Page 71 - Cormorant 2019
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    The following day was a day of proper sailing. With a North-North-Easterly wind sailed across the beaches of Operation Overlord, all the way from Point-Du-Hoc to Ouistreham. The sheer scale and complexity of that operation was truly impressive! This coincided with the other students’ visit to the beaches, leading to an excited exchange of photos of white blobs that may or may not have been our fleet. With a ‘good angle’ of the boats we dashed our way through a sea state 3 and some crews even saw dolphins! Ouistreham was our final destination, but before
we handed over the boats to the next crews, we got a foretaste of Cormorant Finale by sailing along the Canal de Caen à la Mer to the famous Pegasus Bridge and back.
The crews handed over in Ouistreham on Tuesday evening and the outbound sailors headed for their turn on Cormorant Finale. On embarking, Teal’s crew were distressed to discover “value” cheese and ham from a supermarket that they had never heard of. All agreed that, given the fridge had been working only intermittently, it was best to be on the safe side and
dispose of these, replacing them with an impressive 8 piece French cheeseboard, a variety selection of saucisson and most of Ouistreham’s stock of olives. Similar scenes occurred across the rest of the fleet as most of the boats settled down for dinner in the cockpits.
Wednesday brought more sunshine and light winds. The crews all conducted man overboard and reefing drills as they motor sailed towards Honfleur, and taught the basics of sailing to the novice crews ready for the brisker breeze forecast on Thursday. Honfleur was a delight, with all the crews eating ashore and sampling moules frites, oysters and steak.
Thanks to the low spring tides, Thursday started at 0430. Teal caused mild envy across the rest of the boats as their chef produced sausage sandwiches as the crews headed out through the lock. The fleet headed out of the Seine on the ebb tide and turned towards Gosport. The threatened rain held off and the wind settled into a steady 15-20kt on the beam, ideal conditions for a fast passage home. Sadly,
Teal’s chef’s ambitions to cook tartiflette for lunch went overboard along with his breakfast, leaving the others to forage for brie and baguettes to ward off starvation. Most of the boats put their reefing drills into action and settled into a brisk but comfortable 6.5kt passage.
Osprey’s role as shepherd was made even harder by the shipping lanes, which scattered the fleet across a couple of miles, but all the boats regrouped off the Isle of Wight to enter Gosport together. Teal’s chef redeemed himself by turning the oven on as soon
as the boats got alongside and producing a truly magnificent tartiflette to round off the voyage.
In all, it was a superb few days, and our huge thanks go to Matt Ryder and Charlie Wheen and their
team for organising the trip, JSASTC for providing the yachts, and Kevin Williams for taking on the unenviable task of flotilla lead and keeping us all in order for the week.
  Honfleur was
a delight, with all the crews
eating ashore and sampling moules frites, oysters and steak.... ◆◆◆

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