Solent Branch

30th Anniversary Dinner aboard HMS Warrior – Saturday 13th September 2015

The planning started a long time ago for this prestigious event. Without support from the Moody Owners National Committee it could not have been organised. As it was the 30th Anniversary of the Association a request for a subsidy was made and was granted, enabling the Solent Branch to proceed with our Dinner.  The Solent Committee had to plan the event and publicise it well in advance, but were heartened by an early and enthusiastic response.

Yachts started to arrive on the Friday and the crews enjoyed a P1030850Pontoon Drinks Party in the early evening sunshine with many crews taking advantage of a warm evening to use their Cobb BBQ Ovens to cook alfresco.

During the day of Saturday 12th September parties from our yachts, now safely moored up in Gunwharf Quay Marina and other local marinas, were treated to a guided tour around HMS Warrior, by extremely knowledgeable and friendly volunteer tour guides.   HMS Warrior was one of the first coal fired steam engined sailing men o’ war and it was so impressive in the second half of the 19th Century that it never had to fire its guns at an enemy.

As the clock struck 6pm Tricia completed her inspection of the yachts berthed in Gunwharf Quays Marina to decide which vessel she would award “Best Dressed and Presented Boat”.  Soldier Sailor, one of seven boats from Christchurch attending their first Solent Branch event, was declared the winner and Chris and Mary McCann will be awarded the Thelma Alloway Prize at the Solent Branch AGM.
On a bIMG_4143eautiful September evening our group of 126, all dressed up in their finest evening outfits, ascended the gangplank of HMS Warrior in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The nautically themed sounds of Shep Woolley’s ‘Ansome Cabin Buoys could be enjoyed as we were greeted with a welcome cocktail, courtesy of Tecsew Ltd, whose canopies adorn many of our yachts helping to extend our sailing seasons.
The call for Dinner coincided with a brisk breeze building across the open deck as the sun set which helped us realise it was time to descend the steps to the Gun Deck.
The Gun Deck on Warrior contains the large guns, cannon balls and instruments for firing and cleaning the guns after firing.  It was also where the sailors manning the guns slept, worked and ate their meals.  Between each gun a table is placed and up to 16 sailors sat there for their meals. Seated as groups of eight or ten, this is where we would enjoy an excellent three course meal, seated on suspended benches and with candles lighting our place settings.
The Cabin Buoys entertained us with a miscellany of sea shanties IMG_4179(which might just have been sung by the sailors of the 1860s and 70s) and a wide ranging selection of more modern songs.  Each table was serenaded by the musicians and we were invited to join in.

Gifts were presented to Charles and Pat Betts, the longest serving members of the Association attending the event and to Jennifer and Guy Standley, our most recent members present.

Our tables were named after rivers in the Solent Branch area and David and Jennifer Shepperd won the “Brain teaser” challenge to rank the rivers and fourteen Moody models, in order of popularity.

All too soon the clock was striking 12 midnight and we retired to our yachts.

Many thanks to all those involved in allowing, planning, supporting and attending this unique venue and most memorable dinner.