Day 15 – Normandy

The fleet reach UK waters and break away for home ahead of weather


Homeward Bound

Port Solent Marina
2220 hrs BST Saturday 30th June

Will the sea and conditions be settled enough to get back to the UK today?

The alarm aboard Calm Voyager went off at 0600 hrs local (that’s 0500 hrs BST!), and after a spot of breakfast Time Flies departed Fecamp harbour, with Neale and Richard aboard. The harbour certainly felt much more settled than it had been in days. There was a slight breeze and the tiniest of swells buffeted the boats gently. After traveling 6 miles out, Neale radioed the fleet reporting that the conditions were not as settled as he would have liked, and that they would look again at 1100 hrs. This to allowed boat crews to quickly escape into town pick up a few last minute essentials.

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At the 1105 Claire radioed the fleet announcing that the RIB had been out again, that Neale and Richard were much happier with the sea conditions and told the fleet to get ready to depart asap. Lines were singled up, shorepower cables were taken aboard and boats began to exit the harbour. With the wind behind and in slight chop, the fleet snaked its way out of Fecamp and across the channel. Halfway across the shipping lanes the lead boat, the MBM support RIB ‘Time Flies’ ran into in very fine rain mist, causing the visibility to decrease considerably down to approximately 2 miles. A very eerie and scary experience in a busy shipping channel, knowing a ship traveling south at 16-22 knots could appear out of the mist at any time.

The sea conditions were bearable and the mist had lifted slightly, so once clear of the shipping lanes boats reported in as they broke away from track for home. Just 3-4 miles off the dark shape of Brighton Marina’s sea wall loomed out of the mist. Time Flies continued into the marina, leading the four remaining boats into fuel and moor. The two East coast boats ‘Jomina’ and ‘Joli D’ plus Solent based Sophie intend to depart next weekend and ‘Splash’ the Fairline Targa 29 will be lifted and trucked home to Swansea.

At a steady 13 knots, Calm Voyager pushed on towards the Solent, playing mother duck to Bayliner 275 ‘Allora’. Calm Voyager flattened the sea ahead and the Bayliner sat contently in the wake of control boat as far as Chichester. Behind ‘Allora’ sat followed Time Flies. By 2220 hrs all boats had reported that they were safely in harbour and the MBM team had made it back at Port Solent, signing off for the day.

And so another MBM cruise has come to an end. There have been many highs, but equally many lows in the weather sense. Despite the bad weather, remarkably in two weeks the fleet still managed to explore the beautiful and historical Normandy coastline. First channel crossings, and many new friends have been made along the way too. Like the participants, cleaning is on tomorrow’s agenda for the the MBM team, plus some weather checks for the remaining Brighton boats.

Photo captions:
Bayliner 275 ‘Allora’ departing Fecamp
Broom 39kl 2 2 ‘Jomina’ heading across the channel
Richard aboard Zeppelin RIB ‘Time Flies’ approaching Selsey


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