The inaugural ARC Channel Islands rally, organised by World Cruising Club in association with RYA Active Marina, concluded back in Gosport on Sunday 28th August, after a week-long cruise exploring Cherbourg, Alderney and Guernsey.

The aim of the rally was to encourage boat owners to sail beyond their normal cruising areas, and to gain confidence taking their boats to unfamiliar destinations or on longer passages. Sailing with the fleet was a lead boat with Hamble School of Yachting senior instructor Roger Seymour and a team from World Cruising Club aboard, offering guidance and help with planning the passages, and facilitating the shore-side programmes in each of the ports visited.

Thirty boats from across the UK, including Scotland, the West Country and East Coast came together for the rally, with crews made up of friends and families ranging in age from grandparents to young children.

An unseasonal low pressure system postponed the planned departure from Haslar Marina, Gosport, originally scheduled for Saturday 20th August but by the time the lines were slipped on Monday, conditions in the English Channel were much more favourable for the 70NM first leg to Cherbourg.

Fiona Franklin was sailing with her family on Hufflepuff described their day sail to St. Peter Port: "We woke up in Cherbourg to the most glorious weather - having moored up just before 10pm BST after a long sail from Gosport, we slept very well. We set off in light winds and prepared to motor much of the way. What we weren't prepared for was the fabulous sight of dolphins playing around the boats. Absolutely wonderful! We negotiated the Alderney Race at slack tide with no problems and negotiated the Little Russel. Stunning scenery and very enjoyable by day!"

Guy Malpas from the RYA joined the crews in Cherbourg for the sail home and said "I was lucky enough to be invited to sail back to Gosport on Midnight Wanderer. Stephen and his daughters were great fun to sail with and supplied the best night time provisioning I have ever experienced! The highlight of our passage was probably mid-Channel, monitoring the AIS to safely pass through the stream of commercial shipping."

Crews were keen to come together for a final farewell lunch, hosted at The Lightship, at Haslar Marina. "The fact we have so many get-togethers over the last few days has really helped with a community spirit amongst the ARC'ers and good to see the ranges of age and experience amongst the crews." said Mark from Magic-L "So the question you always ask - would we do this again? Absolutely!"


2017 event

Following the successful first edition ARC Channel Islands this August, we are delighted to announce that the rally will sail again in August 2017.

At the Southampton Boat Show, cruisers from the 2016 rally joined with prospective 2017 sailors to discuss their adventures and officially launch the 2017 event.

Haslar Marina in Gosport will host the start of ARC Channel Islands 2017 with a social programme as well as boat safety checks and a skippers briefing. Throughout the route there is the familiar mix of social sailing, get-togethers ashore and the reassurance that the lead boat is there to guide and assist. On board, the team including a senior instructor from Hamble School of Yachting are there to help, encourage and check plans, as much or as little as crews want.

Guy Malpas, RYA Yachting Development Manager, said: �The RYA Active Marina scheme aims to help boat owners gain more from their boats, and the ARC Channel Islands really delivers on this point. As the comments from the skippers demonstrate, this rally is an excellent opportunity for both novice and experienced sailors to hone their skills on a challenging but enjoyable passage. We are pleased to be supporting this rally, and hope it is encourages more people to get afloat and use their boats.�

Entries open in January and detailed route and dates will be available from January 2017 when registration opens for the next rally.

Due to space restrictions, ARC Channel Islands is limited to 30 boats and places will be allocated on a �first come, first served basis�.

Full details including pricing, rally benefits and links to the conditions of entry and safety equipment requirements are available in the ARC Channel Islands Information Pack. To request a copy, please visit www.worldcruising.com and select Tell Me More, or contact World Cruising Club on +44 (0) 1983 296060, or email mail@worldcruising.com.

Find out more about the RYA Active Marina Programme.