On the initiative of the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) delegate for international affairs, Wolfgang Weber, a crew from the NRV accepted the invitation to this year’s Platinum Jubilee Summer Cruise of the Royal Southern Yacht Club (RSrnYC), in Hamble-le-Rice in Hampshire, England.
Leading up to the event, all participants were able to exchange information via a WhatsApp group to coordinate planning. This communication was especially helpful, if only because of the customs formalities for entry and exit imposed by Brexit.
The cruise of the RSrnYC, whose patron until his death was Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, was planned down to the last detail and was to be a special experience for the Members of RSYC after two years of privation. And so, 11 yachts with 30 participants, among them NRV Members Ingeborg Ahrenkiel with skipper Oliver Fuhljahn in the charter yacht “Mon Dilemme” – an Oceanis 37 – covered approximately 300 nm in midsummer weather.
The organizers, Michael Lithgow (Cruise Officer) and Dudley Stock (Race Officer), attached great importance to ambitious planning, including a regatta of the participating yachts and their crews. The basis for the planning were the naval publications “North Brittany and Channel Islands Cruising Companion” by Peter and Jane Cumberlidge as well as “The Shell Channel Pilot South Coast of England, North Coast of France, Channel Islands” by Tom Cunliffe.
The two-week cruise was kicked off for all participants with a Welcome BBQ at the exquisite RSrnYC. There, Ingeborg Ahrenkiel passed on greetings from Wolfgang Weber to Maggie Widdop, Rear Commodore Sailing of the RSrnYC, who had met Wolfgang in 2013 when the NRV had planned and executed a successful cruise for the ICOYC through the Southern Danish Isles – also referred to as “The Danish South Seas.”
From left to right: Ingeborg Ahrenkiel and Maggie Widdop
From Hamble Harbor, the fleet sailed with the tide across the Western Solent to Yarmouth to the Isle of Wight. There, at the briefing for the following race day, drinks, sausages, and chips were served at the jetty, and mutual invitations onto yachts enriched the camaraderie throughout the cruise.
The next day the group sailed 65 nm from Yarmouth, over the starting line west of the Needles in partly weak winds across the English Channel, to destination Braye Harbour on Alderney.
After a relaxing day ashore, the fleet sailed at 13 knots over ground through the so-called “Swinge” – a spectacular passage west of Alderney with a roller coaster-like current – to St. Peter Port on Guernsey, the second largest British Channel Island.
St. Peter Port – Harbor Entrance
A visit to Herm Island, opposite the harbor entrance of St. Peter Port, as well as another day ashore, provided ample time to explore the varied islands with their rugged beaches and ancient buildings on bicycles or on foot.
Corey Castle, Jersey
The next stop was St. Helier on Jersey.
The second regatta started punctually at 9:00am east of the harbor entrance of St. Peter Port at Castle Cornet. The grand finale of the day was the invitation from former Commodore Colin Hall to his yacht. There, in a relaxed atmosphere, the NRV burgee was handed over to the two organizers.
The Cruise Officer presented the Hamburg crew with a recognition trophy for the longest journey to Hamble. British humor writ large!
On this evening Michael Lithgow provided an unforgettable dinner in an exquisite setting – just as during the two weeks none of the sailors had to suffer from hunger or thirst.
After two days of shore leave, the group was due to set off towards the island Sark. But because of the strong swell in the anchor bays, the plan was changed and instead Guernsey was called again, which was a perfect destination for those who like to take photos and go shopping.
The following day, the fleet sailed back to Yarmouth, passing east of the island of Alderney through the so-called “race” between the French mainland and the island, which can only be navigated with the tidal flow due to the strong current. After a good 85 nautical miles, the sailors returned once again to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight and from there back to the port of Hamble.
Maggie Widdop arranged a closing dinner at the RSrnYC. At this event, Ingeborg Ahrenkiel thanked the organizers and participating sailors of the cruise for the invitation to this great event, as well as for the inclusion of the German crew.
This cruise will certainly remain an unforgettable experience for all participants, not least of all because of the perfectly-planned organization, but even moreso, for the people who participated and made the trip unforgettable. Longlasting friendships developed over the course of the cruise.
NRV was well-represented with honor in every respect.
The 2018 NRV Anniversary Book was presented during an exclusive tour of the Rolls Royce Motor Car Manufactory at Goodwood, made possible by Oliver Fuhljahn as a thank you to organizers Michael Lithgow and Dudley Stock.
This illustrated book “150 Years NRV” is on display in the venerable library of the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble-le-Rice.
The Royal Southern Yacht Club looks forward to welcoming more Norddeutscher Regatta Verein Members.
Photos: Oliver Fuhljahn, Diane Word