Posted by: Scanstrut | July 20, 2012

Windswept and Wet – The Tale of the Channel Crossing

Our Global sales co-ordinator Sarah took a week out of the office to sail across the channel last week and here is her side of the story…..

Windswept and wet!  That doesn’t sound like the start of a relaxed tale across the water, but from my experiences last week I don’t think sailing across the channel is anything less than a challenge at the best of times!  I took a week’s holiday to take part in the Offshore week race across the English Channel, over to the French coast and around the Channel Islands.

Usually used to sailing in the warm (and mainly calm) waters of the Med, I had a feeling the English Channel would be a little different! Our first leg over to Guernsey was in-fact calm for the Channel, a little foggy at times and some close encounters with a few cargo ships meant that there was plenty to look out for!

Looking back on the week, this was merely a chance to get acclimatised to offshore sailing, as this was the lightest wind and slightest sea conditions we were to experience all week! We had a wild journey over to France with steady 25+ knots of breeze and a big sea running as we headed for sunny St. Quay! It was great to see the sight of land and enjoy a rewarding ‘bier’ on arrival on French soil!

Sunny arrival in St. Quay

Our flotilla moored in St.Quay

Our best port of call was the town of Paimpol, which we entered through lock gates, and moored Mediterranean style ‘stern-to’ ready for our fancy dress party! A rather raucous night on the quayside that must have had the locals thinking we were the mad English!

Pontoon party!

The end of our week saw our strongest winds with 36 knots (4 knots short of a gale!) of wind heading over to Jersey with a huge rolling sea of at least 4 meters in height, meant for a very wild arrival into Jersey. Wild but brilliant as we were almost guided in by a pod of dolphins!! Sadly no photos of this moment, as I was far too keen to watch them surfing along with our bow wave at 8/9 knots downwind.

Moving steadily towards home, our last race was from Guernsey finishing at the Channel Light Vessel (a large red boat like a floating light house moored in the Channel!). Despite being a four-hour race, it was very close and all of our hard work racing during the week came down to the last day, with minutes in it, we sailed to our first Offshore Week victory!! It was wild and exciting (sometimes too exciting!) but a brilliant week and to return to Torquay in ‘first’ place was fantastic and secures us at least one prize at the end of the season! A fantastic experience, and now I feel like a ‘real’ sailor having survived the wild seas of the Channel!

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