First time Skipper report

fireball

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15 Nov 2004
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My first sailing trip across the channel was last yr with Galadriel on his Etap ... a great way to get the experience and awareness of where we were going whilst someone else skippers.
This year I was going to do the trip in my boat ...

Dropped the mooring at 0415 friday in Chichester harbour ... motored out with 16 knots apparent through the harbour - great I thought, it'll be a bit lumpy, but doable ....

Got to West Pole at the entrance and put the main up with 2 reefs (wind was approx 20 knots apparent as expected) - thought I'd shake out a reef later ...
Radioed TOME and had a quick convo - he was going to head down the solent to come out through the needles ... we decided that Wind over tide through the needles was going to be too rough so we'd just head straight out...

Got to the NAB (we were quite a way to the east) and went down below to make a mark on the chart ... filled the date in on the log and came back up pretty rapidly! That was my first of 4 bouts of being sick.

Decided we weren't making enough progress (180 @ 3-4 knots!!) so put the motor on and opened up to 6knots - didn't bother with the motoring cone though - we weren't going to argue with any big boats. Decision was to continue.....

It was very rough, lee rail under most of the way, plenty of waves over the top, starboard window has a leak, but we ploughed on. Swapped helms ~ every hour ... I was fine for most of the time, but just couldn't eat anything.. fairly early on, Paul went down to make bacon sarnies ... well, Paul enjoyed his, and the fish enjoyed Michaels and mine ...

We tacked for one ship and bore away for another, but other than that we held our course and averaged 180 the whole way.

I don't recall what time we sighted land, but we didn't make any course better than 180 so at around 15Nm NE of Barfleur we tacked and sailed along the French coast against the tide ... By this time Michael and I were completely knackered, both of us being seasick and unable to eat anything. Paul was superb, but equally didn't have anything to eat, so I sent Paul down to get an apple each, the sea was a lot calmer and I thought I'd be able to cope with one of those! We'd had water to drink all the way across, but even so I was dehydrated.

At around 1830 with 18Nm to go - bearing 210, we were sailing at ~290, we decided to furl the genoa and motor straight in to Cherbourg (wind pretty much on the nose) .... motored straight past Allegretto who was sailing in from Christchurch !! In to the outer harbour, dropped the main, into the inner basin, found the marina and tied up at 2200 !!! Knackered!

The marina office closes at 2300 ... french time! So showers were out, so back to the boat via the public loos for a wash ... and dinner of soup and bread ... then BED!

Log: 95.96Nm, GPS Log 91Nm ... Engine - 16.4hrs - still, gave the batteries a good charge and we had plenty of hot water!

Sat gave us time to clear up, wash the boat down (with thanks to BigNick for the loan of his hose - saved getting mine out!) and refuel - 28L @ 33euros ... breakfast out, lunch out and then dinner with the rest ... plenty of water and only a glass or two of wine for me...

Sunday trip back was a lot easier!! ... Motored out at 0515 and connected up the tiller pilot as there was no wind ... pulled a little genoa out as the apparent wind increase from astern ... by the time we'd reached the shipping lanes we'd put up full main, but continued with the motor to keep us between 6 and 7 knots SOG and around 30Nm to go we cut the engine, poled out the genoa and sailed in on a dead run for the remainder of the trip ... time taken - 12.5hrs marina to mooring, not bad for a 30'er! Average speed was 6 knots, max was 10.6 SOG (which Paul got surfing down a wave), 9.6 thru the water (which I got!). - 82Nm on both log and gps, 7.8hours on the engine ...

Picked up the mooring before the wind and drizzle set in, off the boat before it really started raining!

Certainly an interesting trip ... I won't repeat the crossing over again - not 25-30 knots on the nose ... !! It was good to see how well the boat coped with the conditions - we had a couple of minor breakages - the worst being a chip in the gelcoat in the companionway before we'd even set off ...

Chartplotter was superb - mounted on the companionway sliding hatch so easily visible.
AIS worked, although range was only 5Nm - something wrong there as we'd seen the boats we needed to avoid before the CP could display them ... I need to run the data into a computer and compare the display - strange as we were getting 10+ from the mooring...
Could do with a remote control for the CP...

Best decision was to laminate an A4 chart of the sailing area with tide times, tide flow on the back and plot our trip back - could've done with a thinner perm marker though!

Huge thankyou to the organisers - we certainly wouldn'tve entertained a crossing otherwise ... (can we have a better wind angle next year?)
another HUGE thankyou to PaulTwistAgain - a superb crew & helm, made the decisions easy and looked after the boat whilst I couldn't.

and for those who read carefully - yes I did have the engine on for 24hrs ... but we only used ~ 40L of fuel, gave the batteries a blumin good charge and have shown that the boat really can standup to more than I can!

I'll post some photos later...
 

fireball

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PaulTwistAgain helming on Friday


Michael looking worse for wear on Friday


Michael during his recovery on Friday


Breakfast in Cherbourg


Sunrise off Cherbourg


View from the heads on Sunday


Michael looking happier on this trip


Paul & Michael


Twisterken is seen heading down the channel in his tender having missed the S-Butt meal


IOW at last!


