By William Mills
Each year Sussex Yacht Club celebrates the May Bank holiday with a cross channel yacht race to France to commemorate Charles II’s great escape after his disastrous defeat at the Battle of Worcester on 3rd September 1651.
Charles II was reputed to have hidden from his Parliamentarian pursuers and finally slipped aboard a ship in the small Sussex fishing port of Shoreham by Sea.
Working their way slowly out to sea so as not to arouse suspicions from any watching coastguards, the intrepid voyagers headed for France landing in Fecamp the following morning. What an adventure!
This year some 85 yachts and their crews assembled at Shoreham Harbour including fifteen French yachts which had sailed over to join the race to Fecamp.
Below are a selection of photos which we hope might be of interest. The most exciting is of Ian’s escapade.
As part of the team, he had to be on committee boat Watchful for the start. He then transferred to our safety boat RIB, and we rushed after Yacht Truant where Ian was join the crew.
It was no mean feat of our skipper first spotting Truant among all the other yachts,and then coming alongside. Ian made a lightning jump and all was well!
The competitors had started to arrive in Shoreham Harbour from Wednesday 25th onwards and the organising team had their work cut out seeing all the yachts safely berthed and crews helped find what they needed.
By Thursday the moorings were sporting a colourful array of bunting. Sussex Yacht Club provided water taxis, and bacon sandwiches galore, as well as entertainment at their main riverside clubhouse in the town centre.
Both club steward Jon Edon and secretary Tim Leigh confessed to not having slept a wink on Thursday night.
After the festivities they had to rush back to the marina and start to prepare hot breakfasts for the early starters.
We were lucky enough to capture the pink pre dawn sky at 4.46 am. Helping the French trimaran through the lock was all part of the course as was the dredger wanting to join us.
After a short delay the starts were promptly got underway with a brief beat to windward to a BMYC mark off Brighton Marina before turning out to sea and enjoying the fair wind to France.