Matakana Blue - Final passage home

My passage plan suggested an 8am start to arrive at the needless around 19.00 as the tide turns but talk over dinner of "first light" from Doodles and Omnishambles revise my plans and we depart at 7am, Ian calls me to say they left at 5.30 have 5 knots of breeze and are motoring.  

Dolphins again come to say hello as we leave Bray or perhaps farewell as these are the last we see.  Claire texts, the overnighters are safely tucked up in Haslar and breakfast is at 9.  Fortunately we have some preprepared bacon rolls warming in the oven. 

We motor sail for a while but shortly after 9am the wind hits 10 knots and I put out the gennaker. Over the next few hours the wind builds, giving us an average of 17 knots from 260 WSW and we are romping along soon arriving 10 miles off the needles at 3pm having covered 50miles in 8 hours.  We're 3 hours ahead of my passage plan and I'm  heading rapidly towards Anvil Point as the strong west going tide and trying to keep the apparent wind angle at 120 has sent us way way left.  We sail deep into Christchurch bay, gybe, take the North passage and are tucked up in Yarmouth for 18.00. 

The long passage allowed time for reflection.  I feel we've all learnt a huge amount and confidence and capability has increased immeasurably.  Apart from the rolly night in Alderney the crew grumbles have been limited and the beauty of the island made it worthwhile anyway.  We also had some great sailing, the westerly winds making for fast Channel passages. 

We enjoyed the camaraderie and made some great friends.  The fleet was small at 10 boats but that made for a very inclusive trip with everyone looking out for each other and sharing the experience of the week. 

We'd recommend ARC Channel Islands to anyone wanting to push their boundaries a little further or even just cruise these waters with some great company.