Closing Gallipoli Rally Report to Rally Members

23/06/2015

What a great crowd of sailors you were! We delayed the rally to be sure we had good weather - and we got conditions more like Northern Scotland with a touch of the Roaring Forties! But there was not a complaint or a moan - you super well-seasoned sailors just got on with it and did not let it spoil our programme.

And what a programme it was - never a dull minute with historic tours to Troy, Pergamon and the highlight tour of the Gallipoli Battlefields, all interspersed with fun dinners, drinks parties and visits to wineries to replenish fast diminishing wine stocks. And the wind came howling from the north giving us some challenging sailing. As we arrived into Kabetepe harbour and anchored stern-to the mole, we witnessed a great arrival by Jonathan Beard with no engine but a highly efficient team to secure him safely. His arrival was soon followed by the departure of 4 yachts in the middle of the night due to dragging anchors - a long hard night for some of us.

We planned a small Memorial Service to be held on the beach at ANZAC cove. But the weather put paid to that, so we held it in a small outdoor theatre outside the new Gallipoli Museum and included a sensitive poem by our club poet, Elizabeth Lavers.

And we had some great sailing - probably the best sail was in a southerly gale from Gallipoli to Bozcaada, downwind under foresails only, crossing the entrance to the Dardanelles where we could imagine the spectacle of the great fleet of 40 British ships heading for an unprecedented naval disaster.

So THANK YOU to everyone for joining in and for travelling such long distances to get to Cannakale. Several people remarked that it was a rally with a historic and educational purpose, as well as offering good company and challenging sailing. It was a hell of a long way to go, but hopefully worth it.

To my co-organisers, GEORGE EHLERS and PASHA JONATHAN BEARD, thank you for your enthusiasm and for making the hard work and miles of emails seem like good fun. We got there, we did it and it was all worthwhile!

A small tribute to each of our yachts in descending order of size:

DAMA DE NOCHE (Alan Parker) - gets the prize for the longest distance travelled to get to Gallipoli - over 6000 nm from St Martin in the Caribbean.

APHRODITE (Pasha Beard) - Who else, on the transom of his beautiful yacht, could deliberately mis-spell his yacht name as APHR'1'DITE, replacing the middle letter 'I' with a slim naked lady - Aphrodite of course! Picture Jonathan please! Good to see our Vice Commodore on board for the whole rally.

ZAYBO (John McMonigall) - thanks to diligent retail therapy by his shopping agent, Zaybo is now the proud owner of the world's most classy (and expensive) ashtray, olive dish and napkin holder. We like a bit of interior style!

CHARTERED GULET (Christopher and Kate Robinson) - There were 5 on board, looked after by 5 crew. Wonderful food. No worries about dragging anchors. Pretty nice way to travel! Well done them!

FLUENTA (Ross Witherow) - Good to see Ross and Lene, but sadly they only stayed for the first week before hot-footing it back to UK for the Mad Hatters Tea Party at Ascot.

DHARMA (Chris Binnie) - Chris, Dee and friends chartered a solid Bavaria 50 out of Cesme for his party of 8 very jolly sailors - they slammed into powerful wind and waves to get to Cannakale on time. Good Effort!

FIREMOOSE (Peter and Catie Whiteley) - Most welcome members of the RCC, the Firemoose crew organised a Boule-Bash at Bozcaada, which provided good entertainment in the shadow of the castle. Thanks a lot Peter and Catie.

SUNBIRD (Nigel and Maggie Kay) - Gets the prize for having the only Australians on board. Well, someone had to have them! I think our anchor got the dragging-anchor prize!

RESOLUTION (Peter Innes Ker) - Due to a prior commitment, Peter missed out on the favourable winds. He bashed into Northerly gales before seeking refuge in Ayvalik. But, brave effort, they hired a car to get to the Gallipoli Tour and then sailed on up to Bozcaada, up-wind, strong wind, for the mid rally dinner. Well done!

SKY HUNTER (George Ehlers) - George is great. Nothing worries George. Smallest boat, no attitude:  battered transom, no problem!

And the sun came out for the last few days - hurray