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Cruise 8 - 15 June 2019

Channel Islands Cruise I

The main challenge and attraction of sailing in the Channel Islands is the large tidal range and strong tidal currents. Get the calculations wrong and either shoot past the desired destination or not be able to make enough progress to get there at all! As it turned out the tides worked in our favour pretty much all week with no outrageously early starts or late finishes. At some points during the week we were breaking into double digits speed over the ground!

We started off in Jersey and made our first sail to Derrible Bay, an anchorage just off Sark. The day started off calm but the wind built during the day to give us enough to sail without the motor. For some of the crew, it was the first sail with the new Yankee, which performed excellently. We arrived at Sark with enough time enjoy the fantastic scenery with a pre-dinner drink in the cockpit.

Leaving Sark for Alderney with the tidal currents assisting we were making rapid progress. A bit of a blow was expected in the early hours of the morning, so we took refuge in Braye Harbour. We took the opportunity to have a walk around St Anne and sample the local beer.

The Channel Pilot had promised the best cream tea in the Channel Islands could to be found on Sark. We made a plan and left Alderney via The Swinge, anchoring on the western coast in La Grande Gréve. The shore party, in search of the promised treasure, landed at the foot of La Coupée - a very tall cliff which is the location of the instantly recognisable, Instagrammable view of Sark. There were what seemed like a thousand steps up to the top of the cliff. With great perseverance, the shore party scaled them. At the top we met a local who reliably informed us that what we sought was a 15 minute walk down the road on Little Sark.  We arrived at the tea rooms and were not disappointed.  Fresh scones served with Jersey cream and fresh strawberries, worth the effort to find completely.

We hopped over to St Helier on Guernsey to replenish supplies and take advantage of the shopping opportunities and a meal ashore. Leaving Guernsey offered the chance to navigate the Russell Channel. The marks are outrageously large and each has it's own history. We anchored in another bay on Sark, this time on the North-East coast in La Gréve de la Ville.

Our return to Jersey was via St Brelade's Bay for ice cream. The large tidal range meant we had to haul the tender quite a way up the beach, on our return we saw a slightly more tricked out tender from another boat. We will start petitioning for upgrades to BB's tender!

All in all an excellent week of sailing. Would recommend anyone visiting if they have the chance. If you're a bit of a tea and cake connoisseur, cream tea on Sark is not to be missed!

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Matt Ledger

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