Cherbourg blockade was 'just bad luck'

PUBLISHED: 14:41 03 June 2008 | UPDATED: 21:53 15 June 2010

A LYME Regis sailor who escaped a blockade at Cherbourg port during a protest vowed never to do another wine run.

A LYME Regis sailor who escaped a blockade at Cherbourg port during a protest vowed never to do another wine run.Hugh Duncan, 58, of Coombe Street, said he was lucky to get out during a two-hour 'ceasefire', when around 30 boats managed to leave.In protest against rising fuel prices, fishermen prevented vessels from leaving by blocking harbours with cables and large fishing trawlers.But on Monday (May 26) Mr Duncan and his yacht Goodwill were among a 'mass exodus' fleeing from their four-day imprisonment.He said that while it was not an ordeal, it was annoying. He and his friends had been celebrating their 20th anniversary of wine runs, but this turn of events had put an end to any future trips. "It's put a nail in the coffin of wine runs," he said."It was just bad luck that we planned our trip on the weekend of a blockade. What are the chances of that?"But we won that round. We escaped with the booty! We are all happy we got our wine."However, he acknowledged that while he was not personally threatened, the fishermen did act in an intimidating manner and had been aggressive to others.He said: "Everybody has lives to lead and it messed up our lives for a time. They did shout at us a bit, but those who tried to get out were more threatened. "We didn't seem to be any part of it but the way they were picking on us was really quite viscous. "And everybody felt they crossed the line when they endangered lives - I don't think that's acceptable for any strike."He referred to incidents such as boats with people inside being disabled, causing them to hit against the rocks and called into question how such tactics could help their case.Happy to be home, he looks back on the trip as an exciting time."It was one hell of an adventure for us," he explained. "We had been planning an escape - and they wouldn't have been able to stop us."But fortunately it didn't come to that.


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