Yesterday. we moved pontoons to allow for an easy departure as the marina was packed at St Peters Port – the Harbour Master was particularly helpful as was the case last year. On our new pontoon we met a Dutch couple who spoke perfect English and put us to shame of only speaking one language. If that was not enough they were polite enough to tell us there was no need to learn another language as most educated people spoke English.
Departed St. Peters Port 06.30 UTC, bound for Alderney, fairly easily from our new berth. There was little wind and sadly the engine had to be used. Progress was slow and thoughts turned to a contingency plan if we were not going to make Alderney before the tide turned. As the Spring tide kicked in it was clear we were going to make it, in fact a little early for the notorious Swinge – given there was little wind that should not be a problem.
Other yachts were also making for the Swinge and that gave some comfort until the one ahead was seen being thrown about. Again with my confident voice I assured the crew with our heavy displacement we would have a more comfortable ride. Indeed we did, nonetheless it was turbulent to say the least – life was easy with a chart plotter as I failed dismally to pick out the navigational marks. As we made the approach for Braye harbour yachts appeared from all around, speeding past our sluggish approach. Little courtesy was given, and boats simply overtook to get to the mooring buoys first. Lady luck was with us, however, since as the overtaking vessels searched for free buoys we were hailed by another yacht to lay alongside. The owner had recognised the lines of a Tradewind and was happy to have us alongside as the were leaving shortly. Top tips for Alderney were passed on, such as where the supermarket was, and the opening times of the yacht club bar etc.
The Harbour master was quick to collect his dues, but did so in such a pleasant and welcoming manner it alleviated any discomfort of parting with cash.
The following day the dinghy was pumped up and a trip ashore was made, and the crew took advantage of land to visit the high street in Alderney. Alderney is was Yarmouth aspires to be, a trip back in time and is a lovely place.
The days have passed quickly and the weather forecasts have been studied with care, for Alderney is not a place that you want to be in a strong NE winds, so all the pilot books say. Although strong winds were forecast yesterday they were to be from the West or North West – in preparation we moved closer into the harbour to afford more protection from the breakwater. A second line was put on the mooring buoy along with a third line of chain.
Today the winds have picked up and the Harbour Master has been out to one boat which appeared to have ended very close to the breakwater, and to other boats ensuring they put additional lines on. At the present time, 18.20 UTC, the wind is North East force 5, fingers crossed it does shift to North West as it is forecast to reach force 7 with gusts up to 45 knots. Had I had more confidence I would have used lines from our series drogue plates so the boat laid stern to the buoy – I was not sure how much tide there is in the harbour, did not have the bridle made, and was not sure how the Harbour Master would view the experiment.
On the optimistic side the winds are due to subside at dawn tomorrow.
At 7/24/2015 6:36 PM (utc) our position was 4943.66’N 00211.85’W