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Outing to Hilbre Island

A group of members decided to organise a trip to Hilbre Island in August and two boats  were selected but, after some emailing and posting on Facebook, it was decided that everyone could fit on Diva as it could take 14 crew for a race so taking that number to Hilbre Island was not seen as a problem.

The day started as a bit overcast and the sea state was moderate whilst in the river but the wave height "improved" once out at sea to give a bumpier ride. The passage through the Rock Channel was used even though the tide was a neap rather than a spring and Diva is quite a deep drafted boat. Nonetheless there was only one mild panic where the bottom was some 3m higher than the chart suggested and a detour over towards HE1 from the Outfall buoy was needed. After that it was plain sailing down the channel marked by HE2 and HE3 until we reached HE4.

 

Seals, Seals, Everywhere....

To the west of Hilbre there was a large stretch of water with a mound of seals on it. Being downwind of them was a fragrant experience so Diva anchored in a nice deep(ish) spot not too far from the seals. Within a short period the sandbank the seals were sitting on became visible as the tide dropped and eventually the crew decamped from Diva to the sandbank where we joined another yacht (a Westerley 26) from West Kirby.

After a few false starts caused by stiff breezes and the inability of damp matches to light, the BBQ was underway and burgers, sausages and salads were liberally covered in various sauces and flavours of sand before being rammed into baps and finger rolls and consumed on the spot.

 

You can sail, but you cannot hide...

Some of the more observant members looked up from the BBQ and noticed a boat that looked very similar to Jim Connolly's Bonae Spei. So some walked up the sand for a few hundred yards and examined the boat from closer up. It did not look similar to Bonae Spei, it WAS Bonae Spei - it was out on a "shakedown" cruise after some recent work.

Eventaully the tide began to rise and all the rubbish and leftovers where collected up so that the sandbank was left in as pristine a condition as possible and Diva began the long trek back up the channel past HE3 and HE2, but the tides were kind and it was possible to cut straight across to the Outfall buoy and back over to the Rock Channel and into the Mersey.

It was a long day, but everyone enjoyed themselves and it was pleasant to have a more relaxed cruise rather than a frantic charge around the cans in the Mersey.

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