I thought I would add a few more details about the poole trip.
In the end myself, TrevG and Cgf10 headed out, after meeting Trimix and his great RIB. He made the sensible call to not head over as his crew were pretty new to boating. This turned out to be the right call based on the lumpy trip back.
We met Chris and his wife (cgf10, hope we are allowed to use real names!) in poole harbour and left at 10am. The sea was calm , being kept down even more by the foggy conditions. A great run over, saw very little traffic. 3 hours later we were in Cherbourg where we met Trev, who had managed to get ahead of us. I was also pleased to have only used 60ltrs of fuel for the 70nm travelled at an average of 25knts so did not have to stop midway to refuel.
Cherbourg is a nice harbour, easy to find and use. Having taken every document I had in case checked, a lovely young lady welcomed us in a rib, gave a 20% RYA discount and that was it for formalities, not even the passports were needed on this trip.
We all found a cafe and coffee and beer was consumed, followed by a nice wander around Cherbourg.
Myself and my crew Iain found the el dorado pub and can recommend the beer selection, we had to try a few just to be sure.
Everyone met for dinner at le pizza, a good recommendation and the moules frites and pizza were enjoyed by all. A quick night cap and then back to the hotel chantereyne for me and Iain. Can highly recommend this hotel as a clean and pleasant option right in the harbour itself. Trev, Chris and Sandra spent the night on their boats, the facilities from what I saw were very clean and new looking in the marina office.
Waking up the next day and looking out of the window, hoping the forecasted F 4-5 was wrong, it seems the weathermen had it right for a change. Under grey skies and a building wind, we fuelled up and headed out. Being the smallest rib, my ribeye a600 seemed to be the perfect size to be dropped into every trough and we took a bit of a pounding, but it handled the large seas very well considering. I estimated the wave to be a couple of meters, at least it felt like it as we climbed up each one and dropped down after it. We got drenched as quite a lot of the spray was blown over us from the NE we were heading into but actually were thoroughly enjoying it in some weird way.
Eventually the pounding took it's toll, and the console started to move about which lifted at the front each time we took off and landed heavily. This slowed us down to about 10knts just to be on the safe side. Having inspected it at home after, we would have been ok and unlikely to come off, but in a f5-6 it certainly played on our minds. That's the beauty of cruising in company though, as at no point did we feel in danger as the other 2 boats very kindly kept with us all the way and provided a much needed safety net.
We crossed the midway point and the weather improved, we realised the console was unlikely to come off completely and picked up speed to about 20knts for the rest of the journey to Poole in sunshine but still a small swell. Trev peeled off to head to Southampton and I presume he got home safely.
I put the boat on the trailer at cobbs about 5 hrs after leaving Cherbourg, having had a great adventure and very pleased with how well my little RiB and her crew coped. If it had not been for the console, which could not have been predicted and will now get reinforced, the boat was great and fuel consumption better than expected, still only burnt 70 litres on the way back while constantly adjusting the throttle.
My main disappointment was my new musto BR1 kit, as I was soaked down to my under crackers from top to bottom when I took it off. Time for a dry suit, and to be fair it is only meant for Coastal cruising and not a continuous soaking for 3 hrs.
A great trip, will try and post some pics. Will leave it to the others to comment on their adventure.
Thanks to Trev, Chris and Sandra for a Great weekend. Alderney next spring anyone :-)
Ps, I must admit to a bit of boat and engine envy, those shearwaters look the business and I have already been googling ones for sale, the new extension now looks unlikely :-)