And it was a wild ride!
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.
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.