For many of us, our first serious foray offshore will be across the English Channel. It’s not rocket science but to the novice, it can be intimidating and it was with this in mind that the RYA set up its annual motor and sail cruises.
The basic premise is to provide novice skippers with the advice and support to head offshore with confidence. In addition it gives more experienced cruisers a more sociable option.
The Sail Cruise, which is run with the help of Hamble School of Yachting is all booked up this year unfortunately but there are still spaces on the RYA Motor Cruise.
Run in association with TH Marine, Sea Start and Boatshed, the cruise takes place from June 24 to 31. RYA Motor Cruising Projects Manager Andrew Norton organises the event. “The basic premise is that it’s often nicer to cruise in company than on your own, particularly if you’re not that sure of yourself. We generally head across to the Channel Islands and then on to France.
“You don’t have to be a novice to take part: some people just enjoy company. It’s a very sociable way to cruise, with a range of dinners and receptions at our various ports of call. We also have invaluable tips and pointers from our RYA instructors and excellent mechanical back up from Sea Star to resolve any engine niggles.
“You don’t need a big boat, anything over 25 feet with a cruising speed of 15 knots is fine, while smaller boats will be assessed on an individual basis.”
Before you leave the marina, there are certain things you need to remember when crossing the Channel.
Rob Gaffney, principal of Hamble School of Yachting, has a has a few top tips:
“The first step is to prepare your boat for the trip. There’s nothing worse than getting 20 miles offshore and then discovering you’ve forgotten something fundamental like your passport.
“These are the basics,” Rob added: “And don’t forget the most important thing: food and drink.
“It always pays to have a surplus in case you get stuck at sea for longer than expected, and don’t forget to pack some celebratory refreshments for when you get to France.”
If you’re interested in hearing more tips from Rob, contact Hamble School of Yachting on 02380452668. If you’re keen to pick up a few more tips from the Motor Cruise team, you can sign up by e mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org including your name, address and membership number if applicable. Alternatively, you can call the RYA direct on 02380604100 to book your place.