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