We came to Portsmouth to replace our rig, and stay for about 10-14 days.. But the Sailing club at Hardway was such a friendly place, with such a nice pub, we ended up spending 4 weeks here. Additional work and some delays may also have contributed to the extension of our stay, but who knows:)
Coming down the Irish Sea, Gosport was a bit of a detour, but as we had an appointment with Jerry the rigger, we found our way here. We spent two nights in Gosport Marina before we decided the travel fund was way too shallow to stay on. As anchoring was prohibited in Portsmouth bay, we took a shot and looked up a pontoon we had found on google.. Our maps said it was WAY too shallow for our 6feet draft, but we figured we just as well check it out.
We found the pontoon, and as there was many large boats tied to it we figured we would try to get in, despite what the map said. And shure enough, we stopped in the mud, about 20meters before we reached the pontoon. We then found Paul Adams mooring (we were told by the masons allways to say we were on Paul Adams mooring;), and took our Dinghy in to the dock.
We walked into the club, which unlike Norwegian sailing clubs, was a pub, with lots of people of all ages. We were immediately well received, and soon discovered the first lovely thing about Hardway Sailing Club; Beer was £2,50!! And people were constantly handing us free drinks as well! Heaven? I think so!
After the first night out on a mooring, we moved onto the pontoon at high tide. The mud we ran into the night before, we had been told was super-soft, and that our boat would simply sink/settle into it as the water sank on low tide. A bit scary for a pair of Norwegians that think a spring tideal difference is two feet (as it is in Norway). But we had seen boats inveloped in mud the previous night, and had about 20 people reassure us that this would be fine!
And it was!
We ended up giving Villekulla the SPA treatment with daily mud baths for the next few weeks!
Starting of the very first night, Paul Adams told us we could use his mooring any time! And if we could not find his, we should just pick one and say we thought it was his:)
A day or two later, we were told to pack up our laundry, and the next day we got them back, washed dried and folded <3
Then we met Ali and Claire, who we became friends with one of the first night. When he found out we had a lot of equipment to move from the boat, down to the yard where our masts was, Ali offered to drive us down there with it. Later, Clare took Helle around, searching for cooking-spirits for our kitchen burner. They also lended us his car the next day to go looking for a part we needed for our boat.
The part was not possible to find, but when we told this to the guys at the club, one of them knew a guy that could make and mend such parts. A few days later the part was in our hands, fresh from his workshop!
We also mentioned we liked coffee, but had not found one we liked at the supermarket. Next we know, we are talking to Moss, who imports and burns his out speciality coffee. And it was fantastic! We ended up buying a few kilos of it.. But «buying» is the wrong word. I think we got the friends and family discount, and then some 🙂
The Bar-staff must also have gotten wind of our taste for beer. And the last thursday we were there, they called us up to the bar to help them out. It was «Clean the taps»-day, and they had to empty out all the beer from the pipes. So we helped them to drink it 🙂 (Well, most of it.. there was a lot!!)
And then, the last Saturday in Hardway, i had one job left. Connect the GPS, and check that all electronics worked correctly. They did not. And after 4-6 hours of struggling, i was about to give up. Then Moss and Mike came by to see how we were doing. I told them «Not too good.. The GPS-cable is broken, and none of the shops in the area has or can get one»..
10 minutes later, they came back. Mike had found and ordered one off Amazon, «it will be here tomorrow» he told us. «Sunday?» «Jupp.»
The next morning it was there, and a few hours later, the GPS, and all electronic systems were good to go! Lifesavers! 🙂
So basically, everyone at Hardway has been very welcoming, and gone out of their way to help us and welcome us to the club. We came for Jerry the Rigger, and will come back for Hardway Sailing club!
Oh jeah, Jerry!
The reason we were in Gosport in the first place! Jerry was amazing as well! He is a bit thorough, so i got some extra time to fit gear up in the masts. The list of fixes, improvements and new gear we got fitted is long 😀 And with Jerry doing the rig, we now have a super solid boat, with a super solid rig! Which gives us more peace of mind when we are out sailing!
Thank you Jerry, and thank you Hardway!