After two days of preparation at Haslar Marina the time had come for this year’s participants to cross the channel to Cherbourg. Tides and passage plans made for an early start, with boats setting off between 0500 and 0530 for the first leg of ARC Channel Islands 2017.
(Ali from Doodles of Hamble armed and ready) ( Legato slipping lines)
The forecast looked favourable with a variable westerly and a chance of some sunshine. As the sun started to rise over Gosport the rally passed through the lumpy seas off Bembridge ledge. Keeping in radio contact throughout the passage is a great way to boost morale and confidence. Geoff the skipper of Tessa Jane started the morning radio discussion by talking over breakfast options,which led to a breakfast top trumps competition, Bacon rolls, Yogurt and muesli, and John and Dinny who are both commercial bee keepers were enjoying some honey on toast. Ean and Ali on board Doodles of Hamble decided that they wanted lobster for their breakfast, and after catching a fishing pot on their prop it seemed like the perfect opportunity, unfortunately there were no lobsters.
Having started the day with grey skies and drizzle, it was soon blue skies, and W F5, while the sea state remained lumpy yachts were making good progress and were enjoying some exhilarating sailing as they pushed further out in to the Channel.
As the afternoon progressed the wind held and shifted NW on occasions making for a near perfect course to Cherbourg. Steve and Steph from Omnishambles jumped on to the radio and reported sightings of dolphins jumping alongside the bow of their boat. Unfortunately, Quench reported problems with their mainsail so had to resort to motoring ahead and were first to arrive in to Cherbourg marina. Clare from World Cruising Club was ready and waiting on the pontoon to catch lines and start the celebrations.
Flotaxe the smallest of the fleet were the last to arrive however made great timing getting in at 21:00. Once all 10 yachts were safely moored up in Cherbourg marina, crews made their way to the marina restaurant L’Equipage to celebrate their crossing and share stories of seasickness, dolphins, passage plans, and sail plans.
Today the sun is shining once again and the rally are exploring Cherbourg before tonight’s skippers briefing and social function.
The Rally continues on to Guernsey tomorrow with a leisurely departure taking the tide to the first of our three Channel Islands ports.
Dinny and John from Honey of Embleton stocking up on local produce