We are off to Herm. Today is a boat day however not ours. We need a ferry. Have you seen the rocks out here? Another cloudless blue sky. Herm is the smallest inhabited island of the Channel Islands. Well that’s not quite true because Brecqhou is. Brecqhou is a small sister island of Sark. Privately owned by the Barclay brothers, they live a reclusive life there.
Back to Herm. If you are interested it is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) long and under 0.5 miles (0.80 km) wide. No vehicles are allowed on the island so to get around you have to walk. That’s all the boring tourist knowledge over and done with.
First stop is to get some butties for lunch and some snorkelling gear. Roger has ventured into his rather fetching swim wear ( see below)
Furby Tours takes us on a bit of a route march to the other side of the island, but well worth it. Beautiful sand beach and crystal clear waters.
Shell beach is a beautiful stretch of golden sand on the east coast of Herm.
We claim our bit of the beach and make camp. We are beginning to look like a small version of “The Jungle” at Calais!!. At least we don’t have a gaggle of teenage girls and “like, what ever, shut up” to listen to. Rock pool exploring, swimming and shell collecting takes up most of the afternoon. It’s a scene out of Enid Blytons Famous Five but swap lashings of ginger beer for champagne. We are grown ups after all.
We stop off on the way to the marina to eat an early supper. We return to the boats tired and sandy. My goodness does sand get everywhere. The cabin resembles a kiddies sand pit.
Today has been designated a no boating day. We are off to the beach to build sand castles . First I need to call into to town to purchase a back pack. Stupidly I have left ours at home.
In the meantime Peter has packed, windbreak, picnic rug, beach shoes, blankets, wetsuits(????) and enough food to feed 5 thousand. We all need to buy buckets and spades.
We catch a bus to the north of the island to one of the most beautiful sandy beaches, Como Bay. Cobo Bay is one of Guernsey’s treasures. It is one of the island’s most popular beaches, hosting beautiful white sands and crystal clear waters, Quite deserted with only a few groups of people and a stunning view.
I have to ask. How long does it take 2 grown men to erect a wind break? Answers on a post card please. I bet neither of them are good with flat packed furniture.
Us girlies set off with our buckets and spades and create the master piece you see below. After a strenuous session of excavating and fortification, lunch was called for.
We spend the afternoon swimming, yes it was warm enough and just generally lazing around. The group of teenage girls further up the beach provided the entertainment. Conversation between them went something like this. Ok ya, like, no way, shut up, OMG, nah. They womble off for a swim for about 5 nano seconds but decided the umbilical cord to their mobile phones would not stretch that far so retuned and continued their monosyllabic conversation.
Tonight we are eating at a seafood restaurant that has great views over the harbour. I feel a trip advisor report coming on.
Wake this morning to blue skies and sun so Guernsey it is. I also wake up to stiff wrists and arms from last nights interboat 10 pin bowling contest. I hurt so much from laughing. The weather forecast is looking good with tides and winds in favour for the Alderney Race.
Guernsey via the Alderney Race
Never ever believe the bloody weather forecast!! Holy moly, if this is calm, I hate to think what rough would be like or if you caught the tide wrong.. For you land lubbers who have no idea what I am talking about, you can get the general gist here.
God was having a laugh when he created the Alderney race. It was put in place to test the skills, resilience and patience of sailors and then laugh at them. On a good day the race can add 10 knots to your speed and on a bad day it treats you like a washing machine on full wash and then spits you out the other end all bruised and battered. It was one of those days. Despite Peters excellent planning and timings the bloody wind changed direction at the last moment. I now know why our boat boasts the name Hardy.
Note to self: If you have to go to the loo whilst bouncing around, at least undo the crotch strap on your life jacket first and brace brace brace. Hanging on for grim death and wondering why you can’t disrobe is not funny. Believe me
Finally arrived at St Peter Port. Bright sun, blue skies and sea. And it’s so pretty here. My parents chose here for their honeymoon, I now understand why.
Cleared customs and settled onto our berth in the inner harbour. For the next few days we are going to relax and enjoy the Island. I understand tomorrow is the Interboat sand castle competition. Can I have a packet of flags and one of the those little windmills to stick in my sand pies? The mind boggles.
When dealing with anything to do with the sea and weather, you have to be flexible and have a change of plan. So this morning Plan A became Plan B. The wind changed and down came the rain. The yacht crews rubbed their hands wth glee and all left looking smug while we motor boaters sat down to a cooked breakfast. It became obvious that we were going to have to stay in Cherbourg today.
