Good Friday saw six veterans set sail on the Junior Off Shore Group Cowes to Cherbourg race, aboard sailing charity Turn to Starboard’s chartered racing yacht at Gosport for a start line crossing at 7am alongside nine other vessels…

A forecasted light, but manageable, 11 knots of breeze from the North East should have carried the crew to Cherbourg in a credible 12 hours, yet while the crew ‘did everything they could’ to get the boat moving, a lack of wind to power the sails saw the crew cross the finish line after 25 hours at sea.

As a bonus, the prolonged journey provided plenty of time for crew members to test the most efficient sail-sets and practice knots. After arriving at Cherbourg, a prize-giving ceremony took place in the evening with Turn to Starboard awarded 6th place out of seven yachts completing the race, with three yachts retiring early.

Former soldier John Shepard, 38, said: “I enjoyed the race as it gave me more time than ‘round the cans’ racing; it gave us all more time to do each drill. The challenge of a Channel crossing was also a big personal achievement for me personally. Sailing with like-minded people on the sea puts me back in a ‘known and friendly’ environment, away from the busy places on land where I struggle to manage.”

With even less breeze on Sunday, the return race leg was cancelled so the crew enjoyed a sun-filled motor sail back home to Gosport.

Turn to Starboard Race Officer, John Savage, added: “Racing with the Junior Offshore Group offers Turn to Starboard the opportunity to participate in some longer races, giving beneficiaries and those on their Yachtmaster programme the opportunity to get some good miles, passage race experience, and also the great company afforded by the JOG competitors, who were so friendly and engaging.”