A Two Hour Cruise Took Five

The Sill at Port St. Peter, Guernsey
The Sill at Port St. Peter, Guernsey, from the Inside

And it was a wild ride!

On the Outside Looking In. We wait for the water to rise above the sill.
On the Outside Looking In. We wait for the water to rise above the sill.

Day 08 St. Helier, Jersey to Port St. Peter, Guernsey

Originally, I had planned the route in a most course fashion, just looking at the distance between the islands of Jersey and Guernsey and seeing the number “10” in my mind.  10 nm no problem; two hours.

So we set out, bright and relatively early.  Only minutes into the cruise, the first bugaboo rears its ugly head. Anyone see the issue yet?  Maybe you just read the previous blog?  Here let me remind you, my own words from the previous blog:

Just before landfall, the winds turned westerly and north westerly at 25 knots.  That combined with the much longer fetch, we immediately saw waves a few feet higher. All of sudden we were getting 6 foot waves on the port stern quarter.  That angle of incidence does make the roll more than usual, and we had one roll of 15°.  But not much more than a curiosity, as the port was in sight.

The Maretron Data for the First Hour of our Trip.
The Maretron Data for the First Hour of our Trip.

Ah yes, now, as we left port, the winds and seas were unchanged.  But we were now going the opposite direction.  For the first hour, the current was with us, but the winds were against, so we those nasty, steep, short period waves.  The surfing safari we had the day before, now became the ride on the wild mouse.  I cannot begin to tell you the number of times I actually left my feet. As I stood behind the wheel, trying to get the right combination of speed and course to reduce the pitching.  A wave actually hit the anchor, we were going 1000 rpms, but I reduced it to idle after that.  The Maretron data (ignore the speed thru water, as I have not been able to calibrate it) shows in that first hour the boat pitching.  It’s hard to see in these pictures, but it clearly shows a series of three waves where the rhythm was such that the normal pitch up, had been 2° suddenly increases to 5° and then culminates in a 8° pitch up.  Let me tell you, at 8 degrees, I’m thinking not of boat, but of an airplane, and that we should rotate now, and gear up.

I slow down even more, just above idle. After an hour, we go to the western most point of Jersey and could change course to NNW.  Now the seas were 6 to 10 feet, but they were on the beam and the paravanes take care of business pretty well.  As you watch the video, it may seem like a lot of rolling, 4 to 6 ° in each direction, an occasional 8° roll, BUT compared to pre-paravane days, that’s nothing, as in in the past, I simply would not have been able to take this course or I’d have had to alter course by 60°.

The extent of the pitch was new however.  I had only had pitching like that once before, in Long Island Sound.  In those days, seemingly eons ago (OK only 18 months), I had tried to temper the ride by reducing speed, but I never quite reduced it enough.   On that occasion I had the rpm’s down to 1400, the waves were 8 to 12 feet and Dauntless would go down the face of one wave, and as we pitched upward the top of the next wave would get sheared off in the wind and go flying over the fly bridge, not even hitting the pilot house!

Earlier that morning, I had come through the Cape Cod Canal, having spent the night anchored off of Plymouth, Mass.  I must have been about a half hour behind the only other boat I saw on the water that day, another Krogen.  But as we turned west into Rhode Island Sound (an extension of Long Island Sound) I lost track of him. I finally pulled into the bay to go up the Narragansett River and “Coral Bay” was already anchored there.  I recognized the boat, because we had also been in the same anchorage in Maine and Steve had come by to talk.  We talked again after this ordeal, but neither one of us had the strength to get the dingy down to visit. Poor Dauntless, another day in where she was ridden hard and put away wet.

So all these memories are flooding back as we slog off the coast of Jersey.  Therefore I knew now to reduce the rpms to idle if necessary.  An hour and half after we had left the dock, we finally turn NNW for Guernsey, I realized that from here it was 10 miles, but not even to the Port of St. Peter our destination, but to some point south of the island.

Thus, my anticipated two hours trip became 5 hours.

The French sailboat Anfre, with Christian and Matin, stopped by Dauntless.  They had left after us and had taken four hours.  We had a great visit though and they have helped me plan the next two days to Honfleur to better plan on the currents.  Also using Coastal Explorer, I have finally figured out how to better use the current tables.

Tomorrow, we have an 8 knot current to deal with off the Cape of La Hague, check out the current gauge, Argoss-WE 500-1355.  Clearly, our departure time is predicated on that, but remember the sill.  Our harbor must also be open to get out.

I’m playing with the big boys now; I better get to sleep early!

 

 FYI The Delorme InReach turned itself off yesrterday.  The AIS information is up to date if I am in a port. Also, having trouble uploading pictures for this post.

Author: Richard on Dauntless

I’m an eclectic person, who grew up in New York, lived overseas for many years and have a boat, Dauntless, a 42 foot Kadey Krogen trawler yacht. Dauntless enables me to not only live in many different parts of the world, but to do it in a way that is interesting, affordable, with the added spice of a challenge. Dauntless also allows me to be in touch with nature. As the boat glides through the ocean, you have a sense of being part of a living organism. When dolphins come to frolic, they stay longer if you are out there talking to them, watching them. Birds come by, sometimes looking for a handout; sometimes grateful to find a respite from their long journey. I grew up on the New York waterfront, in the West Village, when everything west of Hudson St. was related to shipping and cargo from around the world. For a kid, it was an exciting place of warehouses, trucks, and working boats of all kinds: tugs and the barges and ships, cargo and passenger, they were pushing around. My father was an electrical engineer, my mother an intellectual, I fell in between. I have always been attracted to Earth’s natural processes, the physical sciences. I was in 8th grade when I decided to be a Meteorologist. After my career in meteorology, my natural interest in earth sciences: geology, astronomy, geography, earth history, made it a natural for me to become a science teacher in New York City, when I moved back to the Big Apple. Teaching led to becoming a high school principal to have the power to truly help kids learn and to be successful not only in school but in life. Dauntless is in western Europe now. In May and June, I will be wrapping up the last two years in northern Europe, heading south to spend the rest of the year in Spain & Portugal. Long term, I’m planning on returning to North American in the fall of 2017 and from there continuing to head west until we’re in Northeast Asia, Japan and South Korea, where we will settle for a bit. But now, my future lies not in NY or even Europe, but back to the water, where at night, when the winds die down, there is no noise, only the silence of the universe. I feel like I am at home, finally.

3 thoughts on “A Two Hour Cruise Took Five”

  1. Good evening, i am Christian from ANFRE, we are to Granville and our trip to come back was very long 12 hours st Peter to Islands Chausey 46 miles!!!
    i am very interesting by your web site
    Are you to Barfleur?
    Friendly
    Amicalement

    1. Well, we almost missed Low tide, but our ever diligent Captain got us there just in time.

      It was a delightful 6 hours enjoyed by one and all.

      I have promised to recommend Barfleur to all: friends and enemies.

      I wouldn’t want anyone to miss the adventure.

      1. Good morning
        i ‘m happy
        Your merveillous trip in France Next rime go to Islands chausey near Granville i t’as à good deal i sent you pictuures.
        See you later
        Water on Granville shining
        Friendly

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