For once they didn't exaggerate.
Sat 6 Apr 2013 11:07
As Bertie has already told you we are safely tucked up in Beaucette Marina on the NE corner of Guernsey. Our trip over was fairly uneventful, a good stiff North Easterly breeze pushed us along nicely, forcing us to slowdown as we approached Guernsey as we couldn’t get into the Marina until high water. We had made a lot better time than planned.
Several weeks ago when talking with various sailors at the club (RLymYC), when asked I mentioned that our first port of call was going to be Beaucette Marina, there then followed a string of questions..... Have you been there before? Do you realise how narrow the entrance is? Are you mad? The answers to which where, No, No and I am not sure you tell me. Over the next couple of weeks I was regaled with tales of woe and pending doom, and a number of sideways looks that said “ Poor boy, he’ll learn!”.
Well I put all this down to the usual exaggeration that all sailors are prone too, I know because I am as guilty as the next. But when we arrived it slowly dawned on me that for once they didn’t exaggerate.
The entrance to Beaucette Marina, an old quarry that had an entrance to the sea blasted out by the Royal Marines back in the sixties.
The official width of Beaucette entrance at high Water is 22ft, the official width (beam) of UHURU at all times is 18ft.
When we arrived we had a strong NE wind blowing right into the entrance of the Marina and the Harbour Master very sensibly warned us off, and suggested we tried the next high tide in the morning. So we went around to the other side of the island and dropped an anchor for the night. 4am the next morning we are up and at it again, 6am high water, so as we approach we still had a NE wind blowing of 20 – 25knts, I aborted just fifty meters from the entrance. We headed back to St Peter Port to lick our wounds. This was proving more problematic than I thought. And to cap it all the weather forecast showed just one more chance of getting that evening on the HW, after that the weather would close the entrance for several days at least. We couldn’t stay in ST Peter Port as they don’t allow dogs ashore so options we getting limited. So I decided that if I only had the one chance to get in I needed some local knowledge so I found Jason, a local sailor that lived in Beaucette and new it well.
That evening we headed out towards Beaucette and an appointment with a 22ft gap and 15kt NE cross wind. As we approached Jason gave me some good alignment tips and then his last words were “In this wind you need to be doing 7 –8 knots as you go through, otherwise you’ll be blown onto the rocks. Just make sure that as we get through you brake like crazy and turn hard left before we hit that wall”.
Well we did it, I don’t think I’ve ever been through a tighter gap, or gripped my bum cheeks quite so hard. Beans, who was down below because the weather was so nasty, said she couldn’t believe it when all she could see out of both side of the Coach house was rock walls just feet away. (For the nautical of you, we couldn’t use fenders because there wasn’t room, and we were going too fast.)
Now a bit of Housekeeping. Firstly thanks to all the dogs around the world that responded to Bertie’s blog, he’s very grateful and has made a lot of new friends. Beans however has asked me to point out that it was her that translated Bertie’s blog into English not me. I suspect there’s a little rivalry going on here.
One of the things I became aware of after my last trip was that a lot of you were nervous about responding to blogs as I had asked you all not to just hit “reply” as it sent everything back to me and cost a fortune in satellite time. Well that is no longer a problem, so please feel free to correspond with us at any time. We look forward to it. Because of time issues and numbers of responses we can’t always guarantee to reply but we will try.
Steve, Beans and Bertie.