La Weymouth 2019

Les Rapetous getting into their stride off ChebourgArcsine arrives at the finish line at D markThe team of French explorers at the Bill

You could tell the weekend was going well from the singing coming from the cockpit of 'Les Rapetous' from Granville; sailing hard seems to come as naturally as partying hard to the French, though WSC was ably represented, in the former if not the latter, by Kathy Claydon and her crew on 'Arcsine'– Mike, Charlotte, Pat, Kirsty and Andy. Well done to them, and to the crew of 'Effusion', who decided not to risk their rig in those conditions, but still got in on Sunday morning after the wind had dropped a bit.

After a difficult crossing on Saturday in 25-30 knots of SW, crews were glad to dry out, have a meal and sleep – or visit the 'dark side', a favourite among the younger crew members. The crossing was a test of boats and crews; the sea, already quite rough, was particularly problematic when the tide turned against the wind in the afternoon. The leg was won by Eric Yonn and his crew in 'Deliss', a Mistral 7.50, by far the smallest boat in the fleet – even though they lost their electronics to 'water ingress' during the crossing!

The morning after presented its challenges too, and we were lucky that Dan Stuttle was around to find a replacement for the waterlock that had melted on 'Maupiti' - and that the Harbour Stores had some authentic Cheddar for RO Eric le Roi to take back with him!

The barbecue was admirably helmed by our very own Commodore, with Josie on mainsheet, and Amanda and her team providing us with an excellent array of salads to accompany it, as well as a choice of desserts. Penny and crew managed the language challenge at the bar with customary ease. Afterwards everyone was most complimentary and extend their thanks for the warm reception given them at WSC, which continues to build on the links between Cherbourg, Granville and Weymouth.

On Sunday afternoon we went to Portland; Pierrick and Gregoire wanted to cycle, so I lent them a couple of bikes, and they managed to get to the top of the island if not to the end, which was already pretty impressive. The rest of us took the bus, and then walked along the cliff from Southwell to view the Bill, and we were very fortunate to be able to return on an open-topped bus directly from there. Glorious sunshine made the views in all directions particularly impressive, and our visitors returned to Weymouth glad to have had the opportunity to explore the area a little.

The singing was boisterous that evening, though everyone was glad to get some sleep before the trip back; the start in the bay in 10 knots of northerly breeze was hotly contested, as was the windward mark, before the long run out into the Channel. Having crossed in the committee boat on Saturday, I had the pleasure of accepting the invitation to sail aboard 'Charlotte 111', a SunFast 3600 from Granville. The fleet separated on the first gybes, and we joined the west option to avoid having to sail into the ebb current; around midday as the tide turned, people began to gybe to make the easting necessary to head for Cherbourg, though when the wind dropped, it became clear that this was going to be difficult, and finally no-one made the finish, though 'Issartel' the J88 and 'Toxic' the Figaro 2, both from Cherbourg, managed to survive the lull and sail in under kite as the wind freshened again from the NW.

That was La Weymouth 2019 – memorable for all sorts of reasons, but for the crews who came over, the warm welcome given them by our club will be among the most enduring. A big thank you from all of us at Cherbourg, and 'a la prochaine'!

Steve Fraser

Submitted on 12th June 2019