Sail to France week

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15 May 2017 - 19 May 2017 £525.00
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14 Aug 2017 - 18 Aug 2017 £575.00
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Sail to France week

Venue: Cowes

Price from: £525 per person

Duration: 5 Days

Girls For Sail Verdict

Join us on this fantastic, leisurely five day sail to France - perfect for getting away from it all, adding some miles to your logbook or gaining a skippered passage!

Starts: 10am, Shepards Wharf Marina, Cowes

Finishes: 4pm, Cowes


About The Event

How does a laid back week of sailing to the north coast of France sound? This week is perfect for anyone regardless of your level of experience and is the perfect antidote to the stresses of daily life! Whether you're an absolute beginner to sailing; hoping to complete your first channel crossing - or a more experienced sailor wishing to add miles and a skippered passage to your logbook - this five day sail to France and back ticks the all boxes! Add some delicious French food and wine to the mix and what more could you possibly ask for?!

We'll start the week by deciding exactly what you'd like to get out of your week with us and what you'd like to cover during the next five days. The weather and tides will influence our choice of French destination  - we may head to the busy port of Cherbourg, or perhaps the charming Normandy town of Dieppe with its 15th century castle. Either way, the experience of arriving into a foreign port by sea for the first time is truly exciting!

The crossing to Cherbourg from Cowes will take between 12-14 hours so you'll be taking it in turns to keep a look out and steer the boat - staying focused and awake for the whole passage is pretty much impossible so your skipper will split you into teams (or watches) for the crossing. You'll find the crossing of the Traffic Separation Scheme particularly exciting with sometimes literally hundreds of container and cargo vessels to keep a look out for and avoid! You and your crew will work out the best time for your departure to make the best use of the favourable tides through the Needles and approaching the coast of France, where the current can often run up to 5 knots on a strong spring tide - get it wrong and you may be faced with a much longer passage or even have to choose a different destination altogether!

You'll have time to relax when you finally arrive - catch up on some sleep, enjoy some shopping or head to one of the bars or cafes for some buttery croissant or even a well-deserved glass of wine or two as you watch the world go by! We operate a dry boat whilst at sea - but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a chilled bottle of Chablis upon arrival...even more delicious when you know you've sailed 60+ miles to get there rather than just jumping on an airplane!

On the return trip perhaps head to Poole for some fish and chips whilst tied up on the dock followed by a slow sail back to the Solent - or enjoy a wonderful sail to Lymington and visit some of the great local pubs... or even sail on down to beautiful Beaulieu where you'll be so taken with the peace and tranquillity of the harbour you won't want to leave. 

Your skipper is RYA qualified and you can take advantage of her knowledge, either learning the basics of sailing, wind awareness, parts of the boat and of course how to sail it or concentrating on any particular areas you wish to practice. If you're working towards your Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster Offshore then the crossing to France also qualifies as a skippered passage for your logbook! And as a beginner or less experienced sailor, we guarantee that you'll never forget your first channel crossing or the sense of freedom you feel losing sight of the shore for the first time!


The boat

We mostly coach on yachts of between 37 and 41ft. Our yachts have been specifically chosen as they are easy to handle, great for learning! There is no denying us girls sometimes don't have the physical strength of the boys but with our technical ability and a well-chosen yacht we can do just as well. You will usually find yourself aboard an Élan 37, Jeanneau 37 or a Beneteau 40.7. All of your time will be spent living as crew-mates on your yacht.  Most of the yachts have 9/10 berths with 3 cabins and a saloon so the boats will normally have 2 persons in each cabin i.e. 6 - this is always the case for an RYA course, MAX 6 persons on-board. On some events e.g. races we use the saloon which can sleep an additional 2-4 person. 


About Cowes

Cowes is widely credited as being the birthplace of UK yachting, seeing hundreds of 'yachties' descend every year on the seaside town and swelling it's resident population multifold.

With a wealth of activities on and off the water and a year-round mild, sunny climate the island attracts loyal visitors and second home owners alike all year round but especially during the spring and summer months when the world class sailing conditions attract professional sailors from around the world to take part in famous regattas and races - as well as thousands of spectators who gather shoreside to watch the dramas unfold.

