Braye in a North Easterly

jac

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Whilst all the Pilot Books advise on not being in Braye in a strong NE and I wouldn't risk it, I am considering the position re gentler times. We are planning to head over to the CI on possibly Monday. Forecast is moving around a bit still of course but earlier it was showing F3 NE for a while. ( Now looking more like N or NW 3)

I did find one thread on here from 2002 where someone had been in Braye in a gentle NE and a rolling swell had set in causing his boat and the one rafted to it to damage one boat but no other info re what it's like in such conditions.

So, anyone been in there on the buoys in a NE 3-4 and how bad was it?

Equally - what are the chances at this time of year of getting one of the visitors buoys to our selves or is rafting to one a certainty?
 

dom

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Think there was a fairly recent thread on this. IIRC prv tested it out and found modest NEs okay. Me, I think folk make far too much of this. If you check the swell (meteo france v good for this) and expected wave height, then moderate NE winds, say up to F4, will usually be fine. That said it also depends on how roll sensitive your crew are because it will definitely be perceptibly rolly! Finally, forget about rafting in a NE; don't think HM wil allow it in these circumstances (in fact not sure if they allow it anymore at all), but in any event it's positively dangerous in light of the significant risk of a mast clash, popped fenders, etc.

Re buoy availability, you should be fine apart from Fri/Sat evenings during high season. If not anchor in the SE part of harbour where holding is good on sand. Big tidal range so you'll need 40m scope minimum.

Enjoy!
 
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Angele

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I've been there once in an NE, many years ago. It was fine when we arrived, blowing from the NW. About 04:00 it veered to the NE and it was like riding a bucking bronco. Can't recall the wind strength, but almost certainly not more than F4.

It isn't really the strength of the wind that matters, but the size of the swell. Once the swell enters the harbour there is nowhere for it to dissipate.

Never again.

Edit: As Dom says, not sure whether rafting to a buoy is permitted, but there is no chance I would consider it if there was the remotest chance the wind might switch to NE. I have anchored there before when I have been unable to find a vacant buoy.
 
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prv

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IIRC prv tested it out and found modest NEs okay.

Hmm, not sure I'd endorse that.

The wind was really very light, but we still rocked and rolled a lot. Not really a problem for the people on board for that trip, though it made cooking interesting, but for some people who've sailed with me it would have been untenable - see the vomiting thread :)

Pete
 

billmacfarlane

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In any NE wind I wouldn't stay there. Did it once in a NE 4/5. Spent an unpleasant and fairly awake night there.
 

Robin

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I've been there once in an NE, many years ago. It was fine when we arrived, blowing from the NW. About 04:00 it veered to the NE and it was like riding a bucking bronco. Can't recall the wind strength, but almost certainly not more than F4.

It isn't really the strength of the wind that matters, but the size of the swell. Once the swell enters the harbour there is nowhere for it to dissipate.

Never again.

Edit: As Dom says, not sure whether rafting to a buoy is permitted, but there is no chance I would consider it if there was the remotest chance the wind might switch to NE. I have anchored there before when I have been unable to find a vacant buoy.

We always chose to anchor rather than come back from town to find we were rafted up uninvited. Wicked swell at some times of the tide, even in a westerly wind, that bounces off the wall and nowhere on the buoys is immune then. Buoys closest to the wall are the worst to pick up for that reason. Havre Gosselin on Sark is a better bet in a NE if headed that way, otherwise Cherbourg is good and leave Braye for another time.
 

dom

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Here's the meteo france link:
http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-marine/cotes/ouest-cotentin/0036300

Only you know your individual crew but I usually only press the "avoid" button when the significant wave height exceeds 1.0m (max ~ 1.7m) and the wind/waves come anywhere from NNW to ENE. However as others have said even moderate swells from the north can make the harbour uncomfortable and sometimes untenable as the swell rises and runs down the inside pier wall. Buoys beside the wall should be avoided at these times if possible.

All that foreboding stuff aside, I used to sail with two you kids and the most worrying part for me was tendering back to the boat and having to remove the outboard in case the tender flipped in the night. Good water taxi though.

Edit: no matter what the conditions be aware that:
  1. Boats occasionally get themselves trapped in odd positions and marked by the buoys when the crew just picks up the mooring strop and doesn't bother to route it over their bow roller.
  2. The mooring strops have quite a small spliced loop (which sometimes doesn't fit over biggish cleats) and can be a little short (in order to maximise no. of buoys) to run over one's bow roller and back to the cleat. It's useful to have some spare old mooring line handy to string through it if necessary..
 
