AS I boarded the boat I could not quite believe it was happening – I was going sailing with Bryan Adams.

I was to spend a day in close confinement with the man behind classic hits Summer of ’69 and (Everything I Do) I Do It For You – how many people can boast that?

The event was the Artemis Challenge, a high profile celebratory yacht race in aid of charity, and the boat was Artemis the Profit Hunter skippered by Southamp-ton’s own Simon “Lovely” Clay.

Other celebs joining the fleet included the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips, her England rugby boyfriend Mike Tindall and fellow rugby star Will Greenwood.

Also racing were James and Oliver Phelps aka the Weasley twins from the Harry Potter films and former Coronation Street actress Denise Black.

Joining up with the Artemis crew in Cowes, all the talk was of whether anyone had spotted Bryan.

Soon we were face to face with the rock legend as he sidled up to our meeting point.

With the 10am start fast approaching there was little time for “hellos” before it was action stations.

Before the race had even started keen sailor Bryan made a beeline for the wheel, taking time to bask in glory of having a 60ft yacht under his control.

His brute force was also called into use on the “coffee grinder” winches used to pull the sails in.

A great start thanks to Lovely put Artemis at the front of the fleet – but Bryan’s popularity was to be our downfall.

Desperate to get photos of the rocker, a group of snappers had taken to the skies in a helicopter which then circled our yacht continuously.

We could only watch in despair as the wind was taken from our sails and two boats passed to steal the lead.

The wind soon died and we were becalmed, Bryan taking the opportunity to catch some rays at the back of the boat.

After seven hours on the water we had just clawed our way back into first place and glory looked guaranteed – but then the race was cancelled.

Lack of wind forced the organisers to knock the race on the head – and positions taken at the last mark placed us third overall.

Speaking to Bryan after the race, he said he had enjoyed the day.

He said: “It was a brilliant day sailing on Artemis. The sun was out, we had some wind for a bit and we sailed a great race. We were even leading when the race was abandoned so I am claiming it as a moral victory.”

Following the race the celebrities and guests were transferred to the Pier Bar at Shepards Wharf where they were greeted with much-appreciated and much-needed ice cold beers.

There was a presentation ceremony where the victorious crew of BT stepped up to claim their prize and Ellen MacArthur picked up the £10,000 charity fund on behalf of the boat’s charity of choice the Ellen MacArthur Fund.

With all the ups and downs of the day’s racing still fresh on everyone’s minds, the conversation – and drinks – flowed and the celebrations continued long into the night.