Raggy Doll - 30th June - 2nd July - The Last Leg

Friday 30th we were up at 5am for an early set off. There had been lots of talk of high winds, possibly force 6 or more and nobody wanted to be late leaving. The sail down the coast was good, we were nearly at Cape St Vincent when the theme tune to jaws became very appropriate as a shark glided passed, we'd seen dolphins but this was the only shark. As we rounded Cape of St Vincent, the wind started to pick up. We dipped our ensign as a sign of respect for Commodore Nelson (later to become Admiral Nelson) on 11th February 1797 he managed to sail through the Spanish fleet in the fog, identifying their position, but not their number, thereby allowing the British Navy to attack and defeat them.
Grey Goose who were roughly 5 nautical miles ahead, warned us that at the second headland the winds went up to 30+ knots, fortunately, due to an earlier squall, we were 3rd reef in when the wind hit us at 35 knots and it remained high for the rest of the sail, giving us an exhilarating sail where we were surfing down waves. The final passage into the marina was interesting as we were being blown from behind and had to wait on the visitors pontoon for our berthing instructions. We waited for the bridge to open for the yachts entering the marina, it was like being royalty. We found our berth and with the aid of marina staff and the very useful guidance of other rally members we had reached our final destination.
Sadly, one yacht Serafina 1780Y had to stay at Sines due to engine problems. Most of the rest of the rally went to the marina bar, drank and ate Pizza (yes, AJ and I did risk it).
Saturday was spent cleaning, AJ did a marvellous job inside while Andrew and I went to the Marina office to discuss our options.
Saturday evening was the rally party, an interesting menu of a cucumber mousse starter, that was described by Milly (Wendy) from Neverland as weird, salmon with mushroom sauce as main and Swiss roll type dessert. AJ's described it as if a junior chef had been given the job and was trying to impress, but sadly didn't succeed and I am translating that with much more sympathy.
There were plaques presented to each yacht with lots of clapping and cheering, particularly when Mischief's crew went up to collect theirs, walking on their knees and singing that well known Disney tune Heigh ho heigh ho.
Once the presentations were over, we all went back to the Marina bar where Colin, Mike and Marty entertained everyone playing instruments and singing, followed by Colin organising some good old country dancing. At 1.30am, the bar had to close, as the staff were exhausted having been up since 6am, because of The Lions versus New Zealand rugby match. That we won! After we all exited the bar it was back to Mischief, where the music continued, along with copious amounts of alcohol being consumed. At one point Marty was lying on the pontoon strumming his guitar and singing to the stars, when somehow one of Andrew's flip flops was launched into the water off on it's solo journey, never to return. Raggy Doll crew left at 4am, still able to stand, but a little worse for wear. I think the party carried on for a while but I'm not really sure.
Today, Sunday, several of the rally members are nursing baggy heads and fragile stomachs but they don't care.
We had joined this rally as strangers but we were leaving it as family. So in the immortal words of Porky Pig from new Looney Tunes, that's all folks!
Small footnote, the flip flop returned from it's maiden voyage on Monday 3rd July and was duly returned to Andrew.

Sally Dolden