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Brighton to Beachy Head

For our day sail on Brighton Belle, with skipper George and mate Bob, we had 8 crew, several of whom had not met previously. Three were sailing first timers, but we all had an opportunity to steer the 55ft Brighton Belle under sail. After a safety briefing from the skipper we proceeded from the inner berth at Brighton Marina, through the lock, and out into the English Channel. We'd all wrapped up warm as the forecast was for cloud cover and a fresh breeze from the north.


I've sailed out of Brighton Marina a few times but I still enjoy seeing Brighton seafront laid out along the coast in front of me. It's fun seeing all the various squares and hotels and from pier to (remains of) pier in one view. Anyway, we were headed in the other direction, away from Brighton, towards Eastbourne and Beachy Head.


Once the sails were hoisted (a team effort), the engine was cut. This is another favourite moment of mine: when the rumble from the engine finishes, there's only the sound of the wind and waves, and the boat (in this case, the big boat) continues carving a path through the ocean regardless.



After enjoying views of the Seven Sisters (a series of chalk cliffs) and the lighthouse off Beachy Head, we were treated to a generous helping of sunshine – a pleasant surprise after the prediction of overcast skies and a welcome taster for the summer sailing to come. The sea became blue and the coastline shone bright white.


A few hours later, we headed back to the marina to beat the low tide. We finished the day in the clubhouse of the Brighton Marina Sailing Club some of us continued conversations from earlier in the day over a pint of two of a local Sussex brew.

David Williams



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