Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Glorious Guernsey

Leaving Port de Paluden (photo: Robin Culverhouse)
It was an excellent sail to Guernsey from Aber Wrac'h, beam reaching all the way. Departure time was a bit of a compromise. The east-going current went with the flood, but that started very early in the morning, and we didn't want to leave too early, with it only being a hundred mile run, so we cast off the mooring at 0900, getting clear of the estuary and turning east at 1000. 

We still had to drop the genoa when 20 miles short of Guernsey, at around 0030, to postpone our arrival until dawn. We anchored in a bay on the south coast, at Petit Port, just after sun-up, slept for a couple of hours and then had breakfast before beating up to the rather astonishing harbour of Beaucette. 

Petit Port, Guernsey: our first anchorage on arrival
Beaucette marina, blasted out of an old quarry
The forecast showed very light wind in the afternoon, so we thought we'd be motoring the last few miles just before high water - good for the harbour entrance and good for the current going north. Nuh-uh. The wind was funnelling down between the islands, giving a stiff 20kts to beat into and raising a vicious chop against the current (story of our lives, these days). 

I wouldn't have minded so much if not for the fact that I was worried about one of the shroud attachment points on deck, where an ominous bulge had appeared and which had started to let in water on this passage. Thrashing to windward through heavy seas was not what the doctor ordered at that point, but no harm done thankfully.

The harbour at Beaucette was once a granite quarry. The army blasted out the connection to the sea sometime in the 60s or 70s to make it into a rather fab harbour. The entrance is not unlike Dunbar, but even tighter. The sill dries to 2.37m and it's very narrow. Seemingly some of the large powerboats in here can only leave or enter the harbour at HW springs. Very good shelter once inside.

The exciting entrance at Beaucette. As small as it looks
Much to our delight, the folks that we met down in Bayona (Keith and Colette) are here and we've got a berth next to them. It was a happy reunion and our good fortune extended to being invited along to the first BBQ of the season up on the old quarry rim overlooking the sea and the islands of Alderney, Herm, Sark and even Jersey in the distance.

Oystercatcher on the rocks
The castle in St Peter Port, viewed from the yacht club terrace
View across to Herm
Bordeaux harbour
Where the constables are still concerned for your welfare
Nice pound notes they have in the Bailiwick of Guernsey
Peaceful back lanes
North coast of Guernsey, at L'Ancresse
It's been a good spot and good weather for working on the repair to the deck, which is now finished. It was a question of stripping everything back, removing the shroud, its u-bolt and the neighbouring stanchion base, adding some layers of fresh glass fibre to strengthen, fabricating a stainless steel backing plate to further strengthen and then gooping it all back together with polyurethane sealant (thanks for the sealant, Keith!).

The leaky area - now reinforced and at least as good as new
Freshly gooped
Guernsey is a real delight and all the more so for being a somewhat unexpected landfall. As usual, the wind looks set to continue unfavourable for the next week, so we'll just have to enjoy ourselves here and see some more of the Channel Islands.

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