The Channel Islands

I’m alone from now on. Zoli’s time was coming to the end, he had to go home unfortunately from Cherbourg. Before he left we managed to visit a nice anchorage around, spent a night on the hook, woken up by the uncomfortable swell rolling in the wavebreaker.
This is the land of tides. One of the biggest tide differences found here, around north France and the Channel islands. It is mad, the water rushes around the small capes with an incredible 10 knots of speed. If you consider, that Psyremas top speed is around 7 and realistically we usually do average 4.5 you get the picture. You have to rather plan your departure, and if you once dropped the line there is no way back as simply the currents did not let you turn.
Psyrema hobbyhorseing quietly at the same anchorage we have been a few days ago, I’m prepared for some extreme sailing, carefully planned, wind, tide, timing is all set. It is quite amazing that while for me takes days to find out how to tackle this treacherous sea,  the local primary school is out with the kids on Optimists. If they drift away it will be rather hard to sail the small thing back. No question why france is soo good in offshore sailing, basically they are the best possibly in all sort of sailing… they start early, this juniors could be no more than 8years old, and already feeling safe between rock, overfalls, 6 knots of currents and a steady blow. Respect.
The sun is almost up it is time to crank the engine on, long way to go in front of us. Not even 500meters later my autopilots clutch broke away.  Rather unlucky start for the Alderney Race, the legendary current wrecked so many boats already.. turning back is not an option, the flow is already so strong, that the only direction to sail is towards the islands. Rounding the corner next to the cape, the real race kicks in, we are going almost 9knots with hardly any sails, the tide is drifting us more or less to the right direction.. the sea is rough, overfalls and breakers everywhere, rocks after rocks… an hour later as planned the water turns towards Guernsey. The effect is unbelievable, all the waves and chop disappeared, the sea become flat while blinked, no more roaring noise, I’m flying like a rocket towards my destination.
Six hours later preparing the fenders and mooring lines already, the marina is a stone throw away but nature reminds me once again who is the king, the tide turns just before I managed to sail in… usually there is a slack period between the stream change but here it is measured in seconds. I’m drifting backwards. Engine is on once again, all sails out, still hardly any progress. Within a few hours I managed to make the last half mile… incredible.
Guernsey is lovely. A bit like the UK but way more relaxed. The scenery is stunning and the people are friendly. I could spend days watching the local guys playing petanque next to the harbour or wandering around the island. The sun is warm and the sea between the rocks is a touch bluer than the one in England which makes me already happy. Unfortunately I could not stay long as the weather window will close on me. It is time to go back to France and continue to west and south. The hardest bits are still ahead of me…

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