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Calshot August 17th, 2003

Whilst enjoying the fine range of ales at the Port of Call, we were called upon to make a decision – the location of Sunday’s away day, Calshot or Minehead? The wind forecast for either locations was not particular inspiring however due to the problems of currents at Minehead and the lack of predicted wind, Calshot won the day.

Thursday evening saw a quite a large turn out of Nomads but, not surprisingly, not many people were committing themselves to being present on Sunday. Ian & myself took the plunge and gave a definite yes, Chris & Gerry were nominated to bring the cake as they looked to be the only committee members that were going to be present, as Al was keeping his options open with a maybe along with a few other Nomads.

We arrived at Calshot at 10:30 amazed to see Al climbing into his wetsuit with his kit already rigged – keen or what! Apparently, he had arrived around 9:30 and was keen to take advantage of the latest wind forecast, which predicted some wind for the day but it was supposed to drop during the afternoon. (Mind you, the wind hadn’t arrived yet either!) Nether the less, we sent about to join Al on the water with Ian promptly putting the kettle on, whilst I unloaded both our Technos and big sails.

We were soon joined by Adrian & Jackie, although it took Adrian a little while for him to realise that the person who was waving to him and who looked like Neroli was actually Neroli and yes that van which looks like ours was ours! Apparently they had arrived at the beach not expecting to see any Nomads – he thought the away day decision was between Newton beach (Porthcawl) and Minehead. They were going to go to Newton for the weekend but decided at the last minute to go to Calshot instead – very lucky call!

Adrian & Jackie had arrived yesterday afternoon and surprise, surprise, Adrian promptly told us we should have been here yesterday! He had been out sailing with his 5.8m, although he did admit to the wind being very up and down. Well one thing was for sure, the 5.8m wasn’t coming out to play today as Al certainly wasn’t planning yet with his 7.9m sail.

Having rigged and watered, we were ready to get on to the water just after 11:00, which isn’t bad by our standards. It was also around this time that we first spotted Al planning on the horizon. This was very encouraging, so we quickly left Adrian to think about rigging and made for the water, and yes it was true, with a bit of pumping you could usually work yourself up on to the plane. However, this was very tiring and your nerves were somewhat tested as you planed towards exposed sandbars in almost all directions! It didn’t take long for both of us to abandon planning and make a concerted effort to sail upwind and join Al the other side of the sandbar. Twice I had to jump of the board quickly as I felt the fin lightly scratching the seabed but in both cases fortune was shining on me and I managed to get away with it. Having searched for a way to sail around the sandbar we both had to give up and dismount to walk across the main sandbar - our 46cm fins were just to long. Once across the sandbar we could ‘relax’ and sail less on our nerves. The wind continued to stay around the same strength, allowing us moments to pump ourselves up on to the plane. Needless to say, Adrian made it look far too easy as he glided past us… but he did have the biggest sail at 9.1m, more than 2m more than my poor sail!

Just before12:30 Al, Ian and myself headed for the shore desperate for a drink and maybe a piece of cake(?). This time, I approached the sandbar much more cautiously and dismounted when the water was around my chest, however by the time I had walked several metres, I realised the water was now deep enough to sail straight over the top – typical! When we got to the beach, there was no sight of Chris & Gerry or any other Nomads – oh no what about the promised cake that we had been dreaming of! Fortunately, we had had Ian’s mother stay with us for a few days and she had made us some chocolate covered praline cake, so we were able to come to the rescue and save the ‘starving’ Nomads.

After lunch, the wind did pick up for a time, so I could plan without to much pumping and even do a few carve gybes, mixed in with a few heli-tack attempts when the wind wasn’t quite there. I finally came off the water around 13:45 tired from all the pumping and freestyle activities. Al wasn’t to far behind me, besides we both had parking tickets that expired just before 14:30. Ian came ashore just before the parking ticket expired to put an extra pound in the meter and borrow Adrian’s kit, whilst he caught up on the piece of cake he missed out on earlier. This was also the time when the wind chose to drop and Adrian’s up-haul broke – unlucky Ian! (Adrian was just relieved the up-haul hadn’t snapped with him as he was still suffering from a bad back and had spent most of the day, as he put it, trying to sail gently, ‘tip-toeing’ around the mast when he tacked, especially when he was out of his depth!). At this point we all called it a day, besides the sun had also seemed to have given up for day.

There is another breakage that is worth mentioning, but this one was on land rather than the water… Jackie had open a cupboard door only for a glass to come crashing out, somehow sending glass from one end of the campervan to the other (and it is a very big campervan). To make matters worse the glass had also taken out a bottle of detol, the content of which was also spilt all over the van. So Jackie didn’t quite have the relaxing day she had been dreaming of… but I bet the van smells very clean.

Neroli.

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