09 August 2005

Southampton General Hospital

9th August 05

The final weekend saw a a group from Southampton General Hospital taken afloat for a four day trip. The trip included a tour around the RNLI station at Yarmouth, a ride in the old lifeboat outside Yarmouth harbour, tea at The Royal Solent Yacht Club, and a trip to Hurst Castle. On the Saturday evening the children were invited to judge the fancy dress event at the Island Sailing Club in Cowes.

Again the children were delighted that Ellen could join in for most of the weekend. Here is a combined report on the weekend courtesy of Katie, Bryony, Charlotte and Harriet.

Friday 30th: Captain Frankie’s fabulous! The crew finally woke up at the grand old time of 0630 hours!!! What a lie-in!! Bacon butties ensued, which were everyone’s favourite except for Cath who’s some kind of cereal weirdo.
We finally left the UKSA at 0835 with Captain F. skillfully steering us out of West Cowes. We met ‘Donald Searle’ and no matter how politely we waved and cheered, they wouldn’t wave back! Maybe it was too early? It was fantastic getting the sails up on our new catamaran and bombing up and down the Solent – tacking every five minutes was awesome. We had loads of fun throwing waterbombs at the other boats – they weren’t supposed to throw them back – how unfair!

We arrived at Yarmouth for lunch courtesy of the ship’s lads, Peter and Jonathon. Sandwiches and pasties for lunch – yummy. Then the most important thing??! – Shopping!! We visited the RNLI shop and the Post Office, then Captain F. bought us ice cream!! Thank you Minghella ice cream, we will never forget you!!

We then went out on an old lifeboat that weighed 25 tonnes, incredible! We got soaked sitting on the bow and we watched as a yacht got stranded on a shingle bank. All was well, though, as they got away without any damage to their boat. Then we got back and Martin arrived in a high speed RIB! He took loads of pictures before we all set sail for an anchorage on the other side of the Solent.

Once we were there we went ashore to play football, rounders and rugby, which was great fun! The girls collected lots of shells that must have weighed about 2 tonnes. Somehow, they got them into Peter’s pockets to take back onto the boat.

We then had to go back to Yarmouth because the anchors didn’t hold, where we had a fantastic dinner. Charlotte couldn’t sleep because it was her birthday on Sunday.

Saturday 31st: Today was great! We had showers at Yarmouth and then we left hunting the other boat. We all had a go at sailing the boat, then we went past Ellen’s huge boat which was great. The best bit about today was meeting Ellen – she had a man called Barry with her who was filming us. Then we had a huge water fight between ourselves and the other boat. Ellen was with the boys on the other boat and we soaked her with sea water from saucepans. Captain Frank loves the song Walking On Sunshine and that was our theme tune. Whenever we hear that song we will always remember our fantastic trip.

Then, after we got to Cowes, we judged a fancy dress competition. We decided that the best team in fancy dress was the one that soaked Frank!! Then we sailed back to the UKSA for the night. One more day till Charlotte’s birthday.

Sunday 1st: It’s Charlotte’s birthday – yay!!!! She got presents from everybody and we had cake for breakfast. We are really sad that this is our last day, but we’re going to enjoy it. We sailed all the way up to Newport as a challenge. On the way back Ellen joined us and gave Charlotte a present. Then the girls had a mini disco in the saloon before we got to the UKSA. Then we had lunch and packed our bags, it was really sad. We helped to clean the boat and took loads of pictures of us with Ellen.

We had a fantastic time and we want to thank Martin, Ellen and the crew, especially Frank the Frankster!!

THANK YOU !!!!!!!!