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richardsn9

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I tried it once with a light NE - as the night went on the swell became worse and worse and the boat more and more uncomfortable. Eventually we bailed out in the early hours and made for shelter in SPP.

It seemed to me cruising there a week or so ago that the ground swell in the area is worse than usual due to the strong SW this summer, making many anchorages more rolly than I would have expected for this time of year.
 

longjohnsilver

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It seemed to me cruising there a week or so ago that the ground swell in the area is worse than usual due to the strong SW this summer, making many anchorages more rolly than I would have expected for this time of year.

We were there a week ago and the rolling from the W or SW swell was pretty uncomfortable. It's a lovely place but we were pleased to be out of it. Had the same in Scilly a few weeks back, I would agree that the groundswell this year is worse than any year I can remember.
 

jac

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Looks like the weather is going to be fairly gentle from Saturday onwards. Hopefully several days of F1-2 will let the swell die down to something more acceptable
 

Robin

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My experience is that Braye in an Easterly or Northerly wind is best avoided as there will be a swell of some kind.
Anchoring in Braye Harbour is fraught with worries as holding is poor (mostly thin layer of sand over rock)

We never encountered any problems getting anchored there over the years, but we did use old tech anchors like the CQR initially then a Delta in later years. Maybe the Braye bottom is not receptive to Rocanmantspade hyperhype ;)
 
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Topcat47

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I've been stuck in Alderney on a buoy behind the seawall when a NE blew up overnight. It was a bit bouncy in a 26'er but not dangerous and we went ashore in the morning on the taxi rather than use the dinghy. In the past it's been accepted that anchoring in the shadow of Fort Victoria is best under these conditions, but since they placed additional buoys here, I"m not sure how much space they're left for anchoring. You can get an uncomfortable swell in there anytime, but when the wind really blows up from the NE, I"d not want to be there and how much trust can you put in a forecast for a"light" NE these days?
 

Dipper

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I've only been to Braye twice and both times there were NE winds. The first time the winds were fairly light and we were OK but not comfortable (28ft boat). The second time was in a 24ft Robber. It felt like a F6 or more. Anchored boats were rolling so much their masts were nearly in the water. We dragged our anchor and had to get out. Luckily we were a race crew so we were used to the boat.
 

tcm

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I was there in a 48 ft mobo some years ago. F7+ with white water in the harbour. Couldn't possibly launch own dinks, boat leaping enough to see the props, we all got collected and dropped off by mainbrayce , upon which we dispatched dinner over the side (at anchor, mind...) and the seagulls all zipped in to eat it up. Blergh! Second night of 3 in total, a 27ft mobo dragged thru the anchorage and landed up on the quayside with not too much damage at all, and we were all quite envious. of them in the morning - perfectly still boat! So i would do almost anything NOT to be in there in anything like that again, esp run off the jersey or St Malo rather than stay there in other than rather wonderfully calm conditions, like in the pix.
 

sailor211

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It can be uncomfortable and bouncy.

I would suggest you look at the tackle that you are using. A work colleague lost his boat and a friend in Braye, (in what was admittedly a NE gale ) when the line to the buoy chaffed through. That is when I got around to getting a long length of anchor plait with 3m chain in the middle. can be noisy but will not chafe. Also plenty of protection on against the bow fitting. Could happen to anyone on a bouncy night, and feeling a but sick on a horrid day is not any encouragement to popping to the foredeck to have a look regularly.
 

jac

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Lots of good stories here and worthwhile reminders why riding out a NE Gale there goes into the bad idea pile.

However - i'm thinking about a F2-3. Looking at Wind Guru at the moment it's forecasting peaks of 6-7 knots for several days as the high sits over the area and wanted to know what the swell might be like in there in those conditions
 

dom

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Lots of good stories here and worthwhile reminders why riding out a NE Gale there goes into the bad idea pile.

However - i'm thinking about a F2-3. Looking at Wind Guru at the moment it's forecasting peaks of 6-7 knots for several days as the high sits over the area and wanted to know what the swell might be like in there in those conditions

http://www.meteofrance.com/previsions-meteo-marine/cotes/ouest-cotentin/0036300

The French word for swell is "houle". "Mer totale" is the total expected sea: i.e. wind induced waves + swell
 

Bobc

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You will probably still get some swell in there. Nothing too nasty, but it can stop you having a good night sleep.
 
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