Over the Easter break, we were lucky enough to be offered places aboard Merrilyn, The Rona Sailing Projects Ocean 62 provided we could put a worthy crew together at short notice and with an offer like that we pulled out the stops and went for it. So 9 of us left Portsmouth for the Hamble and join the boat in nice sunshine and a pleasant breeze.
Together with the 6 crew on board after a brief from Skipper Mike and familiarisation below and on deck, we sailed into Southampton water for some mob drills and then for a sail down the Solent. After a night on anchor in Totland bay which presented sea legs all round we headed off at sunrise the next day towards Weymouth with a stop off at Lulworth cove for lunch. From There we carried on towards Dartmouth and after a cracking reach across Lyme bay we were escorted in by a pod of dolphins which delighted everyone.
After a morning of dinghy handling up river we made passage to Brixham to await a fair tide to carry us back across the bay which proved to be the best sail and experience of the trip so far although the wind was fickle at times, we made a good passage time and cracked on through the morning and into Studland for lunchtime and began a deep clean and onto Poole harbour for the evening. We had a good meal again on board followed by games and a restful night alongside in preparation for a sail back in to the Solent arriving in East Cowes for our final evening a board including reports and debriefs for crew.
Returning to The Hamble river on day 7 we had sailed 250 miles, all crew had cleaned, cooked, stood watches sailed, trimmed steered enjoyed and engaged on all levels. Everyone involved took something valuable away with them and all crew learnt a lot of new skills. Two of the crews were given awards to return as they had excelled themselves through the week and they also achieved RYA competent crew certificates, 3 others achieved their RYA start yachting certificates and all experience offshore sailing for 7 days and grew throughout the experience.