Bob, Boats & bad weather
Boatshed enjoyed excellent publicity across local, national and international media at the weekend.
Supertaff, Boatshed's 42 foot Rebel ketch, left Portsmouth on Friday evening at 2130 heading for Cherbourg.
The forecast was SW 4 - 5 with Neil and Mandy Chapman Luke Windle, Josh Flavell and Hannah Bayman from the BBC.
We had reports of many boats returning to the English coast due to the poor conditions but we reviewed the situation carefully and decided to continue. We were confident in the boat, our equipment and our abilities. In terms of experience we have 10 Atlantic crossings and approx 40 Biscay crossings between us.
16 hours later we arrived in Cherbourg and despite a lack of French supporters we enjoyed an excellent lunch on the harbour.
Pascal the marina manager was very enthusiastic and very helpful upon our arrival in Cherbourg.
More journalists arrived all desperate to interview us and to try to get a ride back with us.
We went in search of French people and found banners on the Cherbourg Town Hall , we decided to get all the journalists together for a photo call.
Here's the media count: BBC x3 , Daily Telegraph x 2 , Times x 1, Plus a host of translators, Sail 8 and marine representatives.
The overnight crossing back to Portsmouth saw us almost outnumbered by journalists, some great sailing and relatively calm conditions, but it still had some of the media hacks reaching for their sea sickness pills.
1400 saw us anchored off Spit Bank Fort in the entrance to Portsmouth harbour waiting for clearance from the Coastguard.
1430 I get a call on the phone " Hey Neil It's Bob, you guys have done a brilliant job!" (Bob who? I think to myself! Then it clicks !!!) We then spend a few minutes discussing who is the most tired and how the sailing went, weather and sea conditions.
Despite my initial skepticism I found his enthusiasm and interest in the sailing very refreshing.
We are then escorted into Portsmouth harbour by the Coastguard Cutter and Queens Harbour master launches, Press boats fly past full of cameramen, Helicopters hover overhead, Support boats cheer us in, now I know what it feels like when you return from the Vendee Globe! Thanks to all for a fantastic Portsmouth welcome !
Interview after Interview follows photographer after photographer, all of them trying to get us to "feel disappointed about the poor turnout of boats" ! Nothing could be further from the truth !
No French and only 5 boats ! But 1 fantastic weekend, loads of publicity, great sailing and great to do our bit, plus a call from Bob Geldof and invites to join him as his guests at Murrayfield later in the week, not bad I say !!
From left to right Luke Windle Skipper, John (Telegraph Photographer), Ben (Radio 4) Alex (Sail 8 organiser), David (Telegraph transport correspondant), Nicola Woolcock (The Times), Mandy Chapman (Boatshed), Josh Flavell (Boatshed Media Relations), Hannah Bayman (BBC), Neil Chapman (boatshed taking the pic!) Alex & Ben were not crew