Originally supposed to leave from Largs Marina on the Firth of Clyde (Hence the name!), Exercise CYBER SALTIRE 19 left from Portsmouth with 6 personnel from both RAF High Wycombe and Digby on the 9 Jun 19. The last-minute change was due to the minor disruption of our original vessel running aground, piloted by the previous users.

Fortunately, in the ensuing scramble, we were saved by the Royal Marines Sailing Club. Their training vessel, ‘Ocean Wave of Albany’, berthed at Whale Island, was available for the dates we originally booked. We left High Wycombe on the Sunday afternoon and met with the boat before motoring across to Gosport Marina, past the moored HMS Queen Elizabeth, for our overnight stay and an early(ish) start in the morning.

Day 1
We departed Gosport the next day under grey skies and a persistent drizzle albeit with calm seas. Monday was the first opportunity for the inexperienced among us to get used to working the sails outside of the marina environment. The weather suited us; although it was raining, the wind was strong enough to allow us to use the sails and provided a shallow learning curve for the first day. Our destination was Cowes on the Isle of Wight, the planned route being a short crossing to the IoW coast followed by a westerly route into the Medina River.

The day also gave us a taste of just how busy an environment the Solent can be; as well as keeping an eye out for the many IoW ferries and small sailing craft, we had to cross the main shipping lane for large container ships. Turns out that they’re quicker than they look, and we were surprised with the speed that you could potentially get into trouble, especially when under sail. The same could be said for approaching Cowes, a good place to learn how to approach a harbour whilst avoiding the bigger boys.
After a well-earned break at a restaurant up the Medina river, we headed back down the river and berthed back in Cowes, not before practising some man over board drills with one of the fenders as a dummy (Despite Miles being sure he’d be pushed in as guinea pig!).

Day 2
Read More in Wycombe World Magazine Issue 3 2019

Fg Off Dan Mellor