Fleet are safe and well in Cherbourg

Sunday 11th June

Day 2

Position – Cherbourg Marina

At 0630 the alarm clock went off aboard Calm Voyager. The first and slowest boat, ‘Formanda’ departed on the dot at 0730. Owners Don and Wendy travel at 8 knots and were expecting roughly an 8 hour crossing. With cruise leader Neale Byart and crew member Matt Lingley aboard, Calm Voyager slipped lines shortly afterwards and made her way out of Portsmouth to follow Formanda. The remaining two members of the MBM staff, Claire Frew and Ray Sargood were left behind aboard the RIB Time Flies; their job was to check out all boats as they departed. The idea was that they would be the last to leave and would try to head towards the front of the fleet to sort out the berthing at the other end.

When 0930 came, when the last batch of boats were due to depart, the Sealine F37 ‘Shade’ reported a problem with his trim tabs. Both trim tabs were locked in the down position and the owner had been unable to fix it while it was tied up. ‘Shade’ pulled of his mooring in hope of it clearing the problem while underway. Once out of the Portsmouth fairway, they opened the throttles but reported to Time Flies that the boat was falling over heavily onto one side and had decided to divert into Cowes to get the problem fixed. They would not make the cross channel passage today but will hopefully be able to join us tomorrow in St Vaast.

En-route and mid channel, the boats encountered lots of floating weed. With the hidden danger that the larger clumps might be concealing old drifting nets, boats tried their best to avoid them. Time Flies had reported the position of three nets they had spotted in the water. One of the boats even encountered a floating mattress and a large wooden palette. At one stage, the Storebro Royal ‘Cream Cracker’ reported a vibration from both props. Suspecting it might be a net he managed to clear it by going astern. There seemed to be no harm done and they continued onwards to Cherbourg.

Fun loving Guernsey man and MBM Cruise staffer, Richard Poat was there to guide in and greet the first boats into Cherbourg Marina. Our thanks to Richard, girlfriend Kristina and daughter for their efforts in helping Ray and Claire get the boats fuelled and berthed.

There were two other casualties today. On entering the Cherbourg, the Princess 430, ‘AquaVit’ discovered a major diesel leak in their engine room. Over 40 litres of diesel had to be pumped from its bilges into cans and disposed of. Luckily there is a local Volvo Penta engineer outfit here at the Marina, unfortunately as it’s a Sunday they were not open but have said they will be investigating tomorrow.
On entering Cherbourg, the Atlantic 40 ‘Harmonie’ had been unable to use his bowthruster. When investigated it was a result of a blown fuse. So far the owner has not been able to find a replacement.

Once everyone was fuelled and docked, a briefing was held at 1900hrs local regarding tomorrows passage to St Vaast (which is looking like another perfect run). After that all crews dispersed into town and to the Yacht Club in search of tonight’s supper, with some boat taking the opportunity to re-stock their wine cellars at the local prices.

Congratulations from the MBM Team to all those boats on completing their first ever Channel crossing today. We couldn’t have asked for better conditions for you all and hope you had a wonderful day out there.