This Channel Island Adventure was in May 2018
We gathered on Sea Essay moored in Mercury Marina during the Friday afternoon/evening, but with the Hurst Tidal Gate open 22:00 – 02:00, or 10:00 – 14:00 on the Saturday, an evening meal ashore and early departure was the preferred option. After an excellent breakfast of the hoof we made Hurst by 10:30 and then turned leftish by Fairway Buoy for Guernsey on a good downwind sail. Roy D had done the detailed navigation planning and routing via Casquets Light then South of Guernsey was preferred as arrival was expected to be in darkness.
After an on-board meal of boiled gammon, new potatoes & green beans we approached “Watch Time”. However at 22:00 an Imminent 40+kt wind warning with hail made us rethink. Roy D stayed up for both watches as did Mike G. For safety and comfort we motored the rest of the way to St Peter Port. The crew that actually did sleep reported the engine noise was soothing.
St Peter Port – Guernsey
In the event neither 40+kt winds nor hail put in an appearance and we approached St Peter Port from the South just before 06:00. We moored at the Visitors Waiting Pontoon awaiting the HM instructions, then rafting alongside a very large, very green, carbon fibre shrouds, and unknown manufacturer German yacht! Made sure we did not hit it!!
At low tide we marveled at the height of the reinforced Victoria Marina sill.
The rest of the day was spent at leisure (or sleeping). We replenished some victuals as Alderney was expected to be closed on the Bank Holiday and then ate ashore with a wonderful view over Victoria Marina.
Passage to Alderney
Monday saw another early departure along Little Russel towards Alderney. Circumnavigating anticlockwise we made Braye with a 4kt tide trying to make us miss the entrance. While moored to one of
the many visitor buoys we asked the question “Is this number 19 or 61?” as both appeared to be marked on it. We went ashore by water taxi (operated by an antipodean) and sampled the atmosphere of the Alderney Performing Arts Festival followed by a walk inland via an old Northern Line Train, a different Post Box and some
liquid refreshment in St Anne. Returning to the boat we ate again on-board trying to reduce the hoard of on-board food.
Passage to Poole
We had yet another early departure Tuesday morning, heading for Poole. We played an interesting game of miss the TSS traffic – lots of red flashing AIS targets but no near misses. During the passage the strong West going tide made us consider Weymouth as an option for the evening but this was discounted after the re-calculated Poole ETA was well before Closing Time. At Poole we had a very good Thai meal with accompanying beverages.
Sea Essay at Poole Quay Yacht Haven
Pool to Yarmouth
The penultimate day saw some reduced visibility for the trip to Yarmouth via Poole Bay, the North Chanel and Hurst Narrows. The whole crew opted for a final meal ashore rather than the emergency meal which lives to see another sail/day. From Yarmouth we sailed East up the West Solent with a light wind behind us. This gave us some gybing practise – some of it planned.
Yarmouth to Hamble
On the last leg, going North from Cowes to the West of the Bramble Bank, the topside crew saw a very large container ship in Southampton Water. Not completely sure if it was “coming” or “going”, we inquired of the below navigation people what it was doing. “No vessel there” came the reply. Again we asked the question because the Mark One Eye-Ball surely wasn’t mistaken. Again came the reply “No vessel there”. After one further round of this humorous exchange the topside crew went below to change the range setting of the plotter/AIS to reveal a large Red Flashing target. A lesson for all of us when using AIS.
We reached Mercury Marina shortly after this and prepared the yacht for the next incoming crew. Overall this was a very enjoyable cruise; many thanks to all the crew, especially Roy D.
Many thanks to the Skipper, Mike Griffiths for this report.
Crew: Roy Demery; Roy Cullers; Nigel Wiltshire; Jonathan Peters; Phil Edwards