Our first English Channel Crossing !! Very exciting and a little bit of a disappointment when after 12 hours when land should have been in sight all we had was haze and mist meaning we couldn’t see land until 1 mile off….Welcome to England!!
A successful crossing of the English Channel from Guernsey to Dartmouth in 13.5 hours. Departed the Channel Islands at 01:00 in the dead of the night and took the tides across. No issues across the shipping channels, plenty of ships and many fishing vessels also in the channel however all went well.
As per the introduction, a tiny seed of doubt did creep in when we should really have been able to see land a lot earlier than we did but that is the English weather for you. Once land appeared in focus rather than a dark haze it was fantastic to be greeted by old castles on each side of the river Dart. Dartmouth had a delightfully old character about it, from the buildings to the pace to the people.
We berthed on a floating pontoon in the river so had to launch the dingy to get to shore. Customs declaration took a lot longer than expected (Phil spent over 4 hours on the phone in the harbour office), but that is really his own fault as the delay was caused by him brining over the allowable limit of alcohol (Gin) into the country duty free from the Channel Islands. By the time it was sorted he was full bottle on the gossip from the “incident” on the harbour wall where a french fishing vessel had fallen over (see pictures below) after seeking refuge from a storm they tied up along the wall and then fell the boat with a full load literally fell over, loosing their entire catch and one crew member badly breaking their arm. A sad story as due to health and safety regulations a week later the boat is still half submerged as the red tape is played out (in France we have no doubt they would have had a crane on site within an hour to fix it back upright, meaning minimal damage to the boat, i.e.: all the wiring and fittings would have dried out and been easily salvageable but now over a week later the vessel is still underwater and becoming more of a write off each day).
We met a local sailor Roger and took his tips on the best places to stop as we progressed west. Not sure we made much of an impression on Rogers wife Heather however (she wasn’t with him on the boat) but after spending an evening and dining with us on Red Roo he went back to his boat and rang her – telling her of our story. The next day he reported that Heather said we might be a bad influence on Roger and she didn’t want him getting ideas on selling up and setting sailing . . . indefinitely!! Sorry Roger 🙂 didn’t mean to get you into trouble!!!