Graham Snook reports from the 2008 RYA Sail Cruise

YM’s photographer, Graham Snook, reports from the 2008 RYA Sail Cruise.

20 Yachts on the 2008 RYA Sail Cruise left Portsmouth for Cherbourg on a clear summer’s Monday morning. Unlike last year’s force 7-8, the conditions this year were much better – although lacking wind, they were welcomed by the fleet.

With 6-8 knots of wind coming from the North East, what the day lacked in breeze it made up for in sunshine, and it was very sunny. Motor sailing to keep up the required speed of 5 knots, the flat swell-less sea made for a tame but unforgettable crossing. Some suffered sun burn, others like Vivien McCoubry (60) found the crossing absolutely brilliant “It was such good visibility, and it made our crossing truly memorable” Both her and her husband Iain (61), on their Jeanneau 32 Cyclops were enjoying a role reversal with their children “The kids are now worried about us oldies crossing the channel for the first time, and we’re the ones having to send them text messages so they don’t worry about us!” Vivien grinned.

Not everyone motor sailed across, some like Gareth (43) and Isabelle David (42) used their expanded sail wardrobe onElante, their Delher 41DS, and flew their asymmetric most of the way “It’s the longest we’ve ever had that sail up” smiled Gareth.

The crossing wasn’t smooth and worry free for all the boats. Cruise leader Roger Seymore, had briefed the skippers the previous night in Gunwharf Quays, promising them “If this is your first crossing, it will be something you remember for the rest of your life – The time you skippered across the channel for the first time!” Unfortunately this was to ring true for Peter (61) and Emma Dansie (39) onCrossjack VIwho experienced engine cooling problems 6 hours into their voyage and had to slow down to just 2 knots to prevent their engine overheating. They arrived 7 hours afterWindsinger, the lead boat, 18 hours after leaving Portsmouth. “Roger said our first channel crossing would be memorable – He was right!” joked Peter.

Tuesday was a rest day in Cherbourg, although one yacht,Dances with Waves, chose to make the best of the good weather and head for Guernsey. The rest of the fleet chose to enjoy a relaxing day in Cherbourg, before the evening’s pontoon party.

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