The fleet of 26 made it safely across the channel and are looking forward to heading inland tomorrow

Sunday 6th August

Day 2

Position – Nieuwpoort, Belgium

51°08′. 598 N 002°44′. 324 E

Channel Crossing

All was well with the weather gods this morning as the fleet set out from Ramsgate. The same couldn’t be said unfortunately for the little demons that hide in all engines, which delayed one of our starters.Sorcerer of Dart’sthrottle cable broke, meaning Neale and Katie – cruise leader Kim’s niece – had to stay behind onCalm Voyagerto diagnose the problem. AndGoldiereported crew problems early on and also made a delayed exit from the harbour. The rest of the flotilla headed out and kept west of the Goodwin Sands before making a turn into the Traffic Separation Scheme in the Channel. Claire and Stewart were deposited mid channel in the RIBTime Flies, and sped towards the French coast.

Off Dunkirk, the crew of the Beneteau AntaresAmelie of Londonwere feeling charitable when they stopped to help a local fisherman in distress by towing him into the busy port. A bottle of champagne was offered in thanks, but Mike,Amelie’sskipper, inexplicably turned it down, blaming the logistics of getting it on board (he has been reprimanded). Another hiccup to upset an otherwise textbook crossing was the snagging of a rope round the starboard screw ofSilver Sea, and a rogue piece of debris that struckKalives, leaving the boat vibrating at low revs. An attempt will be made tomorrow to assess the damage.

Around lunchtime the fleet began arriving in Nieuwport. A few are celebrating tonight after making their first channel crossing, and as MBM’s cruise team work feverishly (ish) into the night preparing tomorrow’s leg, many of the crews are taking advantage of this country’s pedigree with hops and barley. An early start is needed tomorrow to find a brief weather window before the rain sets in. The route follows the coast north and expectations are that the faster boats will hit the next destination of Kortgene, Holland, in the early afternoon.

Stewart Campbell, News Editor.