25th - 31st May 2008 - Gosport to Plymouth

Bali Hai
Neal Stow
Sat 31 May 2008 16:27
The crew for this leg were Robert Allen (who will be continuing the Rally), Mike Stappard, Pete Guest and Richard Fletcher.  We arrived in Plymouth last weekend after and interesting overnight sail from Gosport.  The journey started nice and peacefully but we knew that the weather was closing in and briefly contemplated stopping for the night at Weymouth.  In the end we decided to keep going but half way across Lyme Bay the heavens opened and the winds rose to 35 knots by mid-night and stayed that way until we arrived at Plymouth at 4:30 in the morning.  Not the most pleasant of trips for Richard - his first time on a boat!
The boat was secured on the outer breakwater at Mayflower Marina and although Monday was peaceful during the day, that evening we again experienced gale force winds.  Despite being assured by the marina that there was no significant swell on the breakwater this proved not to be the case in these conditions and the next morning the GRP man had to be called to remove all the scratches in the hull.  The marina then moved the boat into a much more sheltered spot.
I was on my own for the next few days until the crew arrived on Friday.  Most of the time was spent cleaning the boat and making final preparations.  On Thursday the Rally Portugal organisers arrived and we did the safety check, which went fine, and then on Friday morning the crew arrived; Rob, John Hutton (jet lagged from Shanghai) and Andrew Humpage.  I immediately set them to work polishing the hull - except Rob, who spent the next couple of hours fretting over whether his Rally Portugal T-shirt was the right size.
After lunch we did some shopping and then went to the rally briefing at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club.  An excellent presentation certainly got everyone fired up and in my excitement I managed to drop a bottle of wine on to the table with all the other bottles of wine, causing carnage.  So I thought it prudent to retire early from the first evening of jollity.  Rob and Andrew, needless to say, did not.
It is now the day before the start and the picture shows all the boats dressed and ready to go (Bali Hai in the foreground).  We will be doing the final preparations today and the marina has an event organised for this evening for the final send off.  We need to be at the start line for a 10:30 start tomorrow.