XYOA Channel Rally 2016

Published by xyoaadmin on

Cherbourg and Channel Isles Rally a huge success.  On June 14th 4 intrepid X-Yachts owners met in Cherbourg for the inaugural cross channel rally. After an excellent meal at the Café de Paris that evening, the next morning saw the fleet move on to St. Peter Port on Guernsey finishing on Friday 17th in Jersey with a BBQ at one of our members.

At 19.00 BST on Tuesday the 14th June 2016 four X-Yacht crews met at the Café de Paris in Cherbourg to open the first XYOA Channel Islands Rally. The conversation and wine flowed freely. The food was superb typically - Assiette de Fruit de Mer, steak, cheese and desert all First class. Ten happy diners.

La Nef IV (X332) skippered by the organisations Hon Treasurer, John Noe and ably crewed by veteran yachtsman Len Webb had made the channel crossing on the Saturday, light to zero winds had required extensive use of La Nef IV’s engine. This was in contrast to Minx (X40), Xtra Time (Xc45) and Alison Mary (X442) who all enjoyed excellent winds and a fast crossing.

6am BST on Monday the 13th saw Minx, crewed by Charles and Louise Blampied, slip her lines at Yarmouth and make her way down a blustery Needles Channel. 30 minutes later XtraTime, skipped by Bill Lowe and crewed by Roger and Glennis Simmons left her berth in Lymington and joined Minx. After a beat down the channel in winds often in excess of 20 knots both boats settled to a close fetch with a 15 knot plus wind from the SW. With the two boats in close proximity it was difficult to kerb the natural competitive instincts. Xtra Time slowly overhauled Minx, but close to Cherbourg Minx playing the now lighter wind and flood tide expertly, left XtraTime standing and entered Cherbourg harbour well head. We were moored alongside, with tea in hand by 16.00 BST. 73.3 Nm at an average of 7.7knots

John and Len helped with the berthing having watched the fun on the AIS. A lavish dinner was provided by on board La Nef IV, expertly prepared and served by John and Len. Starters, Sea Food Soup, Thai Curry, Salad, Cheese and then fruit salad all washed down with vast quantities of excellent French wine. What a spread and what a night, a very high standard had been set for the remainder of the rally!

Alison Mary with skipper Simon Anderson and crew Martyn Morris,  sailed from Gosport at 05.00 BST Tuesday morning. With winds SW 22-25 knots gusting to 29, Alison Mary was reefed down. By 17.30 BST she was berthed in Cherbourg with skipper and crew sipping large G&T’s. A quick change of clothes and a short walk bought them to join the party at the Café De Paris.

Early on Wednesday the four boats left for St Peter Port in a SW 20 knot wind, a close fetch to the Cape then hard on the wind and beating through the Race in a choppy wind over tide seaway.

Lunch time saw Xtra Time, Minx and La Nef IV enjoying St Peter Port harbour after an exhilarating 45 Nm morning sail. Alison Mary opted for some additional sailing time exploring the waters between Helm and Sark.

We were met at the quay side by Guernsey resident and X34 owner Richard Holmes. Richard guided the group through the old town to his house for a champagne reception and magnificent views over the town to across the harbour and Little Russell to Herm. With Bill’s wife Ann joining XtraTime it was 12 for another excellent dinner at Da Nello’s Restaurant.

The next day, Simon and Martin, on board Alison Mary, left for Alderney taking the late morning ebb through the Swinge and into Braye. The remaining crews took the short boat ride to Herm and spent a few hours enjoying the scenery and hospitality of this most beautiful island. That evening Bill and Ann’s wedding anniversary was celebrated on-board XtraTime.  

The adjacent photograph shows Minx, La Nef IV, Alison Mary and Xtra Time in St Peter Port harbour

Guernsey resident Peter Atkinson joined the Rally with his new XC34 Alexa in time for the late morning departure to Jersey. With a gentle 12 knot breeze from the NW a relaxing 28 Nm sail was in prospect. Minx, La Nef IV and XtraTime launched their coloured sails, Peter single handing on Alexa opted for white sails. Minx and La Nef IV dropped close to Jersey as the wind began gusting, unfortunately XtraTime’s snuffer snagged on the drop, the gennaker was recovered but ripped to shreds.

St Helier harbour was a little full but still plenty of space for the three X-Yachts. Minx returned to her permanent berth in St Helier.


Charles and Louise invited the group to join them at their home in St. Clements for a bbq to celebrate the end of a very successful first XYOA Channel Islands Rally. The excellent food, beer & wine, and surroundings provided a great finish to a superb week.  The photograph RHS shows the rally group enjoying pre bar-be-que drinks at Chateau Blampied St Clements Bay.





Alison Mary had a fast close reach back to Gosport on the Friday regretting their early departure, and looking forward to the next time.  The photograph LHS shows Martin on-board Alison Mary enjoying the close reach.

 John and Len on board La Nef IV returned to the Hamble via Alderney in light winds again finding the engine most useful.  XtraTime stayed in Jersey for a few days enduring some inclement weather before returning to St Peter port. With good weather on offer we had more time to explore and enjoy both Herm and Guernsey. We enjoyed a fast sail back to Lymington completing the 92 Nm in 12 hours berth to berth, despite a strong ebb tide in the Needles channel.  

Thanks are due to John Noe for organising our first highly successful cross channel rally.

‘I just want to say a big thank you to you and your crews for making this first cross channel event such a fantastic success.  Everyone put in an amazing effort to the benefit of all, in particular Richard who did not have the time to sail with us, with his champagne reception chez lui and Da Nellos restaurant. Bill and Ann with their wedding anniversary celebration aboard Xtra Time and Charles and Louise’s BBQ at St. Clair. It was a great shame that Simon and Martin had to return the day after we arrived in St. Peter Port, but great the Peter could join us in his new Xc-35 for the trip to St. Helier.  I guess I should also say that Len and I really enjoyed entertaining the crews of Minx and Xtra Time to dinner on board La Nef IV to celebrate their arrival together, which we are assured was not a race!’ Quote from John Noe.

‘Why did we not go on to Jersey with the others?  Definitely should have gone to Jersey.  Next time!!’ - Quote from Simon Anderson 

‘Thank you for organising the rally. Very pleased to hear that you are back in time to vote!!  Thank you also for a very pleasant and social time in Jersey – and thanks to Charles and Louise for their hospitality in such a delightful garden. I hope to join the rally to the RYS so may see you again then!‘ - Quote from Peter Atkinson

‘For me, the best sail was from Guernsey to Jersey with the kite up trying to keep up with La Nef IV!. As Louise has already said to Bill, the rally (thank you Bill for suggesting it) was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with like-minded people and to make new friends.  So thank you very much for all your hard work in organising it.’ – Quote from Charles Blampied  

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