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Old 09 May 2011, 12:55   #61
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Erm, no!

Why would anyone quote (wrongly) the full title of the Queen of England?? If I knew you were this easy to wind up I would have been doing it ages ago.

Good work That Man, research is vital. He'll be 18 next year and then it's Open Season
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Old 09 May 2011, 14:32   #62
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An excellent account of our trip from Erin: I would have done one myself but am only now getting over the aches caused by the somewhat bumpy solo Le Havre - Poole crossing on 30 April (the day on which - I see from another thread - some way further West The Scillonian was unable to dock in Penzance!). I had estimated it as a F5 but it may well have been more. Certainly, in the middle of the Channel, the waves were the height of the boat. The only respite was a few minutes in the lee of the Brittany Ferry Mont St Michel which I overtook on a virtually identical course about half way across (and actually latched onto its mobile 'phone network!).

A few additional points to add that may assist anyone looking to replicate the journey in the future:

• A wi-fi enabled laptop (or two) proved very useful in checking the weather forecast and booking the next day's onward accommodation. All the hotels we stayed in had wi-fi available either for free or at €1 per hour.

• Not all English debit/credit cards yet work in self-service unattended petrol stations and most stations seem to set a maximum spend limit per card. A good idea is to have two debit and two credit cards to which recourse can be had …… and notify your credit card company/bank that you are going abroad to prevent the cards being blocked. It takes about as long to fill in the paperwork for two boats to stay in the marina in Paris as to unblock a single credit card with Barclaycard!

• Research the time that you leave the marina in Paris: traffic is only permitted one way downstream past Ile St Louis and the permitted direction changes every half hour. We only just made it with minutes to spare thanks to a rather hasty departure (which could have been less hasty had the paperwork for two boats to stay in the marina been less long-winded!).

• Don't exceed the speed limit when entering Port de L'Ilon: it upsets the locals!

• Whilst everyone we met was (with the exception of the locals at Port de L'Ilon) particularly friendly and helpful (from harbourmasters to taxi drivers, gendarmes, hotel staff, waiters, barge skippers and lock-keepers) it must be said that an ability to speak at least some basic French is very helpful.

• For reasons that are unknown the VHF channels operated at the locks are duplex channels. You can't therefore, hear any of the other boats: only the lock-keeper's side of the conversation. Given the lack of use of proper radio protocol, it is very difficult to know to whom the lock-keeper is talking - although nobody seemed to mind particularly.

Finally, thanks again to Channel Ribs and Duck Witch for putting us up and feeding us and for their back-room support as we went along. I had hoped to say thank-you in person on the return trip but the small weather window enforced a direct crossing back rather than going back via Alderney.

David
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Old 09 May 2011, 15:53   #63
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... thanks again to Channel Ribs and Duck Witch for putting us up and feeding us. And for their back-room support as we went along. I had hoped to say thank-you in person on the return trip, but the small weather window enforced a direct crossing back rather than going back via Alderney.

... only now getting over the aches caused by the somewhat bumpy solo Le Havre - Poole crossing on 30 April (the day on which - I see from another thread - some way further West The Scillonian was unable to dock in Penzance!).
No trouble at all, you are quite welcome to wait out a tide or three any time.
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Old 09 May 2011, 15:55   #64
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He'll be 18 next year
I see the Wilkdar is working well, how is the wall chart coming on?
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Old 09 May 2011, 16:04   #65
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Last installment.....

Day 8 - The final stretch of the river.

Although upon leaving Paris it had seemed rather a long way back to the sea, each leg of river seemed shorter than on our inbound. The increased speed helped, and also the fact that we knew the way now. Oddly, however, we seemed to encounter far more river debris on this final stretch, generally in clusters. We were either completely oblivious to it on the way up, or it had somehow been released from the banks that morning. Both boats had near misses and a few light clonks as we tried to dodge the worst of it, but fortunately no damage was done. We passed a few more commercial vessels including something producing the biggest wake I think I’ve seen in a long time.

We got back to Le Havre and clocked in with the Capitain, who remembered us from our previous stay (fortunately ‘sans’ Gendarmes this time). For the sheer hell of it we decided we’d go to Honfleur for dinner to see what all the fuss is about. It’s quite a long way by road, and even worse when you have a cabby who learnt his driving skills on a dodgem car rink. The Tancarville bridge is, however, just as spectacular crossing over it as under, though we were a little nervous when the driver seemed to be taking a bit of a run up to it in his old Renault minibus whilst in the slipstream of a caravan. We made it over safely, and the driver (a non-French national) insisted he take us to a couple of tourist view points on the headland. He even stopped his meter running! Honfleur really is quite pretty and I will go back (though possibly by road rather than water). The place is full of restaurants with far too many to choose from, although we were given a good tip-off by the driver. It is still possible to get some excellent value meals even though the exchange rate is nothing like it used to be.

We had been keeping a keen eye on the weather forecasts in preparation for our return sea crossings and things weren’t looking too good. Again the forecasts were at odds with each other with the predictions changing almost hourly. The winds were up to a F5 in the channel with a small window of F4 early Saturday, with the only consolation being that it was easterly. After a bit of careful checking of the tidal atlas we determined that both wind and tide would be together for a good part of our respective journeys (Avocet to Poole and us to Jersey) and it was resolved to leave about 0900 Saturday morning. I really didn’t fancy the idea of going round Cap de la Hague in a F4 wind against tide. Matt was clearly also a little nervous about doing 110 sea miles in a boat 2m shorter than his, and when the wind seemed to die on Friday evening he was all up for a night passage. In retrospect I’m confident we made the right decision by waiting ‘til the following morning.

Day 9 – Saturday

We woke up to a rather cloudy overcast day with a bit of a breeze showing on the flags. We’d filled our tanks with enough fuel for our return crossings the night before, so jumped on board, said our goodbyes and set sail. Within moments of leaving the harbour we were engulfed in a real pea-souper. The sea state was better than expected though and according to the AIS there luckily weren’t too many other vessels around. Although an AIS receiver is no substitute for radar, it does give some reassurance that you’ll be able to avoid anything over 300 tons! We tried to make as much progress while the going was good (possibly at a slightly greater speed than my passengers would have liked) and passed through both thick and thin fog banks. It wasn’t until we were off Cherbourg some 70 miles later that the conditions improved. We hit a few slightly lumpy patches of sea, but on the whole the plan of going with the wind and tide paid off. Once round the corner we popped into Dielette for a quick lunch and even roused Channel Ribs on the VHF who’d been keeping an ear out for us. By the time we got back to Jersey the wind was definitely closer to a F5 but we took it in our stride. A little bit of chop wasn’t going to perturb us after 700miles on the water.

Would I do it again? Probably not (least not while it’s still fresh in my memory) Would I recommend it to others? Yes.
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Old 09 May 2011, 16:09   #66
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Would I do it again? Probably not (least not while it’s still fresh in my memory) Would I recommend it to others? Yes.
Humans are programmed to do painful things repeatedly, childbirth is the common example.
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Old 09 May 2011, 16:10   #67
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I see the Wilkdar is working well, how is the wall chart coming on?
It's improving. I have Ireland on it now too.....
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Old 09 May 2011, 16:12   #68
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I have Ireland on it now
lmao I see what you did there.
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Old 09 May 2011, 16:32   #69
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Very good. Where would we be without the MARS ITU database?
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Old 09 May 2011, 16:36   #70
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lmao I see what you did there.
Secretive lad is our Graham...

He has a hankering for saucepans.

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