Sailing round the Isle of Wight

Over half term 13 Sixth Form sailors travelled down to Cowes on the Isle of Wight to attempt the iconic challenge of sailing the 60 nautical miles around the Isle of Wight.

The Upper Sixth sailed over from the mainland on the beautiful, classic yacht 'Whisper' owned by the Ratnage family. We all met up at Cowes Harbour Shepards Marina and in the afternoon took out four J70 boats, which are seven metres long and can be sailed four or five up. We went out and did some practice and inevitably some racing in preparation for the big day on Thursday. That evening after a team BBQ we sat around and looked at all the charts and key navigational challenges for the following day.

Thursday dawned to much excitement and anticipation and the four boats supported by two ribs and ‘Whisper’ left the dock at 8.30 am for the first leg of the voyage up to the famous Needles Lighthouse. We made excellent progress going with the tide and once we regrouped at the lighthouse it was time to hoist spinnakers and take the fastest point of sail down the back of the island. We were blessed with great conditions with both the wind and tide constantly in our favour. One of the boats had to deal with a minor breakage on the last leg home but there was no stopping the sailor's determination to make it round - we were back on the dock at shortly after 5pm, tired but jubilant!

On Friday the Lower Sixth sailed back over on ‘Whisper’ with the Upper Sixth returning on the ferry to mark the end of a truly memorable adventure. A big thank you to all staff, parents and Old Sennockians who came to support the trip and make the adventure possible.

Andy Cornah, Head of Sailing

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