Originally Posted by andyjcox1
Any hints or tips gratefully received.
Hi Andy. I’ve not done the Ramsgate trip but have done the other two (Alderney/Cherbourg regularly) and the following may help:
You do not say in your post whether your 80nm range leaves the recommended 1/3 reserve tank, but if not a Channel crossing will be right on the limit. Quayside petrol is available in both Cherbourg and Alderney (the latter from the inner harbour, which is tidal so you need to time your fuelling) but Poole Harbour Entrance to Cherbourg is 64nm and the return from Alderney is 68nm. Add around 3nm from your marina to the Harbour Entrance and allow for some deviation off course and you may not have a lot left!
Check that your boat insurance covers not only continental waters (which include UK and European coastal waters up to 12nm offshore) but that it also covers the bit of the Channel in between this since this is not automatic and usually requires a special endorsement. Having just renewed my own insurance with this point being of concern, some quotes stipulated as requirements for such an endorsement: having an aux motor, only permitting crossings between 1 May and 30 September in less than a force 4 and with a three day weather window and/or having a working EPIRB. I finally settled for one which requires a PLB on board (which I already have anyway) and for any crossing to be in company of at least one other boat. The latter is not ideal since I am not averse to solo crossings but has resulted in a considerably lower premium.
Watch your speed in Cherbourg Harbour (outer harbour 14kn; inner harbour 8kn; marina 3kn) the authorities have land based radar guns which they use and the fines are steep. I’ve not been caught but I know a man who has!
On the subject of regulations, the French require all lifejackets (worn or spare) and any flares carried to be in date. Fines can be levied if they are not.
Port Chantereyne Marina offers overnight berthing discounts for members of sailing clubs and associations (including the RYA). Although myself a member, I have never been asked for evidence of it. Berthing is on walk ashore pontoons.
The Hotel Chantereyne right by the marina permits free cancellation of reservations up to 24 hours beforehand (useful if the weather prevents/delays a crossing).
In Alderney, mooring is to one of the visitors’ buoys in the harbour and shore access is by water taxi or your own tender. If you use the water taxi, you may wish to drop any crew off first since the taxi often seems to charge per person rather than per trip!
Accommodation on Alderney is in hotels/B&Bs or the campsite. The latter is a bit of a trek from the harbour but can be done. The posh Braye Beach Hotel is the closest to the harbour but pricey. The Harbour Lights Hotel is only a little further and slightly cheaper. There are various B&Bs up the hill in the town.
Petrol on Alderney is available from Mainbrayce by jerrycans serving by siphon from the harbourside directly into the boat. Since the jerrycans need to be filled from the local garage (a short but steep walk up the hill if you want to do it yourself!) advance notice is advisable to ensure availability.
Remember that Alderney is outside the EU and that full customs regulations (Q flag, completion of Form C1331 and telephone contact with customs before disembarking from the boat) theoretically apply upon return from there to the UK.
Similar concerns about fuel apply since from Poole Harbour Entrance it is 77nm (which distance involves going through the races off St Albans and Portland which are best avoided either by the respective inshore or outer routes available for both at a cost of some additional distance). Theoretically, there is quayside petrol at Portland but you should check beforehand since over a number of visits I have only had around 60% success of it being available. Only once was it an essential which involved us manually lugging cans for several lengthy trips between the garage and the marina in Weymouth. Necessary for the return to Poole, since we would otherwise have run out off Swanage!
Petrol is available from the fuel barge in Dartmouth but be warned it is pricey!
The harbourmaster can generally accommodate walk ashore pontoon mooring although this may be difficult at busy (holiday) periods when mooring is by buoy in the river with a water taxi ashore. There is a tourist office just by the main square which can provide a list of accommodation (hotels/B&Bs) (01803 834224) but prior reservation is advised in busy periods.
Hopefully, the above is of some general use (if rather lengthy!) but let me know if you have any specific questions and I will do my best to help.