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Our News and Notices

The 91st Calais Rally

East Coast - 30 May 18 Cruising

The RNSA East Coast Branch have a standing invitation to the Little Ship Club Rally. The Event this year lived up to the wonderful traditions continued by the late Norman Hummerstone, MBE who presided over the Event in 2017 at the age of 97.

Pinch yourself -you're in the North Sea! Such was the brilliant sunshine over the May Bank Holiday for the Little Ship Club Calais Rally which has been going since 1928.
Following the recent death of the inimitable Norman Hummertone MBE who had presided with great aplomb over the Event in 2017 (at the age of 97) we were on our own, faced with the heavy burden of making it as much fun as it had always been..... but then we had learnt from the 'Master'......Norman would have been pleased!

Jacqui-B embarked two CURNU Midshipmen, Katie Sargeant and Anna Daniels at Woolverstone and sailed early on 25th May. South of Harwich fog descended and would persist until we reached the TSS, some 40+ miles. Thank God for the radar! It was slightly eerie to pass through the Foulger's Gap, which cuts through the centre of the Kentish Knock Wind Farm, without seeing a windmill. Fortunately we discovered that one of our Midshipmen had 'X Ray Eyes' so that, with a tip from the radar operator, yachts, motor boats and coastal traffic were discerned amidst the swirling fog, often in the nick of time.

Maurice Smith had commandeered Balloo; his own boat was trundling around the continent on a lorry (he can explain!).

Athena, Peter Broadley's newly acquired Victoria 30, had arrived from Britlingsea and found a berth before the main swarm of boats (15 or so) stormed in on the 2100 Henon Bridge Opening, so the RNSA could raft up together. Successor arrived on Saturday with our youngest crew member, Izzy Cooney, the 'Squadron PTI' - in time for the first swim off the Calais Beach.

Our stalwart shore support team, Vivien Ryser and Val Alright arrived by Ferry so we were ready for the wonderful pontoon party put on by the Aventura Team from the little Ship Club. We were then welcomed at the 'Cercle Amicale Maritime' for the traditional 'rowdy' LSC Dinner with, of course, Norman's Unchanged Menu.

We were able to pay tribute to the Modest, Impish and Most Charming Gentleman whose look could never be forgotten and who had done so much for liaison with Calais, and given us so much enjoyment at each Rally, and with his lunches and activities at the Little Ship Club and Rifles Club in London.

One of the quirks of the East Coast Branch is that we have musical aspirations well above our (appalling)competence level. But we had discovered that one of the Midshipmen, had a beautiful voice and a ukelele. After a bit of practice Cooney had the bright idea that after Dinner we could go and make our 'Appalling Sound' in the Calais Yacht Club. Initially with trepidation, Colin and Moira Trevilion, Cooney, Katie Sargent and Gale Bryan armed with a couple of guitars and the ukelele started to quietly 'murder' some of the best British pop songs in these hallowed surroundings. Somehow it caught on (the quality of the wine perhaps?) so requests kept flowing until 0200 in the morning.

We awoke on Sunday to the 0800 call for an early morning swimming. Something of a token 30 yards, but justice was done and we were ready for the Recuperative Buck's Fuzz and Bacon sandwiches provided by the wonderful Aventura team.

There followed the usual warm formal reception from the Deputy Mayor, Mme Plank and the Officials of the Calais Yacht Club, most ably (and amusingly) translated by the Commodore of the Little Ship Club. Peter Broadley, after some (not undetected) subterfuge, won the prize for the longest sail.

Our warmest thanks are due to the Little Ship Club Team particularly, the Vice-Commodore of the Little Ship Club for a magnificent Calais Rally. We will all be back!

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