Oysters and vegetables.
The tourist book shows that there is a Sunday Market not far away and so we decide to go and have a look. Note to self. Never let 2 men loose with a tourist map which is not drawn to scale. Neither of them had any sense of direction. We have seen parts of Cherbourg no tourists would ever know existed.
We eventually asked for directions and found the market. Stall after stall of proper vegetables, you know, the ones that are misshaped and actually taste of something. Cold meats hanging up attracting all the flies. Have they never heard of food hygiene?
Bought oysters, fresh bread and fresh veg to go with the lovely stinky cheese we bought yesterday.
Back onboard our boats we had a challenge. How to open the oysters without severing any fingers or bleeding to death. Peter produces a diving knife that would have put Indiana Jones to shame. Not sure my Swiss army penknife is up to the job. Roger was all for charging up the drill from the tool cupboard.
Some of those little suckers just did not want to open up and give up their cosy shell. But we won in the end.
Tonight we are off to the bowling alley for a spot of friendly inter boat sport. STRIKE!!!
It’s not often I am persuaded it’s a good idea to get up at 5am whilst on holiday. Cherbourg is 3 1/2 hours away and tide and winds wait for no man. I am not sure the last time I saw the sun rise but I can guarantee that is was on the way to bed and not rising. At least we were not the only nutters rising at the time. Quite a lot of the boats were preparing to leave Yarmouth.
We slipped our moorings at 06.45 and 10 minutes later, after passing The Needles, turned due south towards France.
To quote an old saying
“I went to sea to see the sea and all I saw was sea“.
Well that’s all we saw for 3 hours. When you consider the likes of Dame Ellen McCarthy and Sir Francis Chichester, I understand the challenge of sailing around the world. I genuinely get the reasons why they do it but oh my god it’s so so boring!
Cherbourg loomed out of the mist and we were soon on our berth and soaking up the hot French sun.
After a quick shower and change it was off down the the Wine Cave to pick up essential liquid supplies! 12 boxes of wine and bubbles. As the company delivers your order to the boat we had time to grab a bite to eat and wander back.
It is going to be a very cosmopolitan night tonight. The Brits do out number all nationalities here but we have Belgium Dutch, German, Swedish, the obligatory French and 2 boats have just pulled in full of Russians. It’s going be a lively night. They break out the Vodka.
Arrive At Universal Marina to do some final cleaning, stocking of the fridge and generally making sure we have everything. We have enough food for a couple of days so I amlooking forward to some french market food. Weather is stunning. Yarmouth, here we come
Departure for Yarmouth The traffic out of the Hamble is beginning to build up. We decide against refilling at Port Hamble and make for the fuel berth at Yarmouth.. The visibility is amazing. Can see right down to the Needles. We pass the photo boat on the way out. That is the second time this month we have been snapped. The last set of images were good so I will give it a couple of days and look on the website.
Yarmouth is heaving! Boats are rafted 4 deep everywhere. well it is bank holiday. We refuel and wait for the harbour master to squeeze us in. We have to moor on one of the floating pontoons, so going ashore tonight will mean a water taxi, but hey ho. It also means no shore power so I had to dig deep in one of the lockers to find my gas kettle. The atmosphere is very carnival like. Nothing like a sunny bank holiday to bring the crowds out.
Off to Saltys for fish and chips. My most favourite place on the Island. they do the best fish and chips for miles.It’s a lovely sunset so sit up by the ferry watching the sun go down. This is paradise.
Early to bed as its a horrible start in the morning.
Planning a land trip is a case of looking on a map and finding the route between A & B. Other than the odd road works or accident, diversions are minor irritations and your direction will alway remain fairly constant. You only have to worry about a forward or backward motion.
Not so at sea. Tides, currents and weather play a major part in upsetting a carefully planned passage. Tides can run at speed in the opposite direction to you. Currents can whip the sea into a frothy swirling eddy and the weather can veer from sunshine to wind and fog in a blink of the eye.
A boat moves in all 360 degree directions
It is also wise to have bolt holes of safety, so if the weather does turn you have a safe refuge.
“For the execution of the voyage to the Indies, I did not make use of intelligence, mathematics or maps.” -Christopher Columbus
There is a tendency to rely on the state of art navtronics. Chart plotters that plan your route and radar that tracks the space station. But what happens the day that all fails? Most serious sailors still retain the ability to plot on a paper chart in the good old fashioned way. In fact, it is still a requirement in some countries to be able to produce a paper passage plan on demand.
