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!"
Would you like to know more about ARC Channel Islands? Join World Cruising Club and RYA Active Marina for refreshments and the launch of ARC Channel Islands 2017 on Sunday 18 September, from 16:00-17:00 in the RYA Members' Lounge at the Southampton Boat Show.