A group of Sussex yachters have completed their first ever Channel crossing thanks to the support of a national programme aimed at helping people get more out of life with their boat.

No fewer than 12 boats from Premier's Brighton and Sovereign Harbour marinas enjoyed a three-day cruise from Brighton to Dieppe, Normandy enabling berth holders to get valuable experience of crossing the Channel and benefit from sharing knowledge and tips on some of the challenges and freedoms of yacht cruising through the RYA Active Marina programme.

As well as giving the skippers and crews the chance to do their debut Channel crossing in the supportive and safe context of sailing as a group, the cruise, led by RYA Senior Instructor Guy Emery, also allowed everyone to get to know the people they share the marina with.

Before setting off participants were updated on weather conditions, passage and pilotage plans and collision regulations at a skippers briefing at Sovereign Harbour Yacht Club before departing for Dieppe in convoy. Mother Nature was kind on the first-timers as weather conditions were calm en route before the group basked in sunny weather in Dieppe.  

Boat ownership is all about freedom and having fun. The Active Marina Programme, run by sailing's national governing body, the RYA, encourages and supports increased berth holder activity by partnering with marinas, RYA Training Centres, berth holder groups and yacht clubs to establish or enhance a programme of training, cruising and social opportunities.

Peter Pring, Eastbourne Marina Manager, said:  "I am delighted that we have the influence of the RYA Active Marina programme at Sovereign Harbour. 

"These activities encourage all types of boating, and provide opportunities for social boating, as well as encouraging the development of beginners and supports the less confident to take part in rallies and similar events. The programme really does promote an active harbour and more regular boating."

"Guy Emery added: "This was a great opportunity for a number of crews to cross the English Channel for the first time."

Premier Marinas Limited owns and operates eight of the UK's most prestigious marinas all located on the South Coast, from Eastbourne to Falmouth. All of Premier's marinas are involved in the RYA Active Marina programme. 

In total there are six RYA Active Marinas across Kent and Sussex. To find out more and how you can get involved visit www.rya.org.uk/programmes/activemarina