As we basked in July’s heatwave, the Feva fleet were eyeing up some potentially unpleasant weather just when we were due to leave for our three day “Fevadventure” up the Beaulieu river. Come the day, however, the forecast was a little grey but we saw our chance to go and start the expedition dreamed up by fleet captain Jeremy Vines many months before. With polar explorer and round the world race skipper Manly Hopkinson, Jeremy conceived of an adventure in which the children would take charge and manage their own trip with parents firmly taking a back seat.
Eighteen sailors, three RIBs and a mothership yacht made for the Beaulieu river and our camp at Inchmery house near the mouth, the owners of which had very kindly allowed us to land on their beach and make camp in a field. After a lovely passage with fair wind under brooding skies we arrived as the sun broke through. The campsite is perfect, set a short walk away in a beautiful meadow just above the beach on which we had landed and hauled up the boats. We all set up tents and made camp before heading back to the beach to join Manly and agree the rules of the expedition and plan our time here. Firewood was collected and before long we were able to cook on the beach and enjoy a great meal followed by more larking about in the sea and mud! With night falling we all gathered around the fire and everyone shared the coolest place they’d been and told stories and jokes before heading to bed in the small hours.
The next day the tide allowed for a late start for the sail up the river right to Beaulieu village and Rope Makers field for a picnic and swimming. The return trip, with tide racing beneath us, was fast and furious. The boats this time were left at BRSC to provide options for the next day and its less clement forecast. With all sailors and support crew ferried back to camp, the fire could be lit and supper prepared. As with the night before, our congenial hosts joined us for a little. A squall blew in just as we finished cooking but it passed soon enough and there was time for more fun in the mud before cleaning up in a freshwater pond, warming by the fire, enjoying hot chocolate and going to bed. Many of us slept so soundly that the incredible thunder storm in the night went by completely unnoticed!
Day three saw all sailors pretty tired! With a poor forecast for the return trip and the weather looking pretty grey it was decided not to sail home. We broke camp and arrangements were made for everyone and their boats to return home by road. The RIBs and the mothership made their own way back by sea.
It was an incredible weekend in a truly fabulous spot. The weather held when it needed to and the beach felt wild, beautiful and remote. All of us enjoyed a break worthy of Swallows and Amazons. The mix of sailing, wild camping, swimming and exploration was magical.
So many parents worked to make this happen and we are hugely grateful to them all for doing so, and for making the effort to take a back seat where possible during the trip!