On Saturday 3rd August, a fleet of 6 boats, 5 from PYSC and a Wayfarer from Shirehampton SC, supported by 3 rescue boats, set off from Sugar Loaf Beach for a down-channel cruise. The weather was not blazing hot, so it was decided by OODs Steve Pascoe and Neil Ballard that we would see "how far down-tide we could go", rather than aiming for the sandbanks as in previous years.
The wind was initially very light from the East and progress for the first hour was very slow. However, then the wind veered and picked up from the south, enabling some exhilarating sailing which, combined with the increasing tide, meant that rapid progress was made and we were able to arrive on the stony and rainy North East coast of Flat Holm about two hours and a half after leaving Portishead.
After a quick packed lunch, most of the group set off to explore the island, whilst others stayed on the shore. Phone signals were stronger than in Portishead, so many messages were sent to tell the world where we had got to. All too soon, the tide had turned and it was time to return home. Optimism for a speedy journey was soon dashed as the wind quickly dropped again and progress was slow. By the time everyone limped back to Sugar Loaf in beautiful sunshine, there was virtually no breeze and the rescue boats had to tow most of the boats onto the slipway.
Everyone had a fantastic afternoon. For most of us, including this correspondent, it was the furthest that we had sailed and was a first visit to Flat Holm. Many thanks to the safety crews and the OODs for enabling the cruise to happen. For something different from the usual club races, I would encourage everyone to try one of the PYSC cruises.
(Photos to follow)
(Updated on 21/08/2019)