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mollykins
06-02-11, 09:47
I know some teenagers have crossed the english channel on little sailing dinghies.

But how experienced should you be and what safety measures should you take. I'm 17, and two of my friends are 18 and between us we have over 20 years experience (but only really on rivers and lakes) and are all up for crossing it in my graduate dinghy (us 3 can all fit easily)

I'm guessig other people who've done it had a power boat capable of towing them if they got into trouble, but what other stuff do you need to sort out? The channel is a busy shipping lane and big ships can't move out of your way and they may look like their in the distance, but they can be on top of you in minutes.

I know another thing to consider is about tides and currents, to make thejourney as easy as possible.

Searush
06-02-11, 10:39
There is a strapline on here that goes "I'm too old to know it all, I leave that to the kids"

Not being nasty, just trying to get you to think a bit more about what you have in mind. Yes, what you suggest is perfectly feasible - if everything works out OK. But there is a lot in the phrase "If everything". And you know that, or you wouldn't be asking the question, which is a good start.

Think about what could go wrong, here are a few off the top of my head;

Capsize & waterlogged.
MoB
Damage, loss or breakage of rig/ rudder & fittings
Bad weather - wind (too much or too little), fog, heavy rain, cold, even too much sun!
Illness or injury to crew (seasickess is probable for some/all of the crew)
Navigation problems, possibly due to fog, heavy rain, or a calm spell & tidal currents

Now add in the crossing of the Traffic separation Zone - can you carry, fit & refuel an o/b engine while at sea? If you are dependant on the wind for speed, it may not be there when yoy need it most. Your speed is likely to be only a few knots, the shipping, which is huge & generating a large wash might be crossing your path at 15-30kts.

How many are going, can you manage watch system if the voyage ends up longer than say 8-10 hrs, what will off watch crew do, how will they rest? What food & drink can you take/ prepare? You probably should allow for a 24hr passage duration - about 2-3 times the probable time.

You need to consider all these issues (and any other stuff I haven't remembered) and have a sound strategy for dealing with them when it all goes wrong. If someone was planning this as a publicity stunt or charity fundraiser I would expect a fully crewed "safety boat" to accompany them with the capability of taking the dinghy on board or at least on tow & carrying the crew.

Or you could just go, have a blast & hope for the best with a waterproof VHF handheld & call for help if it doesn't work out . . . . :eek: :rolleyes:

Remember most loss of life at sea isn't generally the result of one catastrophic failure, it tends to be a string of minor problems that can't be dealt with fully, which then build up until . . . .

Edit; Start by getting some sea miles under your belt; test your skills with a "simple" Solent crossing first, that may be more challenging than you think. A Channel Crossing is a pretty big undertaking, but read a few Frank Dye books, he sailed his Wayfarer to Iceland, but was extremely well prepared.

Doineann
06-02-11, 11:01
When you say 'the channel' what do you mean? There is a big difference between crossing from the South Coast to Normandy/Brittany and crossing the straights of Dover.

sarabande
06-02-11, 11:08
I guess that Grads have crossed the Channel solo in the past, but given the increased level of traffic today, I suggest that any plan includes a companion mobo or raggie with a decent engine to pull you clear of the traffic zones if necessary.


Doing all the preparations, boat kit, safety stuff, food, met, navigation, and lots of practice, will be a very rewarding experience and you will never forget the voyage .

Why not do the trip as part of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award ?


Go for it !

Skysail
06-02-11, 11:09
Megan Baker did it in a Laser 13, Exmouth to Cherbourg. She had 2 support vessels.

http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:wUGsjCrHntcJ:www.gapyear.com/fundraising/crossing_the_channel.html+laser+crossing+channel&cd=6&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=uk&source=www.google.co.uk

Everything Searush says applies, and then some.

Searush
06-02-11, 11:32
FWIW,
When I was young, I borrrowed my Dad's 14' open dinghy with a Seagull Century o/b & crossed Bardsey Sound from Aberdaeron to the Island as a nice day out. The journey is only a few miles, but Bardsey Sound is a wild & dangerous bit of water. I carried food & water for the two of us (SWMBO came with me) for 24 hours and several times the fuel I was likely to need. We had l/j's, a compass and an OS map, but no chart or radio - it was a small open boat and probably in the late 60's. We did have an anchor & warp & some flares, but the draft was only a few inches so an e/s wasn't needed.

We had a great time, explored the island, climbed the hill, met some interesting people & got some excellent advice from them for the return journey. But nothing went wrong. Had the Seagull died, I had oars, but the currents would have been in control, not me. Fog or heavy rain would have meant turning back or sleeping rough on the Island, fortunately, the forecast was correct. I had also used the boat quite a bit before on the sea & in rivers & had confidence in its (& the Seagull's) capabilities.

Would I do it now? No, I understand the risks I took then a lot better now than I did then. Do I regret it? No! It was a great adventure, but it could easily have gone very wrong. I learned a lot from my preparations & the actual trip - including the fact that I had probably pushed my luck rather further than I should.

Edit; Mollykins - don't forget to plan for where you stay on arrival & how you are going to get back!

Searush
06-02-11, 11:53
More thoughts,
In a sailing dinghy there is always a risk of capsize. EVERYTHING will need to be tied down, or at least fastened to the hull. That includes balers, oars, rudder & tiller, centreboard (may have a hingepin anyway) your food, water, any safety gear etc.

