Channel Island adventure

Despite grey skies on arrival at Portsmouth Harbour for the start of the 2009 RYA Sail Cruise (Sunday 7 June), the twenty strong fleet bound for Cherbourg were in fine spirits.

Made up of novice channel crossers and those who enjoy sailing as part of a larger group, the annual Sail Cruise, sponsored by Hamble School of Yachting, in association with Yachting Monthly magazine, provides a perfect mixture of great cruising, learning experiences and social activities that are always enjoyed by everyone taking part, as well as being the perfect opportunity to broaden sailing horizons.

First timer, Annette Madison, crewing on board ‘Stardust’ a Moody 36, hailing from Bideford in Devon said: “We’ve never crossed the channel and really wouldn’t have wanted to do it alone. We wanted support for the first time so the sail cruise was a perfect choice for us.”

Participants were supported throughout the cruise by Roger Seymour, a Yachtmaster instructor from Hamble School of Yachting who briefed the skippers ahead of each passage on what to expect, how the anticipated weather conditions would affect their plans and what they should have considered in their own preparation.

Departing from Royal Clarence Marina in Gosport the cruisers planned their own passage and took the crossing at their own pace as they head across the Channel to Cherbourg, on to St Peter Port, Guernsey and finally Braye in Alderney, before heading for home on Saturday 13th June.

Weather was mixed throughout the cruise, but thankfully the sun shone when needed most and wet spells were quickly forgotten. There was only one casualty to name when ‘Blue Bat’ a Sadler 32 encountered a large tear in their sail on the first leg of the cruise, but repairs were quickly underway on arrival in to Cherbourg.

Carol Paddison, RYA Cruising Officer and event co-ordinator said: “Despite Blue Bat’s minor incident we were lucky enough not to encounter any major incidents or dramas on the cruise, just lots of fun. This event is a great opportunity for likeminded sailors to get together, enjoy some new sailing challenges and exchange tales of their adventures on arrival at each destination.”

Yachting Monthly’s photographer, Graham Snook,and girlfriend Kirsty Mearns sailed with the fleet aboard his Sadler 32, Pixie.

The Sail Cruise is open to sailors of varying age and ability, the annual Sail Cruise is a must for the cruisers diary. To find out more about the sail cruise visit: or call 0845 345 0370.

Visit our RYA Sail Cruise photo gallery