Submitted by steve

Having entered Thierry's Sigma 33 'Oirrior' for this year's Round the Island seemed an increasingly ambitious idea as the week of strong easterlies progressed, and we spent most of Friday debating whether to go or not, but finally decided at 1700, over coffee at the Yacht Club, to leave - even though the forecast still gave E 25 knots for the night to come, though the wind was supposed to ease later - how many times have I heard that one! Outside the breakwater 20 knots and a big sea suggested this was not going to be easy, and the evening merely proved the point as the wind rose to 26 knots and stayed there for most of the crossing.

Submitted by sin269

Looks bad, but it's ok provided the bow line is kept tight and the fenders stay in place. We've now at Sjotorp having negotiated 55 locks, and there are just 3 down locks (they're much easier) before Lake Vanern, the largest lake in the EU, and the end of the canal. The canal meanders through rural landscapes and crosses placid lakes fished by ospreys, a very relaxing journey (except the locks). Yellow shirted students operate the locks and are generally helpful with excellent English.

Submitted by steve

Sailing in company is a good way of taking the stress out of a Channel crossing, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. There is nothing to beat the feeling of the open sea as you get clear of the land, except perhaps the sense of achievement of having made a good landfall with the tide in your favour, as you drift up the coast in the sunshine towards your destination.

If you’re thinking of joining the Solstice rally this year, I’d be grateful if you could let me know as soon as you can, so that I have an idea of numbers for the winetasting, etc.

Steve Fraser
Aliya

Basse Portsall

On Sunday 9th June, Rima and I enjoyed the company of Cherbourg Yacht Club crews during a delightful BBQ on the terrace organised by Amanda and superbly cooked by our Commodore Steve and his wife Josie.

Submitted by steve

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.

Submitted by steve

On passageweather.com Thursday looked an ideal day to cross back to France, though the shipping forecast was giving fog patches; I was sailing as soon as I was clear of the Stone Pier, though beyond the Shambles it was obvious there was humidity still being carried up-Channel after Wednesday's rain, and I soon had about 400m visibility, which lasted till after the shipping. AIS should mean there are no surprises, but it was still a shock to see a huge container ship suddenly loom out of the fog to starboard, heading SE to Le Havre.

Submitted by steve

The record Transmanche time for a Cherbourg boat is 6 hours 45 minutes, achieved by 'Metis', a Cherbourg Grand Surprise without a spinnaker in 2011, in a NW force 7, sailed by my friends Wilfried and Fred with a couple of mates. It was also the year we broke the boom on the way over at night in 'Protocole', a Beneteau 40!

The event is growing in popularity among French sailors from Le Havre to Granville, not least for the welcome they receive at WSC, and we look forward to a good crowd both in Cherbourg and Weymouth this year.

Submitted by steve

Waking in a chilly dawn on board with the promise of N 5-6 to blow me on my way was not a hugely motivating start to the season, though the prospect of ending the day abroad for a change got me up and going, leaving the bay for the first time this year as the sun rose south of St Alban's, and the wind gradually filled in, from the NW then the true wind from the north, giving a pleasant if chilly broad reach down to the traffic in mid-Channel.

Steve Fraser / Aliya
Mike Street / Moonshadow 2

Submitted by steve

Just a reminder that the next stop on the world tour of my presentation about Cherbourg breakwater will be at WSC on Friday 8th March at 7.30pm. After that you'll have to travel to Cherbourg to catch it in the French version later this year. If you're already planning to join the Cherbourg rally in June, of course, this is a chance to 'get some knowledge in' before you go!