Plan A often develops into plan B, plan C and beyond.
So today I have mainly be preoccupied in making sure I have the right charts, that the route is programmed into the chart plotter, the compass points in the right direction and if all else fails, that the paper charts are up to date. It’s been a long time since I used a Portland plotter.
“Jessica” is a 1999 Hardy Seawings 277 and we have been her owners and crew for just over a year. This blog will follow our adventures crossing the channel with friends on our annual holiday
One of pleasures of living on the South Coast is that it is in striking distance of mainland Europe, it is only 60 nms to Cherbourg or a bit further to the Channel Islands. In comparison it is 80 nms to Torquay
However crossing the Channel can be like a game of chess, you need to be several moves ahead. Crossing one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world. dodging super tankers, high speed ferries and container ships all doing 20 knots is not for the fainthearted.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin
A quick trip across the channel to France, Belgium or Holland might leave you thinking that you don’t need anything extra to take your boat abroad, but what happens when you do meet the “jobsworth” official, who wants to see your paperwork in full. Do you have the correct papers ready to satisfy a foreign customs official or do you risk the possibilities of your boat being impounded and significant fines?
Other than the obvious planning such as do we have enough water, fuel, food, gin; there is all the necessary paperwork to sort out.
certificate of competence
proof of paid VAT
courtesy flags for each country to be visited
Official RYA blurb
Clothing is always an issue. Is it going to be hot enough for shorts? Do I need thermals? Might as well pack the lot – you can never have enough shoes…..
Admiral Lord Nelson is still one of our most outstanding and brilliant Naval officers of all times. One of our greatest salty sea dogs.
(29 September 1758 – 21 October 1805). A British flag officer in the Royal Navy, Nelson is noted for his inspirational leadership. His superb grasp of strategy and unconventional tactics resulted in a number of decisive naval victories, particularly during the Napoleonic Wars. Wounded several times in combat, losing one arm in the unsuccessful attempt to conquer Santa Cruz de Tenerife and the sight in one eye in Corsica. He was shot and killed during his final victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
“Salty Sea Dog” is nautical slang for experienced sailors who spend much of their life at sea.
The “Sea Dogs“ were English pirates at the time of Elizabeth I of England and were also known as Elizabethan Pirates.
Our Salty Sea Dog……
(14th November 2014). Our rescue labrador noted for his complete lack of any discipline and selective deafness. Chocolate labradors are renown for being as thick as a plank. He has an obsession for all things ball shaped, toilet rolls and odd socks. He possesses unconventional habits such as drinking from the toilet and howling at the moon. This has resulted in total devastation wherever he goes. I will shoot him if he chews the TV remote again.
Being a labrador, he adores water. Any water. Be it muddy, stagnant , smelly or salty. He is not fussy.
So it is completely natural that he loves the boat. Being on it, trying to jump off it or just snoozing on it.
As you have got this far, I thought I would tell you about us and the history of our boats. Roger and I had never owned boats in our previous lives. We live close to the sailing mecca of the UK but it just didn’t cross our minds.
Every year the River Hamble hosts a regatta at Bursledon. Each year has a different theme and in 2005 it was the bicentennial of the Battle of Trafalgar. The afternoon consists of a flotilla of small boats dressed to reflect the theme. We thought it would be fun to celebrate one of our finest Naval battles, so we set out to find a small boat.
Dijon Cuddy Cabin
We bought our first boat for £800 from eBay. A little Dijon cuddy cabin with an outboard. We lovingly repainted her and replaced the windows. I made some cushions for the cabin. we had a glorious summer pottering around the Solent. By this time we are both smitten and decide to upgrade the size so we can sleep overnight on her. We sold her for £2000
Our next purchase is a Shetland 570. She was also a bit of project but we had her looking smart in a season. At last we could sleep & cook onboard. We had 6 years of amazing fun sailing inland and coastal waters. But…. I was getting too old to keep cooking on my knees and I wanted hot water and more space.
I now had my creature comforts. But Roger was unhappy as the heads were too small for him to comfortably use them. We had further cruising distance, more comfort, more space but still something was missing. we compiled a ‘bucket list’ of our our ideal boat.
heads that Roger could get in and use
diesel inboard engine (the last 3 boats had petrol outboards)
separate cabin so I didn’t have to pack away a V berth everyday
Hardy Seawings 277
Finally we get to play with the big boys. Jessica ticks all the boxes.