A week in Normandy by Newbie Channel Virgins

Posted by Alistair Kingham on 5 June 2018

We sailed on the good ship C’est Si Bon under the stewardship of Skipper Allen Busby and his mate David Reed along with Gianfranco Trucchi and Aidan Murray. The Fairview charter boat surpassed our expectations having only previously been on a few rather tired Greek flotilla and training boats.

We joined a very tired crew in Ouistreham after an alternative crossing on the ferry and diversion through Caen, necessitated by a Champions League fixture. Despite the weather forecast we arrived to some glorious sunshine. Sunday was spent enjoying the old village followed by drinks on the ex-Commodore’s boat and French cuisine in a local hotel. We also had an unexpected treat in the morning, watching the racing yachts head out for the Normandy challenge.

Monday saw us motor sail to the small fishing port of Grandcamp Maisy – good weather again but not much wind. Gianfranco’s fluent French was most helpful in securing a berth and despite arriving quite late we manged to find a super seafood restaurant.

Tuesday morning we departed for St Vaast to meet up with the other Rally boats. It was a quiet journey again weatherwise. A very enjoyable evening was had by all in beautiful surroundings at the Hotel Les Fuchsias. Mike Veal gave an entertaining inaugural speech as the incoming Commodore.

Cherbourg was the next port of call – light winds again so motor on but we were accompanied by some dolphins. Then we were up at the crack of dawn for our first ‘proper’ channel crossing. Quite unbelievably there was very little wind so we motored back to the Isle of Wight. Visibility was poor so to quote Peter ‘Thank goodness for AIS’ – container ships and ferries nicely avoided.

After an evening in Yarmouth and a very foggy start we made our way back to Port Hamble for disembarkation.

We had a great week and were made very welcome by all you old sea dogs. Many thanks to Allen, Dave, Aidan and Gianfranco for their patience and excellent tutelage. Special thanks to David for victualling the boat – can’t get rid of that tin of mushroom soup though!

Matt & Catherine Brooks

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