Michael at the helm
 

Sans Bateau

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Wow! What a challenge for your first crossing as skipper!

Sounds like you learned lots.
 

DJE

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Well done and good to meet you all. I'll have to make the effort and take my boat some time so that you're not the smallest! Wouldn't have fancied it in Friday's conditions though; it was pretty uncomfortable on Big Nick's boat.
 

fireball

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[ QUOTE ]
it was pretty uncomfortable on Big Nick's boat.

[/ QUOTE ]
I heard it was more like a UBoat at times!!
 

duncan

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great post and pictures - little left to imagine about your trip then!

give4 it a week before deciding on next year..... /forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
 

jhr

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Great stuff. In spite of everything, I'm still gutted that I couldn't join you - though the crew vomit quotient might have been raised from 2/3 to 3/3 /forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif.
 
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Thanks again for inviting me, and it was a real pleasure sailing with you both, and thanks for your hospitality, it certainly was good experience and a good adventure, and made for a very eventfull weekend, just ashame about the wind conditions on friday. I think you have got yourself a lovely boat and kept in such very good order and it handled the conditions so very well.
 

ebbtide

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JUST A MO\' . . .

Weren't you inviting us to join you on this trip?

Quote "I've now got a spare berth available ...
Sailing from Chichester Harbour early Friday morning (0400) to Cherbourg and returning on Sunday ... well that's the plan anyway! Boat is a Jen Sun Oddy 30".

I see nothing about not having done it before and unsure of which way to go, no admission of being prone to mal de mer, no plea for experienced help when in fact you needed a nursemaid!
Where were the soup. sarnies and Scopoderm?

Galadriel reckons you learned lots - but I doubt it. And IMHO Stephen, you didn't teach him much the first time.
 

fireball

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Re: JUST A MO\' . . .

[ QUOTE ]
Arrogance and seamanship are incompatible.

[/ QUOTE ]
Just about says it all really ... you clearly have all of one and I assume from your footnote - none of the other. As I wanted support from a guest crew you were not invited.
 

FullCircle

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Clap, clap clap, Huge round of applause.
Fantastic experience for you, and pleased you had the support of your crew to get you there as a team, and a steaming journey back too.
You are now very well aware of the boats capabilities, and have got a decent chapter in the log.

We hope to be sending a Squadron from the East Coast down to join you all next year.

Oh yes, and ignoring the Malcontent afore the event was a wise decision.
 

fireball

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[ QUOTE ]
We hope to be sending a Squadron from the East Coast down to join you all next year.

[/ QUOTE ]
You were missed this year ... but I certainly wouldn't've fancied a slog all the way from Dover ... I'd've been tempted to transport the boat overland and launch ... oh somewhere around Poole would've been good enough - nice easy sail across! /forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif
 

graham

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Re: JUST A MO\' . . .

Fireball I have been on here since the very start when about 20 forumites were registered. I have just used the "ignore this dickhead" facility for the very first time.
 

Sans Bateau

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Re: JUST A MO\' . . .

[ QUOTE ]
Just about says it all really ... you clearly have all of one and I assume from your footnote - none of the other. As I wanted support from a guest crew you were not invited.

[/ QUOTE ]

Andrew, I suspect had you made the mistake of inviting this chap, it would have been the last we would have seen of you.

Loosing the will to live and jumping over the side mid channel to relieve yourself would have been a certainty!
/forums/images/graemlins/laugh.gif
 

tome

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Re: JUST A MO\' . . .

So here's the guy that gave us all the grief about the meal, organisation and safety issues before the event. The only consolation is that he didn't turn up, long may it remain this way

Malaprop, it doesn't matter how many times you change your forum name. You're a dickhead and this will become apparent whatever you choose to call yourself
 

Sailfree

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Re: JUST A MO\' . . .

I took an extra passenger last year and she fitted in with everyone great. Someone kindly warned me that there are some that you are best avoiding but so far have always met a nice bunch of people.

I was tempted to try & fit in an extra this year but thought 8 was a comfortable max number. While not been necessary to date I will be taking references before offering any spare berths in future after reading some comments!!

I did not mind trying to answer Malaprops questions he PM'd me (and they were sensible questions) before the weekend but sorry he missed a great event as the tone of some postings here indicates that he could do with some cheering up.
 

tome

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Well done Fireball, great account and an achievement to skipper your first trip. In the end we didn't go up the Solent but sailed across, putting in some quite large tacks to stay within about 6 miles of course. Our log showed 100.3 miles which shows how much extra mileage the tacks cost us, and our average speed was a little over 5 knots which is slow for us

We too motored-sailed the last 15 miles to Cherbourg and our crossing time door-to-door was just under 19 hours! Better than the 40 hour crossing we once did years ago when we were becalmed without engine mid channel for 24 hours
 
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