A total of 20 boats taking part in the Motor Boats Monthly cruise in company to the Channel Islands and France completed the cross-Channel leg from St Peter Port, Guernsey to home ports yesterday

A total of 20 boats taking part in the Motor Boats Monthly cruise in company to the Channel Islands and France completed the cross-Channel leg from St Peter Port, Guernsey to home ports yesterday.

Thanks to higher winds of the day before the sea was a bit of an unknown quantity for this final act in the week-long event that had seen the fleet of 25ft-61ft motorboats also visit Cherbourg, St Helier in Jersey. The mood wasn’t much helped by grey skies casting a heavy pall, coupled with a light but chilly north-westerly breeze and the knowledge that we would be running out on Guernsey’s liberation day celebrations.

Piers du Pré’s Fleming 55Play D’eauand Derek and Margaret Braybrook aboard the Broom 10/70Il Largoacted as pathfinders, departing Victoria Marina as soon as the white water rapid over Victoria Marina’s cill had first turned into a slower moving river, bring the necessary depth of water for a safe exit.

At first the Little Russel seemed benign, but further north near Beaucette and getting away from the lee afforded by Guernsey the sea displayed the expected confused hangover nature that is often its lot after taking too much wind the day before. Further up again, on a northerly leg leaving the Casquets a healthy distance off to starboard, the short 1m-1.5m wave conditions were judged to be a little uncomfortable for smaller craft but not unmanageable especially if they took advantage of the presence of the larger boats by following in their wake.

A telephone call to Guernsey revealed that an air raid siren in full voice was serenading the waiting fleet. It was signalling ‘Time To Party’ for the islanders and ‘Time To Evacuate’ for the Cruising Club.

It was a mostly uneventful run save for two episodes. The Broom 41Dawn Caperstook some muck into fuel filters that saw her progress slowed but not stopped. MBM’s Broom 39Calm Voyagerstayed in close attendance. More challenging was the overheat on one engine with the loss of coolant on Bob and Carole Nelson’s Cranchi Zaffiro 34Camilla, which had to divert to Cherbourg and arrange a Sea Start engineer for the following morning,

Last boat back across was MBM’s Humber RIBTime Flies. Having escortedCamillato a safe port Neale Byart and Richard Poat were left to cross the Channel solo and were met byCalm Voyagerwhich had refuelled at Yarmouth and then run south of the Needles.

This year’s Channel Islands cruise had provided quite a challenging call on weather at times and it was cooled by a wind that, in typical May fashion, adamantly refused to move much out of the northern sector. However, the log-off calls from participants as they reached home marinas in Poole and the Solent, many of them first-time Channel crossers, provided plenty of evidence that there had been clear compensations.

One obvious highlight was just how attractive St Helier and St Peter Port visitor prices are. Jersey and Guernsey offer obvious (and different) delights for those who take the trouble to visit, but it is also a positive pleasure to pay a Pound Sterling overnight rate that leaves a pleasant feeling, especially as the facilities on offer are not cut-price to match.

The MBM Cruising Club has visited the Channel Islands every year since 1988; no doubt it will be back.

2004 Channel Islands cruise first day report 
2004 Channel Islands cruise report from Jersey 
2004 Channel Islands cruise Guernsey report 
2004 Channel Islands cruise final report