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Old 15-02-2011, 09:38   #1
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Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

We'll probably be going across the Channel for the first time at the beginning of May. We'll be setting off from Plymouth and going to Trebeurden initially. We've decided it would be wise to take an extra crew member to help with watches etc. Can you give us advice and tips. Although we've done sailing courses and Jon has passed his RYA Day Skipper, we're still quite new to sailing and would welcome your help. My stamina isn't brilliant so I can't do long watches. With an extra crew member there should be three of us, although we may take a fourth crew member as well who is a Master Mariner but he has an impending op so we're not sure how he will be in May. Thanks. Louise and Jon
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Old 04-03-2011, 10:36   #2
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Hi Louise and Jon ,
We done this crossing 3 years ago but we went from Plymouth to Cameret. Our insurance told us we must be atleast 3 people to do that crossing ,half of the crossing was ok second half the weather turned ,rain ,fog ,and later the wind got up.We probbly could have done with a 4 people especially with the fog.

We now are in Greece and have had a fantastic 3 seasons sailing to Greece. This season we hope to sail from greece to Turkey. If we can be of any help let us know.

Fair winds and no fog.
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Old 05-03-2011, 05:33   #3
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Thanks Marius! That is very helpful to know.

I am longing to go back to Greece one day and we have heard that Turkey is great so we will be heading there too at some point. We'll be in touch for info on all that when we go there. I could definitely get stuck in the Greek Islands for a long time! I was in Mykonos in 1968 and we have friends on Corfu where I have been three times.

All the best,

Louise and Jon
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:05   #4
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Hi Louise,

I have crossed the channel many times. The distance is about 100 miles as the crow flies - you don't say what kind of boat you will be on - but, assuming that you will be sailing, plan on a 20 hour passage. I would leave after lunch and go overnight so that you have lots of daylight for your arrival. There's nothing worse than getting to an unknown landfall as it is getting dark!

I think you are wise to have 3 on board, an extra one would do no harm.

Fair winds - let us know how you get on
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:31   #5
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pirate Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Hi.... I'm assuming this will be a long W/end crossing so if possible start the trip in the Friday evening or around midnight..
this should see you crossing the main shipping lanes around dawn... or at least daytime... also you'll be making landfall during the day..
the trips 110miles +/- so work around that...
tides are no big deal during the crossing as you'll find it'll balance out over the period of your passage but would advise you make your approach on a rising tide...
So if you reckon on a 18hr crossing you'd leave Plymouth approaching HW...
but I could be wrong....
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Old 05-03-2011, 06:40   #6
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Like Ed I have done the trip many times, the last time with 4 members of my Miami sailing club Coconut Grove Sailing Club The following are very important:

On a 24 hr crossing the tides tend to even out but ensure that you are up tide and up wind when you arrive near your destination or your last few hours might be miserable. Motor to keep up your needed speed if necessary.

If a weather front is possible arrive on the backside and not in the warm, misty, rainy part...the French entries are rarely easy and dark misty and rainy entries are to be avoided. If for any reason you arrive after dark it might be better to heave-to and fore-reach into the tide until dawn. At night even Cherborg is not easy, I once had a skipper assure everyone we were lined up on the leading lights into Cherborg and he was quite upset when one of the crew pointed out that it was in fact the 20,000 ton car ferry leaving the entrance.

Large ships are a big problem and you must cross the shipping lanes with care, 2 people on watch especially at night is beneficial. Do not be afraid to use the VHF to negotiate a crossing with a big ship and to ensure they see you. However, they do not always respond. If I interact with a big ship at night I illuminate my sail intermittently with a powerful, battery operated, 'search light'.

My technique for a crossing vessel is to heave-to if necessary to let them by and then cross their stern. Do not cross the bow unless you have lots of room. I also have the engine running so that I can escape 'stage left if necessary'.

I always thought that French fishing boats were on a mission to run down English sailboats so make sure you understand their nav. lights and know where their nets or trawls are located.

