It has always been a primary goal of Global Offshore Sailing Team (GOST) to promote international understanding. Since GOST and the Channel Dash Association first met 10 years ago, the two organizations have worked together to deepen Anglo-German friendship. Through joint expeditions and commemorative events, we kept history alive and created new connections between so many people. Together we accepted the challenge of a global pandemic which closed our borders and distanced us physically. We found new ways of staying in touch. And now – for the 80th anniversary commemoration – we have the great opportunity to finally meet again and create new relations for a peaceful future.
Peter Nixon, former Chairman of the Channel Dash Association, who established the contact with the Global Offshore Sailing Team, once summarized the effort perfectly with the words:
About the Channel Dash
The Channel Dash, (codenamed Operation Cerberus by the Germans),was a major naval engagement during World War II in which a German Kriegsmarine squadron consisting of both Scharnhorst-class battleships, and heavy cruiser Prinz Eugen along with escorts, ran a British blockade and successfully sailed from Brest in Brittany to their home bases in Germany via the English Channel.
On 11 February 1942, the Kriegsmarine‘s ships left Brest at 21:14 and escaped detection for more than 12 hours, approaching the Straits of Dover without discovery. As the German ships passed through the straits and on into the North Sea, British armed forces intercepted them, and attacks were made by the Royal Air Force, the Fleet Air Arm and Coastal Artillery. The attacks and bombardment were unsuccessful, and by 13 February all the Kriegsmarine‘s ships had completed their transit.
‘The Channel Dash’, is also known as the heroic but futile attempt by six Swordfish torpedo bombers to stop the German Warships breaking through the Dover Strait and reach safety in their home waters.
Vice-Admiral Otto Ciliax, who commanded Operation “Cerberus” commented the attack of the slow and outdated Swordfish crews as follows:
In support of the German naval operation, the Luftwaffe launched Operation Donnerkeil (Thunderbolt) to provide air superiority for the passage of the ships.
The Channel Dash remains the only occasion since the Spanish Armada in 1588 that ships belonging to an enemy of Great Britain (other than the Dutch in the Anglo-Dutch Wars) have successfully traversed the English Channel
PROGRAM: 80th Anniversary Celebrations
12th February 2022: Thanks to the excellent work of Channel Dash Association Chairman Malcolm Godfrey, CDA Secretary Sheila Howard and all CDA members and supporters, a major commemorative event will also be held on the 80th anniversary on 12 February 2022 at the former Royal Airforce Base Manston.
13th February 2022: On this day, the Global Offshore Sailing Team will set off from Dover in a joint mission with the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club Dover to the English Channel for a commemoration at sea. We are grateful for the excellent organisation by Bernard Sealy.
About the Global Offshore Sailing Team