This year 8 cruisers, Restless, Coolbreeze, Shahin, Ciel Bleu, Diva, Reef Runner and Sao joined up for a 2-week cruise to Cherbourg and the Channel Islands. The planned date for the crossing was Monday 3rd July, but Diva, Reef Runner and Sao took advantage of a weather window and crossed earlier. The remaining 5 boats left from the eastern end of the Solent early in the morning and headed into a SSW 5-6 for a crossing best described as wet, windy, wild and exciting. Restless’s genoa parted company at the head and so they needed to motor-sail for most of the crossing, much to the consternation of Ciel Bleu behind who wondered how we could point so high when their best course was taking them to St Vaast, which is where they ended up.


Tuesday 4th saw Restless, Shahin, Fulmar and Coolbreeze resting up in Cherbourg, whilst Diva and Reef Runner made an early start to Alderney and St Peter port in Guernsey respectively. Restless halyard was repaired. At times like this you appreciate what a good bunch we have in the club.


Wednesday brought with it perfect conditions for the trip to Guernsey, with a following wind which allowed us to goose-wing for most of the passage from Cap St Haag to the little Russell. Restless’s newly fitting AIS couldn’t quite cope with the fact that the course steered and course over ground were about 30 degrees different and several times tried to warn us that we were in danger of colliding with ourselves! Coolbreeze and Fulmar left Guernsey early, and as the tides dictated that heading South they would arrive at low water, meaning a long wait to enter Victoria Marina, they decided that a couple of hours on Sark was a pleasant diversion. They shared the last free mooring in Havre Gosselin and Dave, John and Nigel and climbed the steep cliff path to enjoy the spectacular views and an ice cream in the village.


Thursday was another rest day for most of us, giving the chance to explore St Peter Port, except for Ciel Bleu who caught up with the rest of the party. We had organised a meal at the Guernsey Yacht Club that evening, with impromptu drinks in the cockpits of Restless and Shahin who were rafted together. By this stage there were 23 of us, and part of the exercise was to see how many you can put into the cockpit of a Konsort without water coming in through the cockpit drain holes.


The meal at GYC was excellent. Some if us thought it a considerable improvement over the meal we had had in town the previous evening. Full marks to Pat and her team at the club for making us welcome and doing everything to make our meal a success. We exchanged burgees with the club, and next time anyone is in Guernsey I am sure you will receive a warm welcome.


On Friday Nigel and John headed back home on Coolbreeze, and with a short stop at Cherbourg managed to get back to Chichester Harbour on Saturday. Meanwhile Restless headed over to Sark to pick up a mooring at Havre Gosselin.


Saturday, and Diva and Coolbreeze joined Restless at Sark for a lunchtime stop before heading further south to Jersey, with Shahin sailing direct to Jersey from Guernsey. John and Gerry on Restless liked Sark so much that they spend the rest of the day exploring the island before return to the mooring for a second night. Sark is a wonderful little place, and if you every get the chance to visit do not turn it down.


Restless left Sark on Sunday morning in light winds and headed for Alderney. Half way there and a fog bank rolled in from the west. Fortunately, there was little other shipping in the area, and with the help of the radar and AIS we made a safe passage, with the fog finally clearing as we passed along the east coast of Alderney. This is another lovely island, but it was Sunday and best described as shut!


Up until now we had experienced very good weather with light decided winds and blue sky. The forecast, however, was for a short spell of unsettled weather with heavy rain and gusts up to F7 on Tuesday and Wednesday, so we opted to leave Alderney on Monday morning and head back for Cherbourg. Meanwhile the rest of the fleet started their return from Jersey, and sheltered in Guernsey, making the trip back to Cherbourg on Wednesday and Thursday. Arriving in Cherbourg we met with Colin and Lesley on Sao, and a playful dolphin following the marina rib. The forecast rain and wind did materialise, so we remained securely tied up while it passed over.


By Thursday there were 5 Langstone boats in Cherbourg, Restless, Shahin, Sao, Diva and Reef Runner. No match for the annual Tour des Port du Manche, with around 100 boats in the marina, showing us how the French raft up.

11 of us assembled for the final group meal at the Port Chantereyne Yacht Club.

Fulmar, now with Dave and Paul, continued to the French coast. On Thursday they sailed to Isle de Batz and dropped anchor near the village awaiting a rise of tide to enter the harbour that evening. Alas they were suffering from engine problems, and on Friday (Bastille Day) put into the Marina at Roscoff on Bastille day and after calling in a marine engineer and with a new filter and fuel pipe installed, they were able to depart for Lezadrieux another beautiful river. Finally they returned to the UK via Guernsey, Weymouth and Yarmouth crossing the Channel under sail in less than 13 hours (71 Nm).


We all made our way independently back to England. The conditions on Friday were almost perfect for the crossing with steady westerly F4-5 and only a slight swell, so we managed to make the passage under sail, but well reefed. Even so, making 4-5 knots it is a long journey, and Restless finally arrived home in Gosport at 5 o'clock on Saturday morning. Diva made better time, and with an earlier start made the Hamble at 8pm on Friday.


In summary - A great little cruise. Can’t wait for the next one!!!


If you are planning to go on a Cruiser Rally be sure to make a note of the organiser's mobile phone number.  This will usually be published on the booking form and on the web site.  

If you have a DSC Radio the club's group MMSI is  023200117.  Don't forget to key it into your set to ensure you have it if you need it!

Monitor Channels 16 & 77 (Dual-Scan) for VHF communications.