Forecast was for a windy crossing so seemed to have put most people off with only two starters in class 2. Start was near Coronation and the choice of Bembridge or Needles for exiting the Solent. With a prevailing South Westerly it looked better on paper to bite the bullet and battle the tide up to Bridge rather than take the easier down wind option to Bembridge. Taking the Bridge option we dodged the shallows up the Solent with one reef and No. 3 into 25 knots which worked pretty well and got to Hurst just as the tide turned. Made Bridge by 01:15, shook the reef out and headed for Cherbourg with sheets eased. Changed up to the No. 1 when the tide turned and reduced the wind strength and made the finish without too much difficulty. Think this was the best option for us as other boats had to plug a lot of tide over on the French side trying to get up to the finish when we had done all our beating at the start of the race.Good night in Cherbourg and headed back at 06:00 in the morning for the forecast nasty crossing with force 7 due in later. As predicted about twenty miles off Bembridge the wind picked up and had a fairly tedious slog back to the Solent with wind strength regularly in the 25-28s and one gust at 30 knots.