Sailing the English Channel



(Written by Matthew Diggle  )

During her time in the UK, Natsumi Okahara has occasionally mentioned to me that she would like to go sailing and as she will shortly be returning to Japan I arranged a weekend afloat for her. Miki Nagai provided much-needed moral support and a couple of former TMS team members came along too, so we had a bit of a reunion,.

I think that Natsumi was expecting the whole super-yacht experience, so we started off with a glass of Champagne (it was Prosecco actually, but don’t tell her). I think this might well have been her favourite part of the weekend!

I’m not aware of any specific alcohol limits for sailing, but I’m sure Sharon will be pleased to know that we didn’t set off until the following morning. Once we were underway with sails hoisted, the wind blowing, and the sun shining, Natsumi took a turn on the helm successfully avoiding other traffic in the Solent.


We anchored for lunch off the Isle of Wight where we saw a more welcome visiting vessel, a Mr Whippy ice-cream boat complete with tinny jingle.

We sailed on in the afternoon through some more significant waves and spray before finding a place to tie-up and spend the night.

The next day we sailed back with the sun on our backs, the wind in our hair (well not my hair, obviously), and Miki on the helm

All was well until it was time to drive the last little bit into the marina and the engine just wouldn’t start. In the end we had to call the marine equivalent of the AA to tow us back in to our berth, but no one died and the boat didn’t sink so by my reckoning it was a successful trip!


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