If I owned your boat I'd do this trip in very good weather, with another boat for company. HOWEVER I'd be cautious about assuming RIB Squadron gauntnesses its all OK. It actually means there is more pressure to go on the day(s) they've selected even if the weather is not idea and e.g. you can't go a day early even if its ideal conditions. A smaller group might be more flexible on dates. In a small boat your weather window will be much tighter than the average boat; with limited experience this is amplified.
Here are some scenarios to consider which make an "unknown" buddy not ideal:
- You get nervous 1/4 of the way across. Your buddy thinks its all OK. Is that because he's a gung-ho muppet or extremely competent and done it all before (you'll likely only have his version of how good he is!).
- You find yourself going much slower than the rest of the pack for comfort / experience / boat / engine size reasons. Your buddy thinks "buddy" means buy each other a pint at the other end.
- You make it to the destination but you've broken something important on the boat / the weather is turning for the worse / you/the missus are too knackered to do the return journey as planned.
- If your buddy had "hung back" with you as the slow boat (or you've hung back with him) and an hour into the crossing one of you decides to turn back [and bear in mind this might be back to Alderney] will the other one do the same - even if this is the "big adventure" they've spend the last 3 months getting excited about? Or are you going to have to go it alone.
Remember the other person may be assuming you'll be there to help them out in all these situations too. It could be the blind leading the blind. It could be the start of a great RIB friendship but it could also be a weekend spent with someone you can't stand.
These are the reasons why "random strangers" and "buddies" are not necessarily a great idea! Boat size might also not be the best matching criteria - if one of you did need a tow another very small rib is probably not idea as the tug. So I would suggest you need to be in a position where you can make your own decisions / navigation etc. and a buddy is only a nice to have.
Originally Posted by PS5764
I would have liked a fixed VHF but as good as the 4.8 is there is only limited space on the console so i went for the chart plotter and the handheld with DSC built in.
I'm with Willk on this one. There are ways to fit a VHF on there with almost no extra space - search for a thread by FJarvis some time back (or a recent post by me signposting someone else there who had the same problem). Ariel mounting will be important for range. Personally I wouldn't want to rely on my "buddy boat"'s vhf because (1) its trusting someone else's kit and you've no idea if its reliable (2) its trusting someone elses competence and it sounds like you've no idea of his expertise (3) it is surprisingly easy to lose sight of your buddy boat if it all kicks up - especially if you are having to pay attention to dodging shipping etc.
I'd also say a competent crew member would be nice (not a nervous wife, if you have that variety!). Someone who can use the VHF to ask your buddy why he has disappeared! or read the chart plotter or act as a useful set of eyes spotting shipping etc.
Originally Posted by vandad
2. What equipments do you have on board? Do you own a liferaft or not? Have you thought about the fact that you will be in the middle of a BUSY channel??!
I doubt many of the boats doing that trip will have a liferaft unless commercially coded. I can't think of any situation where with a buddy a couple of miles you'd need a liferaft and it would be useful.