Easily reached by high speed passenger ferry, car ferry or even hovercraft (the island has the last remaining hovercraft service in the world) from Lymington, Southampton or Portsmouth on the mainland, the island is the perfect destination for young and old alike with plenty to see, eat and do.


Sample Itinerary

Day 1 - meet and greet each other and make the plans for the week assessing everyone's wishes, reviewing the weather and tides before setting sail!! Your skipper may suggest a trial day sail to Yarmouth or Lymington to ensure everyone is familiar with the boat and ensure you're in pole position ready for an early start the next day to make the most of the favourable tides. Your night ashore gives you the perfect chance to enjoy a lovely meal and a good night's sleep ahead of your early morning departure and sail to France the next day!

Day 2 - ideally you will be in France before sundown! It takes approximately 12-14 hours to get to Cherbourg so you'll be aiming to be up and away early to make the most of the daylight and arrive in time for dinner at one of the many fantastic restaurants lining the harbour. That first glass of wine will have never tasted so good believe us!

Day 3 - enjoy a relaxing day in Cherbourg sampling the fantastic wines and cheeses, doing a spot of shopping or simply watching the world go by over a coffee and croissant or a delicious French patisserie!

Day 4 - weather dependent you will sail back to the UK today, stopping off at either Lymington or Yarmouth or maybe detouring via Poole before heading back to the Solent. With two channel crossings during the week, there'll be chance for two of you to gain a skippered passage - perfect if you're working towards your Yachtmaster or Coastal Skipper.

Day 5 - a final day in the Solent brushing up on your sailing skills or simply enjoying a leisurely lunch at anchor in beautiful Beaulieu or gorgeous Newtown Creek before heading back to Cowes and home.


Experience required

None required. Beginners are fine crossing the channel onboard - sea sickness is the only potential issue but we find that as long as you start taking these in advance of you joining the boat you'll be absolutely fine onboard!

If you have recently undertaken the RYA Competent Crew course then this is the ideal way to gain experience if you want to progress to your Day Skipper.

Completed your Day Skipper and would like to practice being in charge but under the discreet supervision of an experienced skipper? This is just the event for you. It is great having beginners on board as they will also help you practice your skippering skills!

Or if you're working towards your Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster Offshore and need to gain a skippered 60 mile passage then this is a perfect opportunity to do so!


Additional Info

What's included?

  • Fully coded yacht with safety equipment
  • Fully qualified RYA skipper
  • All safety equipment
  • Accommodation on board*
  • Diesel, water, electricity
  • Breakfasts, lunches and evening meals whilst sailing
  • FUN, FUN, FUN!!

What's excluded?

  • Transport to and from meeting points
  • Flights
  • Alcoholic drinks and meals when not on board the yacht
  • Mooring fees
  • Departure taxes/customs entries per person
  • Any clothing
  • *Accommodation upgrades where available
  • Mooring fees

Additional information

We recommend you bring plenty of layers (including a hat and gloves) for this trip as offshore sailing on longer passages can sometimes feel a bit chillier. It's also a good idea to bring some sea-sickness tablets with you just to be on the safe side - if in doubt, popping a tablet for good measure before you leave the dock is a sensible precaution if this is your first time going offshore!


Why choose Girls for Sail?

  • First of all we want to give you some freedom, we want you to feel absolutely able to do anything onboard, so we will greet you, make you feel welcome, confident and safe, and of course you won't have anyone rushing you! You can learn at your own pace with our skippers and feel the benefit of this in your handling of our yacht!
  • We pride ourselves on our levels of tuition.  There's no such thing as a 'silly' question!  There's no shouting onboard and as it's also your holiday, we want you to have fun and go home relaxed and satisfied with your time here! Not to mention you get to meet new lifelong friends! 

Our values are simple: Encourage, Support, Challenge and Respect!

How to book?

Click on the link above to view available dates - or if you have any questions please feel free to get in touch with us!

Call us on:
+44(0)1983 28 28 67

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