Sailors pass with AA star grades after tall ships rescue

SAILORS from Hyde and Denton found themselves becoming a makeshift breakdown service during a ‘Tall Ships’ adventure.

For they ended up towing a stricken vessel some 20 miles so it can be fixed.

Members of Debdale Outdoor Activities Centre (DOAC) set sail on the annual voyage, the first time they went abroad as they ventured from Portsmouth to Cherbourg in France.

Only they did not expect to be an impromptu breakdown service after coming across English boat Gusto, whose engines had failed in the middle of the English Channel.

So rather than sail by and leave the crew to the mercy of the conditions, DOAC members sprung into action and made sure it would be safe.

That meant towing the boat some 20 miles of the 93 mile journey to the French coast!

In total, 12 members – including 17-year-old Nathan from Gee Cross and Sam, 15, from Denton – took part in the sail, which started at about 5am on Sunday, July 21 after mooring in Osborne Bay on the Isle of Wight after hopping over the Solent.

One of the highlights had already taken place before they hit the water as one of the groups watched the International Space Station fly over – a sight later repeated.

Conditions were described as still, so still the group split into ‘watches’ so some of the party could rest.

Eventually, they reached Cherbourg before spending the day there and heading back to England, mooring at Studland Bay in Dorset.

On the way back, a thick sea fret descended, meaning senior staff had to sound the Challenge 1 vessel’s foghorn!

The trip was organised through the Tall Ships Youth Trust, the UK’s oldest and largest sail training charity, which is dedicated to the personal development of young people aged 12-25.

And while DOAC have been taking to foreign waters, fortunes are going just as well at home.

For its windsurfers are in prime position to take the Royal Yachting Association’s North West T15 Interclub title.

Debdale Diamonds as the team is known, finished level with West Kirby in the latest event at Hollingworth Lake on Saturday, July 13.

However, because they actually won more events they were awarded the meeting win, adding to their success in the first event at Debdale.

And with the final meeting also on home water at Debdale Park on Hyde Road, just over the border from Denton, on Sunday, August 18, hopes are high they can seal their success.

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