XODs on TV  !    

The XODs featured in Episode 2 of the Channel 5 series “BRITAIN BY BOAT” screened on Friday 30th November 2018 at 8.00 pm.

The Channel 5 travelogue series reunited Michael Buerk and John Sergeant to explore Britain’s coastline by yacht.

Michael Buerk is well known as a journalist and newsreader, whose claims to fame include the reporting of the Ethiopian famine in 1984 that lead to the Band Aid charity record and the Live Aid Concert, and surviving three weeks on “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of here!”.

John Sergeant is a television and radio journalist, at various times the BBC’s Chief Political Correspondent and ITN’s Political Editor, who withdrew from “Strictly Come Dancing” in Week 10 after the public repeatedly voted him in, concerned there was a real danger he might win it.

If you missed the programme, BRITAIN BY BOAT is on My5 catch up.


Here’s the story of the making of the film ….

At the end of June, the Cowes Corinthian YC was contacted by Channel 5 who were filming Britain by Boat involving Michael Buerk and John Sergeant, so CCYC asked the X fleet if they could get them out racing.  The Cowes fleet was scrambled and 12 boats went out for two windward/leeward races on the Bramble Bank.

Michael Buerk went out on X175 XENON with Andrew Cooper and Peter Neville-Jones, while John Sergeant sailed on X86 AORA with Sarah Ross, Matt Holmes and Claire Turner.

Sarah Ross takes up the story…

From the filming point of view, it was a race between our two boats to see who won between Michael and John over one race.   X86 AORA managed a respectable 5th while X175 XENON was 8th, so AORA did scoop the celebrity special.   Our 5 minutes of fame!

We had agreed in advance that we would bring John Sergeant back after the first race and not stay for the second.  To be fair, it was a long day on the water waiting for the breeze to fill in, which, when it eventually arrived, seemed to hover between 8 and 10 knots with a blazing sun and blue sky.  The CCYC race team headed by Peter Chugg did a very good job of getting the racing in.   Michael Buerk stayed with Andrew and Peter for a second race and also came back to the CCYC in the evening after dinner.

Andrew Cooper and I were both wired for sound and also had a separate radio for communication with the film crew who were on two RIBs.  They also had a drone above us.

There was quite a lot of staged sailing before the race with X86 and X175 side by side being told how they wanted us to sail from the camera perspective, but the race was real and although it was filmed, the communication from the crew was cut during racing.

It was an exciting but long day. The film crew arrived at CCYC at about 10am and we finally got rid of our microphones and wiring at about 5.30pm.  I hope that they got some good footage of the fleet and we don’t end up on the cutting room floor.  I would also like to think that I haven’t put John Sergeant off sailing for life!!

The others who were out were X58 MADELEINE, X171 XACTLY, X78 FURY, X173 HEYDAY, X169 PERDIX, X105 BLUE PHANTOM and X121 CURLEW.   They all have their own stories, apart from Penny Fulford, who fell on the pontoon and was filmed being piggy-backed out of the club to A&E with a rapidly swelling ankle, so her boat MADELEINE had to go without her….

And finally:

The CCYC sent out big thank you’s a few days later, as the film crew thought that the day had gone brilliantly.  Despite the waiting around for the breeze to kick in, John and Michael and all the film crew had a fantastic day.   Special thanks went to the two lead actresses AORA and XENON, along with their co-starring crews, for making it happen – “You guys are awesome!”.


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