Unfortunately I was made to sleep in the saloon, which was odd since there was a spare bunk at the back of the boat. It didn’t really bother me until I realised I hadn’t brought any sleeping gear with me! Ooops – school boy error. The one pain in the ass feature with the drop keel is the big column that sticks up in the middle of the saloon – the drop keel. And when I say pain the ass I mean it. The first time I eased myself down the steps backwards into the saloon I dropped straight onto the steel column, smashing my coccyx. Another school boy error!
This trip was a very odd one. For starters I’m not sure I was invited. It was skippered by an old boy who, despite lots of experience, should not really have been sailing. But more importantly with hindsight I realise that some of the mistakes that happened could just have easily been blamed on myself. Let me explain some more.
We sailed back to Dover the next day with little to report. Tired but elated we had a great time aboard Barnacle Bill. She had behaved very well and was a real pleasure to sail. Acting as first mate to Jon’s skippering was also a fantastic experience too, so my thanks go out to him for his patience and knowledge! Linda and Jon – come over to Turkey soon!
We slipped the lines at 10am, making the most of the strong tides that run around Alderney Race, though this was nothing like our outward journey. We had the steering back for one thing! After passing Cherbourg we turned the engine off to find that we were doing roughly one knot through the water due to changing tides. Five knots of wind and fed up with the engine on… spinnaker anyone?
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!