Sir Chay Blyth's new steel 72 ft yachts set off up the Channel and YM's man is on board

YM’s David Pugh reports from mid Channel:

Waterfront spectators were rewarded with a fine sight this morning as the newly refitted Global Challenge fleet left Plymouth Yacht Haven. The 12 ocean race yachts took up a triangular formation as they motored up Drake’s channel for the benefit of the cameras.

After a slightly delayed start due to minor teething troubles with the boats, the fleet set sail in a NNE 4/5 on the first leg of our journey towards Start Point. Our boat, ‘Save the Children’, passed the eastern end of Plymouth breakwater at 0910, to begin the 350 mile journey non-stop to St. Katherine’s Dock in London. Spirits were high on board as we set the full main, staysail and number three yankee and sailed off on a close reach, the log peaking at nine knots. As I write, Start Point lies just abeam and ‘Save the Children’ is overtaking the last of the fleet. Not that we’re racing of course.

As we enter Lyme Bay, we face a long thrash hard on the wind towards the Isle of Wight, expecting to be off St. Catherine’s Point by late evening. Designed for working to windward, the Challenge fleet is in its element here. Watch this space!