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Alderney trip, with preamble and passage planning

by Ianfs » 04 Sep 2018, 10:56

I've broken this topic down into a few posts to make it easier to read, hopefully. :D

To set the scene. This all started a few months ago when my neighbour and I got chatting (with wives) about a trip to the Channel Islands in his newly acquired (new to him) Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45 called Crazy Ivan (if anyone has seen Hunt for Red October it explains the name, if not I’ll tell you later). He wants to eventually take it to the Med for the sunshine but has only been around boats for 6 years with no previous experience. Not that I am particularly an expert but accumulated knowledge of all sorts over 50yrs plus (blooming heck is it that long and I still know very little :lol: ) well at least I know a few knots and can pull a few ropes, maybe some help with engines etc. and oh yes I know how to sail, a bit.
I worked out a preliminary passage plan from Lymington to St Peter Port on the days everyone could make it although Andy had to be back by Sunday as they were flying to Ireland to see family on the Monday. Considering tidal streams and tidal gates, specifically the infamous Alderney Race, not so much a problem for a fast cruiser, but anything below 11 kts would have a problem once the streams accelerated and if its windy it can be positively dangerous. Half an hour before HW Dover (calculated at Dover in the UK Almanacs and Shell Channel Pilot) is the safe time to enter the race going SW, as it turns it gradually assists any slow-moving vessels and helps them on their way to Guernsey or Jersey. On our departure day Friday 24th Aug., this would have meant leaving at 11.30pm the previous evening, which was impossible for some of the crew. Consequently, we settled for a channel crossing to Alderney. My better half surprisingly wanted to do the trip but F3-4 was pushing it so decided not to, however Andy’s wife pushed herself to be onboard for the experience even though she gets seasick.

To make Alderney at a reasonable time, have a mooch around and to get the Channel tides to roughly the same each way it still meant an early start, unfortunately, it also meant a couple of knots of foul tide to the Needles from Lymington, so with a little fossil fuel burned, sails and a light WNW we made the Needles in an hour and a half, to set a course to steer of 200°.

Lymington Yachthaven 05:00 ish :shock:

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Lights of the Isle of Wight

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Following the Lymington to Yarmouth Ferry out

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by Ianfs » 04 Sep 2018, 11:29

Met Office forecast was F3-4 WNW all the way, except the further we got from the IOW the wind grew stronger. It wasn’t long before we were in the Shipping lanes. There is no strict TSS (Traffic Separation Scheme) in this part of the channel but commercial vessels keep to col regs guide lines fairly well and stick to their lanes including the 10mile gap. I must say, AIS is a must in this area even if it is only to receive, the information about speed and distance, as well as whether or not a commercial vessel is on a collision course is a must.

Once passed the shipping we could see France first, Cap la Hague. I didn’t add that crossing the shipping lanes the wind had increased to F5-F6 and Nicky was really sick, I think my wife mad a good choice, she would have been screaming at the Needles…lol.
So with winds settling at F6 and sea state moderate to slightly rough we made Alderney in good time. The wind had shifted to a WSW by this time so the fairway to Braye Harbour was interesting, the waves seemed to be coming straight of the Atlantic and although long wavelength they had deep troughs and hit us beam on, good job Henri Lloyd and Gill, very dry.

The only harbour on Alderney is Braye, not very big but considering the population of about 2,000, its pretty good. The fairway is marked by two flashing light which are visible even during the daytime, line them up and you are safe from the surrounding rocks. It doesn’t have any walk ashore moorings so you have to pick up a Yellow mooring buoy, they are all numbered so when you call the Water Taxi they know where to collect you, I think £2 per person each way was a bit steep but hey, it was that or swim.

Leaving the Needles to our stern

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Shipping lanes. The ships look a long way off but considering the horizon at sea level is only about 2.5 mls, they are fairly close and with us at 7 knts and them at 20 knts its very easy to get complacent.

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The coast of France in the distance and Cap la Hague

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The only harbour on Alderney, Braye harbour

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These are flashing lights marking safe passage into the harbour and can be seen in daylight, if not then there is a white pinnacle on the inner harbour wall which can be lined up with the church spire on the hill.

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by ian h » 04 Sep 2018, 19:53

Good write up Ian,

How long did it take Marina to marina ?
have always wanted to do that in the Hunton. guess would not take that long :lol:
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by Ianfs » 05 Sep 2018, 09:22

Good write up Ian,

How long did it take Marina to marina ?

Thanks Ian, much appreciated.

Yachthaven, Lymington to Braye, Alderney took us 10 1/2 hrs all in all.

Had we left at around 04.00 hrs we would have had some fair tide of around 1-2 knts to the Needles and it would have been less than an hour to Bridge Buoy. Instead we decided to get up a little later at around 05.00 hrs to get a little more sleep and push against a foul tide. There was a full moon on the Sunday, therefore tides were running close to springs so we motor sailed to Bridge but with a tad over 3 knts through Hurst/Colwell Bay it took just over and hour and a half, we got there just after 07.00 hrs.

On a heading of 200° True the tide was pushing WSW, slightly against us, until we got to roughly mid way at slack then we got a little push from it turning ESE. We tried to get good speed from the Needles with the wind WNW and all the sails trimmed to within an inch of there lives, but pushing a little tide gave us an SOG averaging 5 knts which was not bad on a broad reach. However when the wind picked up later and the tide turned in our favour, the wind also shifted round to WSW, we had up to 9 knts SOG at times, then it changed again to SW :? . In hindsight, beating into wind at that speed in F5-6 and in those seas, in a mono hull can be uncomfortable and maybe should have eased on the sheets to make 4-7 knts.

Ian, if you could get a nice calm day I would say that you could easily make Braye from the Needles in about an hour and a half in Flying Thoroughbred, but then you could also make Guernsey in another 30mins if you got the tides right . :D
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by betty boop » 06 Sep 2018, 09:18

great read Ian well done, Your top of my list for sail training if we both live that long. I started positive as your friend has only 6 years experience by the end I'm having second thoughts on learn a new language to understand the lingo. :lol: We're still on blunt end pointy end - no the other left. :roll:
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