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Armada of Scows sail Solent to 'Thread the Needles'

by Sarah Desjonqueres 12 Jul 2019 16:15 BST 11 July 2019

"Perfect", was probably the word most bandied around yesterday for the big tri-club potter to 'Thread the Needles'; there was perfect wind, perfect sunshine, perfect sea state, perfect tide and of course perfect company. Escorted by multitude of support vessels, over 35 Scows of all types scooted out to Sconce in the Solent from their respective bases to meet up and form an impressive posse of Potterers all bound for the most western point of the Isle of Wight.

Amongst the happy throng from Keyhaven YC were Bocca Lupo, Annie, Zig Zag, Maridadi, Firtha, Scarlett, Tiramasu and Zephyr who left the slipway just after 10am in light winds to meet up with the Royal Lymington YC and Hurst Castle SC Scows for their big adventure.

As the vibrant fleet passed through Hurst narrows, the wind cranked up a notch or two filling all the colourful sails beautifully and adding a bit of zip to their zig-zag beat up along the island coastline. From the off, it was the Royal Lymington scows who led the charge to the lighthouse with Sacre Bleu well out ahead of the rest of the fleet and going great guns as the wind continued to increase.

The Keyhaven convoy arrived off the Needles just before 11:30 and politely mustered in the sunshine to make sure all the gang were together before they headed around the tip of the island and prepared to hook back through the stacks and finally Thread those Needles. Led by Barry Fudge and Peter Fisher in the support RIB, the Keyhaven Potterers quietly sailed together in a peaceful, very smiley procession bobbin through a very shallow and surprisingly rocky (apparently) gap between the towering rocks before they triumphantly turned their backs on the wind to set sail for home.

The trip back, described by Jo Edwards as "a little hairy, especially through the narrows" was a rather rock and roll affair, but all participants kept their calm and their boats balanced and nobody went for a swim.

By the time our intrepid explorers were approaching Hurst Castle the wind was really beginning to make its presence known, and all involved were pretty pleased to make it around into Hawkers where they dropped their sails for a bit of repose and a lovely meet-up with the Royal Lymington sailors who were waiting for them on the other side of the spit for a well-deserved picnic together.

Thank you to Barry Fudge, Peter Fisher, Mike Redfern, David Howden, Tom Compton and Chris Caswell for giving up their time to go out as support vessels for the event and a big thank you to Mike Snoxell for organising the whole thing - wonderful memories were made once more yesterday. Well done to everyone who took on the challenge and successfully completed it with such enthusiasm and enjoyment. Roll on next year.

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