fly/Sail Weekend – 23/24 June 2018
Piece by Sally Pawson, originally published in September/October 2018 edition of Navigation News.
The weather had held! We awoke to brilliant sunshine and low winds – just what the aviators wanted but not necessarily the yachts! Four boats arrived in Hornets, Gosport consisting of two yachts - Mischief 2 and Darwin Star, a catamaran - Spirit of Scott Bader which is part of Sailability International and a motorboat - Charlie 2. John Cairns and Paul Bryans kindly ferried the mariners to Dedalius airfield at Lee on the Solent where four planes had arrived (a Piper Warrior, a Wassmer Europa, a Jodel and another plane flown by Graham Purchase). We all met up over lunch and then once the aviators decided who was taking whom, they took to the skies with their mariner passengers. The mariners had a fantastic time flying over the Solent across to Newport on the Isle of Wight where we enjoyed a bird’s eye view of the 50th Isle of Wight Festival that was taking place all weekend. Then we headed South towards St Catherine’s Point and out to sea bearing across Freshwater Bay, banking over the Needles to take photos before heading East across Hurst Castle, Beaulieu, Calshot and Southampton Water, back to Lee on the Solent.
Once everyone had enjoyed their flying adventure, John and Paul ferried us all back to Hornets for drinks and nibbles on Charlie 2 where everyone was pleased to see Mike Highwood joining us. With 17 aviators and mariners aboard Charlie 2 it was rather cosy, all getting to know each other extremely well! When there were no more nibbles left and the wine was running dry, we headed for the Hornets restaurant for supper and more drinks - after all it had been a very hot day. Having satiated our hunger and slated our thirst, berths were found on the boats for all the aviators and once all the bags had reached the right owners we all settled down for a well-earned sleep.
Sunday morning dawned bright and sunny again with low winds. We were (mostly) up early bright eyed and bushy tailed despite the copious amounts of alcohol the previous evening. Obviously this lot have had plenty of practice! Mischief 2 and the Spirit of Scott Bader departed at 08:30 sailing to the Royal Victoria Yacht Club in Wootton Creek on the island for brunch. Unfortunately, Darwin Star unable to join us, had to return to his local mooring. There wasn’t a great deal of wind but the aviators enjoyed their sail. Charlie 2 left at 09:20 arriving to a welcoming committee just 20 minutes later. We were made very welcome at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and ate a hearty brunch outside in the sunshine, washed down with copious amounts of tea and coffee.
We were limited on time in Wootton Creek as it dries out so we all left around 11:30 bidding fond goodbyes to those heading home. The rest returned to Hornets to disgorge the aviators so that John could take them back to the Dedalius for their flights home.
It had been an absolutely fabulous weekend and certainly the best Fly/Sail weekend I had been on. There was never a dull moment and it was like meeting old friends for the first time. I met some really lovely people who I hope will become firm friends in the future. Lucy from the Spirit of Scott Bader subsequently emailed me saying it was possibly the best weekend of her life. Praise indeed to everyone who took part.
Roll on the next Solent Fly/Sail weekend!
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