Sunday, August 15, 2010

Channel Islands 2010 - Alderney and home

Sadly it was all too soon for our last port of call “abroad” – a quick stop in Braye harbour in Alderney. Where we went for some chips from the legendary harbour chippy . The locals were queuing before it opened – mind you it is quite quiet in Alderney so a chip shop is a big thing !

On the final Saturday morning of our two weeks we stuck out for home at a not to early for once 08:00. We were headed for the Bembridge end of the Isle of Wight as tides didn’t serve us well for the closer Needles entrance. Really light winds meant it was cruising chute time. Even with this for a couple of hours we only made about 4 knots through the water and I was considering having to give up when the wind picked up just enough and we started going for it. Both shipping lanes were crossed with cruising chute up and then wind built up more, and then a little more. And then it really was too much. The log was reading a bit faulty after me having to unclog some Portbail sand earlier in the trip but we were still going pretty fast when it briefly touched 20.1 knots. We actually had “rooster tails” from the interference of the wash from the two hulls. I managed to catch a quick glance at the GPS at one point which showed 14 knots but on some of the surfs we were definitely quicker than that.

This was of course completely imprudent and unseamanlike – but great fun !

I needed the lee of the Isle of Wight before I could attempt to get the chute back in the sock. It was a struggle but we found just enough quiet water and shelter from the wind to get everything down and packed away before we unfurled the Genoa and took off again.

With such a late start, and initially slow progress we took about 12.5 hours before we made Portsmouth and stopped there for the night as my home pontoon in Southampton was dry until midnight. A nifty bit of parking (if I do say so myself) and we were tied up safely for the night and headed for much welcomed showers.

It was dodging Cowes week racers the next day on the way back round to Calshot and up Southampton water and tied up on our home pontoon.

With some 330+ miles (it’s about that on the chart and the log went haywire after Portbail so in reality it would have been much more) it was all in all a cracking trip. The crew weren’t even sick at all on the way back and we certainly did get a lot of sailing – the engine was hardly used apart from entering and leaving harbours/anchorages. We never used the generator once as the Solar Panels kept up with the fridge although we did plug in to electricity at both Cherbourg, St Aubin and Portsmouth. Add to that that the fact that we only paid at for two nights in Cherbourg, one night in both Portsmouth and Alderney and a donation in Herm and it was a cheap trip too.

The Iphone was great - as well as screenshot of the navigation as we went round I was able to download the entire route to Google Maps so easily - so here it is

View Larger Map

Next year I think it’s time to explore the Eastern side of the Cotentin peninsular.

Unless I win the lottery and set of for blue water before then…

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