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Big tides in the race for Alderney and Jersey.

25th August 2011

Cherbourg and breakfasts in Jersey.


Before leaving Cherbourg and heading for Alderney, Jersey or Gurnsey we needed to adjust the wind vane at the top of the mast as it had spun in the strong winds as we were coming in.

Jersey up mast

The top of Cygnus III in Cherbourg

Aiden accepted the Kings shilling and with the help of Fergus and his rather large drill (don’t ask) he was hoisted to the top and repaired it. We were now ready to go again, well after a few drinks anyway. As much as we enjoyed Cherbourg it was time to move on.

I threw a dart at our son Jordan but it missed and stuck in a map of Alderney, one of the smaller Channel Islands. Oh well, you can’t have everything, maybe I will hit him next time. I knew we would have to pass the Cap de la Hague, a notorious area of the sea that has huge tides racing through it. Get it wrong and it is like to sticking your testicle into the emptying plug hole of a bath. You are going to be in a world of pain. Was I fazed by this? You bet I was?  The Danish couple at the side of us were going the same way and asked me of all people the best time to leave. I suggested ten minutes before us so that if they got in trouble we could see them floundering and do the honourable thing. Turn back.


Sailing through the Alderney race

I must have the timing right as leaving Cherbourg towards the Cap was something akin to women running for a shoe sale. It was mayhem with boats everywhere. We sailed through the Cap at 9 knots in 9 knots of wind which believe me is fast especially as the seas were as they say confused. It always makes me laugh the thought of confused seas “der, are we water, which way shall we go, shall we wait here, I’m all confused”.

Well we managed to survive and round the cap still in one piece and headed south down the Race of Alderney with the wind behind us. I then started to worry as all the other boats went west away from us. We were the only ones going south. I checked my “AA” map of Europe which didn’t help much. Oh well, we would hit land sometime.

Due to the wind direction a night at anchor in Alderney would have been pretty rough so we had changed our minds earlier and headed for Jersey or Guernsey (well a big bit of land somewhere south). It was supposed to be a ten-hour sail but with the tides and a rising wind we did it in eight.



Condor Ferry in Jersey

The entrance to St Helier on Jersey

The entrance to St Helier (it was Jersey) is strewn with those nasty boat eating things called rocks but we managed to miss them all. Of even more concern was the huge ferry in our way but as he wasn’t going to move we did. Just outside the harbour we were met by a very kind man in a dinghy who spoke to us in a language we could understand, English. He was trying to squeeze as many boats into the marina as he could. Angelina smiled and next thing he gave us our own berth whereas everyone else was rafting up. Then again it could have been the fact I mentioned there was some big expensive boats here and we didn’t steer very well in reverse unless I was going quiet fast.


 Jersey or is it little Britain?

Falling statue in Jersey

Don’t look up in Jersey or is it little Britain?

Considering its geographical position Jersey we felt like we had reached the Promised Land. Here they speak English, drive on the correct side of the road, have British TV, Marks and Spencer’s and even do a mean full English greasy spoon breakfast. It is that little corner of the world that shall be forever England. The trouble is that it is too English and we came away to explore other cultures. We have to move on but before we do, like a condemned man I will just have to have one or two more breakfasts. Whilst here I decided to get my hair cut by someone who could understand what I actually wanted doing. They obviously share jobs here as the woman who cut it was also the cultural attache to Jersey. I mentioned the park to which she replied “If you mean the bit of grass, concrete statue and drunks that hang out there”. I mentioned the weather “it’s OK if you like sun”, I mentioned the long golden beaches “If you have seen one you have seen them all”. I did ask why she was here and she said she couldn’t afford to move anywhere else. Maybe she should holiday in Ramsgate? Jersey would look like the hanging gardens of Babylon after a couple of days there..


Angelina and the hole

Hole-d on a minute.

Jersey for us was shorts and T-shirt time even though mine has got baked bean juice down it from the big boys English breakfasts. We even took the local bus around the Island in temperatures of 28 degrees, (if you had forgotten that means the sun is out and it’s bloody hot), hoping off at various points to see what was there. We stocked up on essentials like chicken, proper sausages, bacon, beer and even more beer. We even got duty-free fuel but it is time to get back to the real French France. Next stop is Brittany which is further south, full of rocks, massive tides, natural beauty and a place we are really looking forward too. I have heard that even the locals of Brittany do not like the French very much. Sounds like my kind of place although I will miss the breakfasts in Jersey.

Drinks in Jersey

Drinks in Jersey

If you want to see more of our photographs of Jersey they can be found here.



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