Our first English Channel crossing takes us from Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg in France.

flags up

01 August 2019

11:00 Departing Yarmouth under power in fine weather, with SW wind of around 15 knots and calm seas.

13:00 Past the Needles. Engine off, sails up.

15:30 Altered course to avoid helicopter exercises. Just heard securite warning about unexploded ordnance on a beach on the Isle of Wight; oh well, we’re heading away from it anyway.

17:00 This is shaping up to be a beautiful sail. The wind has picked up a little but the sea remains calm. There are several other sailboats that all seem to have the same idea as us.

to cherbourg

20:00 We’re more or less in between the TSSs, and traffic is now very heavy. There was one container going east which so big that it looked, far in the distance, like an island. Checked passage notes and chart to make sure I hadn’t made a hideous mistake and pointed us towards the Channel Islands, but still on track.

22:30 Most traffic now behind us. We’ve just raised our first courtesy flag and I am marvelling at the magic of steering a course with tides. The log tells it all – we’ve gone off the line on the chart to one side, then arced back and crossed over, before returning to exactly the point we intended to reach – all without altering our heading significantly. The first time that happens, it’s like an affirmation of faith.

02 August 2019

02:00 In sight of land.

05:00 Wind dead, engine on for the last push.

07:30 We’re entering Cherbourg harbour at the end of what has been the perfect passage for us.

09:20 (BST) Tied up in Port Chantereyne. The French really know how to treat sailors – we’re greeted with a welcome pack containing edible goodies and bags for recycling, everything you could possibly need may be found somewhere around the marina, and it costs only around EUR 22 per night for Amneris. We crossed the English Channel! Just a shame my French is so poor now we’re here.


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