Poole to Channel Islands Cruise (Moonfleet Sailing)
What is it"A seven day sailing adventure from Poole in Dorset on the South Coast, crossing the English Channel to the Channel Islands and France and back again.
Setting off on a beautiful Saturday morning in September the crew had a 10-12 hour sail ahead of them with their destination being Braye in Alderney, Channel Islands.
However the forecast showed that the wind was increasing to a force 6/7 from the South West, the direction they wanted to go! Despite their best efforts to sail as close to the wind as possible it soon became apparent that they were to not make Braye that day.
The conditions worsened as the sail progressed (unfortunately not caught on camera!) but the crew pushed through and arrived exhausted in Cherbourg at midnight after a 17 hour crossing!
After some sleep the crew had a few hours ashore to explore Cherbourg, although with it being a Sunday most of it was closed. After some lunch the crew prepared the boat and set off for a 5 hour sail to Alderney . Sailing once again mainly close reach they arrived at Braye Harbour just as evening was drawing in. The water taxi took the crew ashore where they could enjoy a delicious pub lunch and a well earned pint, plus as they were now in the Bailiwick of Guernsey they had to submit their customs forms.
Day three started a little misty so the crew enjoyed some time ashore followed by a spot of lunch before setting off for Guernsey, a sail which took them around 6 hours, and took them through the Alderney Swinge, which was a little rough and wet!
St Peter's Port in Guernsey is a popular and fairly busy port. On arriving the crew waited at a mooring just outside whilst they waited for the tide. St Peter's Port has a sill so in order to access the inner marinas you need to wait for high water. Once it was safe to pass the crew were directed to their mooring for the night, tied Ultra up, got the dinner on and paid a visit to the off-licence!
The following day was a 'no sail' day and the crew had the chance to explore the beautiful island of Guernsey. A bus trip around the island and a visit to the Aquarium and Underground Museum kept them happy! That night they enjoyed a meal ashore.
Wednesday was a beautiful day and the crew were eager to get to neighbouring Sark, just a 2 hour sail away. However on leaving the marina they attempted to unwind the head sail without success. They were forced to return to St Peter's Port where they realised some screws had come loose in the furling drum. After taking it apart and after an hour or so of fiddling they managed to fix it and they set off again!
There was virtually no wind so they motored to Sark, picking up a mooring buoy in Havre Gosselin and enjoying a delicious chilli for lunch!
Afterwards the crew rowed ashore and after a very steep climb to the top went to explore the car-free island of Sark.
That night they enjoyed dinner on-board before a fairly early night ahead of their sail home.
Thursday started early with the crew departing at 7 in the morning. Conditions were good to begin with and the sun shone beautifully! The Alderney Race was fairly calm and spirits were high. As the day continued and they approached the shipping lanes the wind picked up and the crew found the sail more challenging than previously thought, although they were making good progress hitting 9.4 knots at one point!
However as they approached Old Harry Rocks off the Dorset Coast the wind died down and they enjoyed a pleasant sail back into the harbour before mooring up for the night and going ashore for a bite to eat.
The last morning saw the crew sailing Ultra back to her home berth in Cobbs Quay before giving her a good clean and saying their goodbyes, with all saying it was an experience they wouldn't forget!
If you fancy sailing across the English Channel then check out http://moonfleet.net/ for further details on this cruise and other RYA courses on offer. In fact two members of this cruise were actually completing their Competent Crew course.
Filmed on a Go Pro Hero 4
Bay Breeze by FortyThr33 https://soundcloud.com/fortythr33-43
Creative Commons — Attribution 3.0 Unported— CC BY 3.0
Music provided by Audio Library https://youtu.be/XER8Zg0ExKU"