On Thursday afternoon the rally departed for Alderney, marking the last stop in the Channel Islands, before returning to Gosport. Conditions were good with Southerly winds and a calm sea state. A pod of dolphins greeted the fleet as they departed Guernsey marina, making for some great picture opportunities. The wind started to drop as the day went on and the majority of the fleet decided to motor sail, insuring they got through the Alderney race with a following tide. The race has a reputation of being extremely fierce if caught at the wrong time. The rally kept in radio contact and relayed information on the sea state and tide when they passed through the race insuring no one was left out. Steve from Omnishambles commented on the passage “The rally support from both staff and other boats, has enabled me to feel confident in navigating areas with challenging tides”
The yachts arrived in to Alderney at around 7pm and picked up one of the yellow visitor moorings that line the harbour. After having some dinner on-board participants made their way to Alderney Sailing club to share stories of their passage through the race.
On Friday morning participants took the opportunity to explore the island. Clare from World Cruising Club led a guided walk around the western side of the island, stopping for some pub lunch in the glorious sunshine. Others enjoyed the white sandy beaches, and local shops.
After a day of exploring the island the ARC Channel Islands 2017 prize giving took place at the Moorings restaurant, which overlooks the harbour. Participants feasted on wood fired pizzas and watched a slide show of photos from the last 9 days. Charlie Pierce from World Cruising Club led the prize giving which included events that had happened over the course of the rally. The first winners were Quench for "Waking up Gosport " after getting a little bit too close to a tanker in the early hours of Sunday morning, resulting in the ship signalling their horn. The second prize " Catch of the Day" was awarded to Doodles Of Hamble for (accidentally) picking up a fishing buoy shortly after departing Gosport. Winner of best blog entry went to Matakana Blue for cruising in comfort by crossing the channel in their Pyjamas! Finally the photo completion was won by Tessa Jane for skipper Geoff’s climb up the mast in Gosport, and Legato for their perfect picture of a dolphin playing off the bow of their boat. Special thanks was given to the RYA Active Marina, Hamble School of yachting for their support with the Rally, to Roger Seymour for his part as Lead Skipper and for his Passage Planning Clinics, and Clare from World Cruising Club who provided spectacular pictures and support during the rally. Finally Charlie thanked the participants for their help in being part of an unforgettable rally.
It was a leisurely day on Saturday as the Rally departed on the Alderney railway for a private tour from West to East. The views were breathtaking as the train chundered along the picturesque coastline to the Quesnard lighthouse.Last night the fleet said goodbye to one another, Legato, Reflections, Tessa Jane, and Flotaxe departed with lead boat Rebel for the night passage back across the channel. The fleet enjoyed F5 W for the whole passage, which enabled yachts to sail the entire way. For many this was their first night passage. Flotaxe made their way to Newhaven while the rest of the yachts tied up safely in Gosport. After some well-deserved rest participants were greeted with Bacon sandwiches. The rest of the fleet enjoyed one more night in Alderney before returning to their home ports early this morning.