After a quick stop in Cherbourg, the fleet departed towards Guernsey with a light westerly breeze pushing them along.
The crew of Midnight Wanderer said they were ‘blessed with blue skies, flat water, epic sunshine.’
A couple of spinnakers were spotted, and an hour into the passage and a call went out on Channel 77 with the news of dolphins playing within the fleet; jumping and swimming round the bows of Hufflepuff and Sophisticated Lady for about two hours.
The sail through the Alderney Race was helped somewhat by the iron sail, with the winds dropping to produce near millpond conditions, making for a different experience of the Alderney Race than some had imagined.
The rest of the day involved sunbathing, sunfish spotting, gannet watching and a lot more motoring watching the beauty of the Channel Islands go by.
The majority of the fleet chose to test their pilotage ability by taking the option of the Little Russell channel down to Guernsey.
With no wind, and under motor this was an easy passage providing some great views of the islands for the fleet.
Arrival into Guernsey was very efficient. The berthing masters were buzzing around in their dinghies working like a well-oiled machine directing boats into the relevant berths, rafting four deep on the walk ashore pontoons outside the marina.
An evening in Guernsey for the fleet to enjoy dinner ashore, and have a well-deserved night out.
The full day in Guernsey started with a coach tour of the island.
The group was split in two, and once on board the buses, the drivers set off. With stops along the way at the Little Chapel and the German Underground Hospital, were sobering experience for some of the group – the idea that someone could be brought back to good health in those conditions was unbelievable. As it turned out the longest stay in the hospital was 10 weeks before the patients were transferred to the hospital above ground, and after being open for three months it shut down.
The tour then took crew up to Plienmount point with beautiful views over the west coast of the island, followed by a stop at the Guernsey Pearl for coffee and lunch overlooking the rocky bays.
The last part of the tour was the drive back under one of two bridges on the island and along the narrow country lanes on Guernsey to St Peter Port with the coach driver providing fun facts of the island, like Guernsey cows have pink noses, not black like the Jersey cow, a typical Guernsey house has a door in the middle and five windows above.
All in all it was a great morning exploring the island and enjoying some time on dry land.
The day was rounded off with a Skippers’ Briefing detailing another change to the itinerary.
With light north westerlies forecast for today the fleet sails to Alderney, rather than Jersey, and then onto Cherbourg on Friday afternoon, before sailing back to the Solent overnight on Saturday.
- The inaugural ARC Channel Islands rally is being run by World Cruising Club in association with the Royal Yachting Association’s Active Marina and with the support of Hamble School of Yachting and Practical Boat Owner magazine.