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Andy135

First time channel crossing from Jersey to Poole

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I'm viewing a boat for sale in Jersey on Monday. There is the possibility that if all goes well I may be in a position to simply drive her back. My outline passage plan would be Jersey to Poole, refuel then follow the coast back to Portsmouth.

 

But I've never done a channel crossing before. I would be flying solo, and in a new-to-me boat that I won't have done much water time on. Clearly this is not an ideal situation to be in. What advice and guidance can PBSBAC members offer as to what I should be aware of on the crossing; freighters (obviously!), tides, changing weather conditions etc. If I do it, I will have my PLB with me.

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I've done over 40 channel crossings, and there's a number of things that might prove to be a "stopper"...

  • Jersey might still be in Covid-19 lockdown, and mandatory 14-day quarantine when you get there;
  • Are you convinced the boat is offshore capable by design (RCD Category B, for example);
  • Will your insurance cover you for the trip?
  • Will you have undertaken sufficient sea trials to have assured yourself all equipment works reliably?
  • Do you have sufficient spares, experience and safety gear for the entire trip, given that in the middle you'll be 30 miles from land;
  • Who do you really expect to rescue you if things go wrong, and you're out of VHF and mobile phone range? Remember that the French will charge you to be rescued, if you're in their "half" of the Channel, and you get rescued via your PLB alert.
  • Tides: You really want to hit the Alderney Race on slack, or the very start of the flood tide. Ideally on a neaps. It can be evil else;
  • Weather: You need a calm spell. Many club boats have been across, a F4 in the wrong direction can take you off planing speeds, and trip duration and fuel consumption will suffer.
  • Fuel: You need to guarantee having enough fuel for main and reserve engines for the entire trip, and it's best to assume the wind will turn against you, and displacement speeds  as contingency;
  • Daylength: Jersey is littered with crab pots and submerged marker buoys dragged under by the tides. The edge of the Normandy coast is similar. If you do pick one up, what's your plan for clearing the prop?
  • Departure window: if you're in a marina in Jersey, the marina probably has a sill, meaning you can only leave half tide or above, which might impact your timing of arrival at the Alderney Race.
  • Visibility: You will probably have the speed to go round the stern of shipping in the Shipping Lanes, but if visibility is poor and you don't have radar or AIS, then you're effectively blind. You might have to delay departure until visibility improves, meaning you'll probably need accommodation on the island (see above for Covid-19 concerns).
  • Autohelm: Unless you have an autohelm, a 100 mile plus trip like that will be a challenge to concentration.

There's other points that you will think of as well.

 

I'd look to have it popped onto a transporter and ferried back to the UK, if any of the above items are of concern. 

 

Mike

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Mike, thank you for taking the time to share such a comprehensive list. Appreciated.

 

Regarding your point on weather... what wind direction would be considered undesirable?

 

As for the remainder of your points - all noted. None are overly concerning apart from the fact that it will be a new-to-me boat without the confidence in the equipment that comes from multiple short trips near a safe haven, and you've hit the nail on the head about what happens if I need a rescue 30 miles out - this is the big issue for me, given that I wouldn't have a buddy boat. Definitely food for thought...

 

My fall-back plan is to hire a boat trailer (the boat in question will just about fit on a large trailer) and go back to pick it up, then take it back on the Portsmouth ferry. As I type it... this seems a much more sensible plan! 👍

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Hi Andy

You may need to give a little more detail of the boat and equipment carried so that we can help you out, but Mikes advice is very solid.

What size boat

No Engines

Nav Equipment onboard

safety equipment onboard

Tried well maintained and tested

 

Have you the knowledge?

Is the boat and engine fit for the journey without a buddy boat

The direct line from Jersey to Poole takes you up through the passage between Alderney and France, tides are fierce in those areas, as can be the seas.

 

We do not usually do straight passages, and the fishing adds a lot to the fuel consumption, but it is a long way from Jersey to Poole or the Solent so that has to be one major concern. Bad weather one year on return from Alderney added 50% to the expected time for the crossing and fuel burnt. So much so that one boat ran out in Swanage Bay.

Using a more direct line from the North end of the Race to the East end of the Isle of Wight may mean that you could pick up more of the Flood tide to reduce fuel burnt, but it makes that leg a long one if I was going that way I would go into the outer harbour at Cherbourg and top up.

 

Alderney and Cherbourg are currently closed to visitors so adding fuel on route may be a very hard. calling in to a sheltered bay while adding from drums just prior to crossing may need to be added to your passage planning.

 

I have done that passage many times on a training boat, it is not something to take lightly

Do not want to be doom and gloom, but my son has just bought a boat that appeared in very good nick but has some gremlins with the engine and fuel system that were not expected. Fine in Swanage Bay, not good in the Alderney race or mid channel.

 

Plan well and stay safe

 

Charlie

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Charlie - these are exactly the sort of questions I was hoping for - thanks. They're helping me to see that it's unrealistic to do it on my own, in an untested boat, without a buddy boat, without any prior experience of the crossing. You and Mike have provided the sound voices of experience that I was asking for. They have helped to clarify my options for getting the boat back (assuming I purchase it). Many thanks.

 

It's the trailer + ferry option for me. 😊

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Good choice Andy, now if you could spend say a week on Jersey taking the boat out plenty getting to know it then it would be a lot less risk.

 

VAT! If the boat was bought new in Jersey they may not have paid VAT, that would be due when bringing it back to the UK. Could be an unwelcome extra cost, it's always a question when selling boats in the UK.

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38 minutes ago, Steve S said:

Good choice Andy, now if you could spend say a week on Jersey taking the boat out plenty getting to know it then it would be a lot less risk.

 

VAT! If the boat was bought new in Jersey they may not have paid VAT, that would be due when bringing it back to the UK. Could be an unwelcome extra cost, it's always a question when selling boats in the UK.

 

Yep, I'm going into this with my eyes open. Sadly there will be VAT to pay.

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32 minutes ago, Newboy said:

Can't you get the seller to deliver it and pay him for expenses?

If he says yes, that means he has confidence of the boat covering the channel.

 

This is a good suggestion. The seller has done the crossing a few times already in his previous boats. Definitely an option to consider... 

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3 hours ago, Andy135 said:

 

This is a good suggestion. The seller has done the crossing a few times already in his previous boats. Definitely an option to consider... 

Get him to come over with you, and you can familiarise the boat further.

Put him up on a b&b or stick him straight on the plane back,

Assuming there's no quarantine when back on the island.

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4 hours ago, great white said:

Great lines and must go well with that lump on the Transom

 

Let me guess that it was a quick crossing, but how much fuel?

 

She looks great, have lots of fun with her

 

The skipper took it gently at around 25kts. It took him just over 4 hours. Need to check how much fuel is left in the tanks as I didn't remember to check during the handover.

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1 hour ago, Maverick said:

That is a thing of beauty, wishing you many happy fishy hours aboard her.

 

Where is that dry stack?

 

Thanks Martin,  I happen to agree 😍

 

Dry stack is in Gosport.

 

Here's a vid of the cockpit area for those that are interested.

 

 

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On 9/3/2020 at 1:21 PM, great white said:

Great lines and must go well with that lump on the Transom

 

Let me guess that it was a quick crossing, but how much fuel?

 

She looks great, have lots of fun with her

Checked the tanks on the weekend. About 150 litres used out of 300l capacity, so for a 120-ish NM trip that's around 1.25l per NM. 

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