Floptilla report herewith. I think I have succeeded in making it significantly shorter than last year
Day 1 - Monday 18th June
Having planned for an early departure (circa 10am) Into the Red finally slipped her lines from Dinard, en route to Jersey, and if conditions allowed it, onto Jersey. Unfortunately the conditions did not allow, the stiff force 5 gusting much higher made speedy progress difficult, but we managed to average just over 15 knots up until 3 miles short of St. Helier when the conditions worsen significantly, and we were reduced to crawling through what rapidly became 3m+ waves. Having refuelled in La Collette, we made the decision not to press on, and so spent the night in St. Helier.
Day 2 – Tuesday 19th June
Got up early and headed down to the boat which was waiting on the holding pontoon. After an impromptu argument with some French yachties, we set off, bound for Braye. We made our first ever routine passage plan call to the coastguard on the fixed set, giving a 150 minute time on route estimate. We rounded the breakwater soon after two o’clock, but unfortunately the tides were not contusive to recovery that evening and so we tied Into the Red onto a buoy in the outer harbour, and inflated the dinghy in order to pootle into to the pontoon.
Day 3/4/5 – Wednesday/Thursday/Friday 20th/21st/22nd
Recovered Into the Red Wednesday morning onto the trailer, before heading over to Longis bay. Seajay became rather hot pulling her all that way! Over the next couple of days we fitted the new AIS transponder with the expert help of Alderney Marine. On Friday morning we put her back in the water, just as La Frette turned up, with Matt on board, still longing for his Martini back. In the afternoon, Blue Ray, Grimalkin and the jetski Blow’n’away turned up reporting a fair crossing but yet the least pleasant in 4 years. The evening was spent at the chippy, before the party retired to the Divers.
Day 6 – Saturday 23rd
It was decided over breakfast that the morning would consist of a walk around the southern cliff path. Rick and Angus from Blue Ray declined the invitation, and instead went for a flight around the island in David’s plane. The weather continually brightened, and many of the party came away pretty sunburnt! The afternoon consisted of a tour by boat, with even Paul coming out on the jetski, we went around anti clockwise this year and stopped to look at the sights we had seen from the cliff that morning. Most people took a ride on other people’s boats which gave everyone a flavour how other people drove and how the different boats performed. The barbeque (resplendent with "jetski burgers" no less) at Martins house went down very well, the home grown asparagus and Alderney butter especially and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
Day 7 – Sunday 24th
With no-one due to return to the south coast, Blue Ray, Into the Red, Grimalkin and Blow’n’away assembled on the water at around 10 o’clock, with plans having been made the previous night for sailing to Guernsey and subsequently Herm. The crossing was fairly easy, strong winds but light conditions in most places, and localised patches of very rough weather meant that the ribs slowed to 20 knts to try and ease the strain on Paul a little. Lunch in St. Peter Port was most enjoyable, with the company splitting and Grimalkin David going to the pub. As we entered the port, the harbour master got very upset with the ‘ski, since there is a blanket ban on PWC movements within the harbour, it was most entertaining to hear the silly little siren, accompanied by the silly little man waving his arms! The situation was resolved by Blue Ray towing him in. By the time we had arrived on Herm, it was time to pitch tent, and so we climbed the hill and erected the canvas, before going down to the bottom for dinner, after which we returned to the tents by taking the cliff walk.
Day 8 – Monday 25th
We set off fairly early with a day trip to Jersey in mind. The calm water with long rolling swells meant that 30knts was easily achievable, with Paul leaving the ‘ski on the buoy and coming aboard Into the Red. After a fill up in Gorey harbour, we headed under the direction of Keith (who had come down that morning) to Bouley Bay where we all enjoyed a lunch of hearty proportions! After a visit to an Echrous, and having dropped Keith off at Bouley, we headed back to Herm for the night.
Day 9 – Tuesday 26th
The party split for the final time, Blue Ray, Blow’n’away and Grimalkin heading back to Alderney with the prospect of a meal at the Braye Beach hotel in mind. Into the Red then headed back to Guernsey for two nights
Day 10/11 – Wednesday/Thursday 27th/28th
A day trip to Sark on Wednesday brought fun and laughs from family conveniently timing their holiday there, before we departed after sandwiches bound for Ile de Brehat. The benign conditions meant that David maintained an average of over 30knts. Upon arrival we picked up a buoy from some Guernseyers in La Corderie, and motored in aboard the dinghy, pitching tent in the woods and enjoying a meal in town.
Day 12 – Friday 29th
We spent all day on the island, and cycled to the most northern point, it is completely different to any of the Channel Islands and it is a most spooky place because during the day it is heaving with people, but as soon as the last boat of the evening departs the quay, the place is dead. It is however well worth a visit from any visiting ribber in the Channel Islands.
Day 13 – Saturday 30th
Finally bound for home, we upped tent and set sail for St. Quay where we enjoyed a nice lunch under a cloudless blue sky which we were told was the first day of nice weather all summer! The balmy conditions deteriorated into a light chop which Into the Red preferred to attack at pace in order to remain her composure, so a 35knt cruising speed was established. Once home, we waited on the pontoon for our mooring to become afloat, and unloaded the reams and reams of gear that we had taken on board. Finally Into the Red was returned to her buoy and her covers put on, in anticipation of the next time she takes to the waves...
Photos to be added soon.