We left St Peter Port up Little Russel. The tides were incredible. Fortunately we were pointing in the right direction! The approach to Alderney was quite technical with a number of transits to take into account but we successfully moored up in the SE corner of Braye harbour. Although I had been to Alderney before, where it had p!ssed it down the entire time, it was good to see that the weather was a little better.
Aside from catching some seaweed and taking in some fine sunshine the weak easterlies meant we motored sailed much of the way back to Guernsey. We rafted up in St Peter Port, it being invaded by a French flotilla. We didn’t want to return to Guernsey since we’d been there twice already on this trip but it was necessary. The highlight was discovering an Indian restaurant in town, which Linda, Jon and I rated as perhaps the best curry we had ever had!
We anchored up at Creux harbour and as the sun went down Tim and I nipped ashore for a quick exploration and then back again to spend an evening of getting drunk whilst at anchor. We explored intellectual topics – just how fishy is fish from the north sea – and looked at the stars.
What didn’t help, however, was the autohelm playing havoc with the steering. It kept locking up! It was starting to get so bad that it was taking over the steeting of Barnacle Bill, often pointing us in the direction of immediate danger. As we approached the south of Sark, heading towards an eastern cardinal warning us of very shallow water, we decided to take drastic action.
You can tell from the crew photos that this trip was a bit of a giggle. In fact it was a complete scream, but the emphasis, for me at least, was to learn much about navigation. This was due to Jon’s methodical and considered approach to passage planning and sailing, but when you own a boat like Barnacle Bill then you’re going to be a proper sailor, aren’t you? This boat is a real head-turner!
Whilst spending a pleasant afternoon walking round St Peter Port minding my own business I stumble across Sam and 5 other volunteers with the local town crier outside the town hall.
Each is taking it in turns to don a three pointed hat, ring a hand bell and shout at the top of their voices “Oh yey, oh yey…..”
Remember that whilst we’d like to believe boating should be for everyone it’s still a rich-man’s sport, so when a bunch of reprobates turn up in a home-made cement boat and moor up next to some bling bling million dollar yacht we’re not exactly greeted with open arms. At first this bothered me. It bothered me that we didn’t look the part and it bothered me that we didn’t have leather hand-stitched upholstery and a fridge that prevents the smell of ripe Camembert to fill the entire boat as soon as one opens the fridge door.
After tempers had dropped we all apologised to each other, including poor Lorraine who I think felt partly responsible for the incident, though it wasn’t her fault. It was no one’s fault, it was just a learning process but we very quickly learned that Sam’s temper can be short under stressful situations. Personally I kind of expected this and don’t have a problem with it, but I’m worried about Conny and Lorraine. Conny actually asked Sam to be more patient with us, and to Sam’s credit he apologised and said that he understood we wouldn’t learn anything with him shouting at us. Let’s hope it was a one-off incident.
Alderney is a Channel Island where it rains a lot. However the beer is good so we hit a couple of cosy snubs in St Annes and supped local ale. Back on the boat I cooked beans on toast, making it four days in a row that I’ve been chef.