Departed Cherbourg 8.05 UTC bound for Havelet bay next to St. Peters Port, Guernsey. The intention was to anchor at Anse de St. Martin and then use an early tidal eddy purported to exist just off Cap de la Hague. This would then give a full six hours of favourable tide to Guernsey. The reputation of the Alderney Race is indeed formidable, and even though this was going to be our second time it still felt scary.
Unfortunately when we got to Anse de St. Martin the wind was blowing straight into the bay which made it a definite no no, since not only was the wind in the wrong direction it was also stronger, force 5. There went our nice lunch at anchor, instead we sailed in a circle which was comfortable. We then tentatively approached the Cap de la Hague, close in – it was not a comfortable feeling but seemed to work tide wise. I am not sure we caught the southerly eddy but the tides were neap and we made progress. It was disappointing when the wind dropped and we had to motor, sluggishly towards St. Peters port. The intention had been to arrive just before dark having taken the trouble to gain time around the Cap de la Hague but that was not be and darkness fell upon us just as all the rocks appeared – in truth ‘thank goodness for chart plotters’. Sometime was spent validating our course with lights but more practice would be need if the chart plotter failed (and of course the spares) – but a lightening strike could take them all out – and yes there was some lightening over Alderney. We made it safely to Havelet anchorage, only to find it was quite busy, weaving through the boats we found spot and dropped the anchor along with a tripping line which was recommended in one pilot book – but was our first attempt. Anchor light on and time for sleep, woken in the early hours by the anchor alarm, thankfully a false alert but a German catamaran had anchored very close to us – too close for my comfort really. Later in the morning the German boat moved his boat slightly and shared with us they had sailed from the Azores – nice trip. He asked why we were flying the ‘Q’ flag, and we proudly stated the pilot book we bought last year said it should be flown – and given we had been visited by customs it seemed sensible. He smiled and said our flag was big enough to share. Later when we purchased yet another pilot book it became clear the formality was not necessary, but the marinas still like it flown to identify new arrivals – all was now clear.
The first dinghy trip went fairly well and Marks and Spencer found to get some fresh supplies.
On the 12th we went ashore again and the dinghy trip was a little more bouncy, but we made the land stage and went to the shops again. Upon return we looked at the sea breaking and decided to go to the pub to let the tide drop a little and hopefully find a kinder sea state. As we rested the dinghy up against the wall I tripped and fell seeing my wrist and fingers bend unnaturally, fortunately there was no snap but it was not nice . The pint soothed the discomfort.
A couple of hours later we had another go, and the sea was a little calmer so we went for it, getting in the dinghy from the landing stage was a piece of cake in comparison to getting on the boat which was rising and falling, I felt further respect for the pilots at Spurn point who have to jump for their lives onto ships from the pilot boat. The crew went first, and as the dinghy lifted the step was made for the boat – with an anxious pause the crew was non board – my turn next, with no one to hold the dinghy against the hull – a sense of relief was felt when we were both on board rewarding ourselves with some chocolate cake.
Last night was broken sleep as the anchorage seemed even more bouncy, so currently watching the weather to decide where to go next.
At 13/07/2015 12:13 (utc) our position was 4927.07’N 00231.81’W