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Old 04 June 2019, 15:03   #1
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Day trip to France

I have an 8m Cobra rib with a 300hp Yamaha which I keep in Portsmouth. Thinking of a day trip to France for lunch and back. I’ve done a few long passages down west to Dartmouth and surrounding areas, but never across the Channel. What French ports do people recommend and what crossing should I attempt. For example, should I head off from Portsmouth, or move the boat across to somewhere further east (eg Eastbourne or Hastings) and head off from there, for example to Dieppe? Thoughts from others who’ve done this before most gratefully received. Thanks.
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Old 04 June 2019, 15:20   #2
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St Vaast is a very nice spot for lunch. There is a friendly marina that will let you tie up for a couple of hours for free. I’d do an overnight personally, plenty of small hotels in the town.
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Old 04 June 2019, 15:58   #3
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Thanks for the recommendation. Which U.K. port did you go from and how long did it take?
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Old 04 June 2019, 16:12   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CGFR View Post
Thanks for the recommendation. Which U.K. port did you go from and how long did it take?


I haven’t done it as a trip on our boat from the UK, though I know people who have. You can leave from Pompey/Soton/Poole etc . It’s about 90nm/4 hours on a good run. We take our boat across on the ferry & stay for weeks. I know most of the Normandy ports reasonably well & StV is one of our favourites. The port is gated & is open around 3hrs either side of HW depending on tides. Hence my suggestion of staying overnight. There’s plenty to keep you occupied for a weekend. Tatihou & the Vauban tower on the Hogue to name 2.
Another option is Cherbourg, plenty of restaurants & bars, Cite de la mar museum. A slightly shorter crossing, but not as pretty as StV.
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Old 05 June 2019, 02:29   #5
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As PD says Cherbourg is not a pretty city, but it is small boat friendly and I have always had a warm welcome.

Don't forget about the Channel Islands, an easy reach from Pompey.

I would also echo Dave's suggestion to plan for an over night, seems a long time on the water for only lunch.
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Old 05 June 2019, 04:29   #6
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Not ribbed it but been across to Sark/Channel Islands by Rib from Portland and Hard Boart from Brighton a couple of times - can get very very lumpy around Alderney - ditto what PD said about St Vaast - used it as a base for some Normandy wreck diving. Cracking little port and marina and the town is fantastic for food and drinks
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Old 05 June 2019, 04:31   #7
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If you are a member of the R.Y.A. you get a decent discount in Cherbourg (Chanteraine marina) for an overnight stay. Good showers.
If you leave the Solent via the Needles the course is basically 180° and you are crossing the shipping at right angles. I use three way points :

Needles 50°.39'•57 N 01°.36'•70 W

Mid Channel 50°.10' N 01°.37' W

Cherbourg Eastern entrance 49°.40'•43 N 01°.35'•72 W

Good luck,
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Old 05 June 2019, 04:36   #8
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I would have thought that St. Vaast would be a bit too much "Frenchness" for a first timer like yourself. Cherbourg is much friendlier/easier to get into/not tidal dependant/no NHS/etc.
St. Vaast also has some nasty floating mussel growing bouys in a square patch just outside the entrance. Catches the unwary!

Or, if you want "the full English" why not go to Alderney?
Same rough distance/they speak English there (believe it or not)/same currency/NHS (well nearly)/etc.

However, dont let me put you off, you've got to do it sometime haven't you?
Going abroad is always exciting!
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Old 05 June 2019, 05:10   #9
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There's an excellent article in the current (June) Motorboat and Yachting about crossing the channel or going to the Channel Islands from various departure points along the South coast. All the waypoints and distances along with advice on the approaches. Well worth a look for anybody thinking about doing this for the first time.
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Old 05 June 2019, 10:00   #10
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I love St Vaast but had great experience in our 6.5m from Gosport to Honfleur in the mouth of the Seine. 6.5 hours out 4 hours back. Stayed four nights in August and they charged us nothing! Might be up for a joint trip if you wanted company!
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