Final Crossing and the Final Farewells

29 August 2016

On departing Alderney the fleet said goodbye to two boats, Sophisticated Lady and Magic Moments, who were making their way back to their home ports. Magic Moments radioed the fleet to say they had spotted yet more dolphins and thanked everyone for making the experience a memorable one. The rest of the fleet enjoyed a beautiful sail along to Cherbourg, with light north westerlies, the wind dropped slightly once they had passed the Alderney Race. On arrival in Cherbourg the crew all congregated at the L’Equipage bar (including those who had stopped in Guernsey for an extra day) for a final sundowner, before breaking off into groups for dinner. There was a great atmosphere with everyone talking about the fun they had in Alderney and their plans for the crossing home the next day.

The morning of the crossing and departures were staggered throughout the day. With some boats departing at 0530 and others at 1800. The decision on the time to depart was based on the destination port; Gosport, Lymington, Hamble, Chichester and Weymouth. The crossing had a variety of wind strengths and directions. For most it started with Force 1-2 South Easterlies, meaning that the first few hours had to be under motor. It then picked up slightly and turned North West for a couple more hours, allowing for some great sailing, before dropping again to nothing. It then finally filled in from the South West with a steady Force 5. “The watch system failed entirely due to the sailing being far too exciting” Current Obsession.

After sleep all-round the majority of the fleet came to the Farewell Lunch and Prizegiving at The Lightship in Haslar Marina. This gave the chance for final farewells and the swapping of contact details. During the Prizegiving each boat was called up to collect their plaque, with special mention to MaryAnn and Third Encounter for ‘Best Supporting Act’ (as nominated by Cloudy Bay). This was awarded because they kindly turned back on Leg 1 to help assist Cloudy Bay with engine problems, this meant that they did not arrive in Cherbourg until the early hours. MaryAnn were also menitoned for the size of their smiles, even at 3:30am after a very long channel crossing.  Jasmine on Hufflepuff was awarded with an ARC teddy for being the youngest crew and mention went out to Guy on Ruby Star, who was nicknamed ‘Commodore’ and ‘Mr Communication’ by the fleet as he was always there to lend a helping word on the radio, updating the fleet on the weather ahead. The prize for the best log went to Stephen on Midnight Wanderer, as these could not be read without putting a smile on the face of the reader. With entries still coming in for the photo competition winners are still to be announced.

Special thanks was given to the RYA Active Marina, Hamble and PBO for their support with the Rally, to Roger Seymour for his part as Lead Skipper and for his Passage Planning Clinic, which most participants made good use of in every port.  Finally Sally thanked the participants for their help in making the inaugural ARC Channel Islands Rally a huge success.