For the last 20 years I’ve been a member of the London Sailing Project (a UK based sailing charity) whose aim is, in the words of Commander Walter Scott written in 1960: ‘providing (through the medium of sea training in offshore craft) opportunities for London boys to acquire those attributes of the seaman, namely; a sense of responsibility, resourcefulness and team-work, which may help them throughout their lives.’ Of course, these days we take both boys and girls and they come from all over the UK.
Part of the deal with the Project is that we spend one weekend each year helping out with refitting the boats, and one weekend re-familiarising (FAM) ourselves with all the bits that get changed as a result of legislation, upgrade, repair etc. This weekend was my FAM.
We’d spent the day pottering about the Western Solent before heading up to Ocean Village for the night. With Northerly winds forecast we didn’t fancy bouncing around in Cowes and we wanted to be back at the LSP home port of Universal early on Sun once we’d finished the FAM.
Although very nice, Ocean Village doesn’t have much character being mostly a waterfront re-development. However we did, entirely by chance, stumble into the oldest pub in the UK (the Red Lion in Southampton). As well as fine ale, Mike (the barman) was able to tell us about the trail of the conspirators to the plot to dethrone Henry V, the Saxon cellars, the unique carved kitchen fireplace and how it was the only building in the street to survive WWII.
An excellent, if slightly chilly, weekend.