Evita finds herself in hospital after a nasty experience while trying to leave a mooring.

Worse things happen at sea… I guess they do. The trip from St Peters Port to Alderney was textbook stuff. I had timed our departure to take maximum advantage of the Alderney Race, we zoomed through it, clocking close to 14 kts over the ground at one time.

Entry into Braye Harbour was a different matter altogether. Pitch black, and the stiff northerly made it very lumpy inside. All the buoys appeared to be taken, so I opted to moor alongside a boat already on a buoy. A Bavaria 44 appeared the most suitable. I could see the panic in the eyes of her skipper as we came alongside – his boat was brand new, Yanita looks “lived in”.

We lay secure alongside for 30 minutes, just enough time to catch the fireworks to mark the end of Alderney Week. But it became obvious that this was not an ideal situation. Never mind, let’s cast off and drop the hook somewhere. Our reluctant neighbour seemed all too pleased about this. Just as Evita was due to get back on board, having recovered our springs, our neighbour felt the need to push us off even further. This made Evita miss her step, leaving her dangling between the two boats. Next a bit of swell… you get the picture. Evita serves as extra fender.

Brigitte drags Evita back on board and takes her below. Alone, I find a buoy left vacant by a local fisherman. The almanac says “only to be used in an emergency” – this is one of those situations. Brigitte’s holding Evita – she’s gasping for air. Every time she inhales it hurts. She starts to shake. Shock – and possible rib damage. I call Alderney Radio. They’re sending the lifeboat and a doctor. It’s midnight by now, but sure enough, ten minutes later they’re alongside and Evita’s being evacuated to hospital.

The next morning couldn’t come any sooner. Moved Yanita to a vacant visitors mooring and off to check on Evita in hospital. Some good news: she’s had a decent night’s sleep. Doctor says damage to her ribs is not that serious. If they’re bruised it will take six weeks, if they’re broken it will also take six weeks. In either case there’s not a lot he can do about it. He’s happy to discharge Evita if she’s up to it. She should take it easy for the next couple of days – music to her ears. The doctor even gave us a guided tour of the island – you don’t get this on the NHS! And here’s the reason: the Channel Islands are not covered by the NHS – chock to the wallet. Our E-111 does us no good whatsoever. Hope our travel insurance chips in.