Unless you have radar do not go if there is a chance of fog.

Good luck and enjoy the food.
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:00   #7
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Hi Louise,

You've already had some good advice about crossing. I'd not find 2 up a problem but only you know what you feel good with. IMHO radar definately needed as we've experienced more crossings with fog that without. So if not got - maybe sail in company with another that is equipped - and follow close behind when the fog arrives............

Once you arrive, getting into Trebuerden daylight hours requires some attention at the best of times. Once you've done it once it will seem easy, but there are lots of black lumpy unmarked rocks around the approaches.

It's not a port entry I'd recommend you try in the dark or if you are feeling knackered at the end of a tiring passage, but you can hang off on one of the 20 waiting buoys set in about 2 metres of water in the bay off the marina outer wall. You'd be sheltered from prevailing winds by the cliffs to westward - so when you arrive it would be easy to just grab one of those until the sun is up and the time is right to go in over the entry sill.

Or if you do not need to go ashore they usually let you hang there for a few days with zip charge.

If you do go in, be sure to follow the channel markers even at high tide - it gets awefully shallow outside the channel (as you'll see when the tide does drop). Few of those smaller marks are lit.

The marina itself usually parks visitors on the first two pontoons to your left as you enter, but the space is tight twix each pontoon.

So again, I'd suggest if especially windy (not uncommon in that port) you practice your Franglais to ask the marinaro in his RIB to hang around to help nudge you in safely.

Nice town - nice restaurants etc around the marina - supermarket / pharmacy etc up top of hill - enjoy

JOHN
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:28   #8
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

The only thing I can think to add, is to prep all the meals in advance so you can just bung them in the oven and dish up. Those large ready meals like lasagna in a foil tray or boil in a bag rice with curry are our normal choices. Whilst hardly a culinary delight, they are quick, easy and hot, just what you need late at night, so plan on a fourth meal say 11pm. Hot chocolate in a flask and ginger biscuits in a tupperware box in the cockpit saves disturbing the off watch crew and helps to pass the night.

Have a good trip and enjoy the arrival in a strange and mysterious foreign land, well you know what I mean.

Oh and take the camera, then you can let us know how you get on.

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Old 05-03-2011, 08:33   #9
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Coo Pete. Hot chokkie and ginger nuts on the night watches. Now that's what I call a well prepped boat!

JOHN
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Old 05-03-2011, 08:53   #10
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

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Originally Posted by swagman View Post
Coo Pete. Hot chokkie and ginger nuts on the night watches. Now that's what I call a well prepped boat!
JOHN
We learnt the hard way St Vaast to Portsmouth, 14 hours through a stormy wet night with only a can of lemonade. Viv sea sick so could cook and no autopilot. There is a short write up of the trip here:

The Saga of St Vaast (France)

Prepped, we now prefer to cross at night time so arrive in daylight.

Pete
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:16   #11
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Pete, that was a nice night in the Channel!

You should have cooked a nice can of Frey Bentos Steak and Kidney Pudding and had a large glass of French plonk with it!

Works wonders for sea sickness.

http://www.premierfoods.co.uk/our-br...y/fray-bentos/
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Old 05-03-2011, 09:25   #12
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pirate Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

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Originally Posted by s/v Moondancer View Post
Pete, that was a nice night in the Channel!

You should have cooked a nice can of Frey Bentos Steak and Kidney Pudding and had a large glass of French plonk with it!

Works wonders for sea sickness.

Premier Foods - Fray Bentos
Liver n Onions with Bacon, Instant Smash with herbs and a glass or 3 of red....mmmmm
Or a simple Bacon Sarnie...
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Old 05-03-2011, 10:10   #13
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Re: Crossing the English Channel from Plymouth to Trebeurden

Thanks everyone for your messages. Hopefully we will make it over without any mishaps!

Louise and Jon
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