Change of clothing - in waterproof containers (you used to be able to get largish screw-toppped waterproof plastic containers with a ring seal in the lid from chemist shops - some bulk drugs are supplied in them)

Flares, VHF, GPS, chart (laminated photocopies would be good) waterproof clothing & several layers that you can add/remove as the weather changes.

A wetsuit or drysuit may seem like a good idea - until you have to spend the night & next day in it while you try to get home . . .

Foods, a variety of high energy stuff, finger foods that you can eat cold, a flask of hot soup and one of coffee. It is unlikely that you will be able to arrange sensible cooking options, but you could have self-heating food packs. Water & fruit juice would be good, but I wouldn't go for too much fizzy or "sport drinks". Biscuits & fruit can give a sugar boost if you need it.

Think about how you will go to the toilet - wee & poo may well be needed, you are 3 people in a very small space. No mention if sexes are same of different - it could be embarrassing for some.

I hope you are starting to get the drift now?

Sailfree
06-02-11, 12:35
Go cruising in the sea first with something like the Wayfarer cruising association. The Wayfarer is one of the most durable sea boats. You will also learn how others stow equipment and what safety equipment you need.

They used to do a round the isle of wight cruise each year but after one year where there were problems they insisted on only more experienced sailors.

Make sure you have a dinghy where you can reef the sails.

We have raced a Wayfarer for some 18yrs but our racing sails don't reef. When racing we have been in conditions that other boats would not survive.

For the Wayfarer Internationals in 2006? 3 Wayfarers sailed across the N Sea to Holland to take part.

Weather can always catch you out. A few years ago I had a 38' Dufour boat on charter and the person checked the weather before sailing. Got caught out off France in a force 9 and boat and rigging were seriously damaged by knockdowns.

You must respect the sea.

sailorman
06-02-11, 12:56
There is a strapline on here that goes "I'm too old to know it all, I leave that to the kids"

Not being nasty, just trying to get you to think a bit more about what you have in mind. Yes, what you suggest is perfectly feasible - if everything works out OK. But there is a lot in the phrase "If everything". And you know that, or you wouldn't be asking the question, which is a good start.

Think about what could go wrong, here are a few off the top of my head;

Capsize & waterlogged.
MoB
Damage, loss or breakage of rig/ rudder & fittings
Bad weather - wind (too much or too little), fog, heavy rain, cold, even too much sun!
Illness or injury to crew (seasickess is probable for some/all of the crew)
Navigation problems, possibly due to fog, heavy rain, or a calm spell & tidal currents

Now add in the crossing of the Traffic separation Zone - can you carry, fit & refuel an o/b engine while at sea? If you are dependant on the wind for speed, it may not be there when yoy need it most. Your speed is likely to be only a few knots, the shipping, which is huge & generating a large wash might be crossing your path at 15-30kts.

How many are going, can you manage watch system if the voyage ends up longer than say 8-10 hrs, what will off watch crew do, how will they rest? What food & drink can you take/ prepare? You probably should allow for a 24hr passage duration - about 2-3 times the probable time.

You need to consider all these issues (and any other stuff I haven't remembered) and have a sound strategy for dealing with them when it all goes wrong. If someone was planning this as a publicity stunt or charity fundraiser I would expect a fully crewed "safety boat" to accompany them with the capability of taking the dinghy on board or at least on tow & carrying the crew.

Or you could just go, have a blast & hope for the best with a waterproof VHF handheld & call for help if it doesn't work out . . . . :eek: :rolleyes:

Remember most loss of life at sea isn't generally the result of one catastrophic failure, it tends to be a string of minor problems that can't be dealt with fully, which then build up until . . . .

Edit; Start by getting some sea miles under your belt; test your skills with a "simple" Solent crossing first, that may be more challenging than you think. A Channel Crossing is a pretty big undertaking, but read a few Frank Dye books, he sailed his Wayfarer to Iceland, but was extremely well prepared.

I didnt respond when it was first posted, insread looked @ bio.

A Sea Scout would have some basic knowledge i would have thought:o

Seajet
06-02-11, 12:58
I agree with all the preparations etc, and especially getting some experience so as to see just what you're taking on.

However there's another snag no-one has mentioned yet; unless something has changed in a direction I wouldn't expect, I thought the French authorities got pretty upset about this sort of thing ?

Even cruising yachts are supposed to have certain equipment, and if they don't cross a shipping lane at the right angle there are severe consequences ( if you survive ). There are patrol boats and aircraft to regulate the lanes, let alone being reported by a ship, which is quite likely; a good chance of a patrol or lifeboat being sent out even if you didn't feel in trouble.

I contemplated this sort of thing when young and inexperienced, and was told I would not exactly get a warm welcome on the French side.

Sailing a dinghy along a carefully chosen part of the UK coast, camping, would be more fun but still not something to do without a lot more experience.

To be honest I didn't reply to this thread when it first appeared as it seemed like a Troll, and I'm still not too convinced it isn't !

Pye_End
06-02-11, 13:14
Even cruising yachts are supposed to have certain equipment,

Can you elaborate on this?

To the OP - I have seen Wayfarers cross the North Sea to Den Helder, admittadly in a group, and well away from TSS's, but that is a big trip compared with say Dover to Calais.

Read Frank and Margaret Dye's books.

Realising that you need to think about your own safety on a trip like this means you are well on your way to getting it right.

sailorman
06-02-11, 13:36
Can you elaborate on this?

To the OP - I have seen Wayfarers cross the North Sea to Den Helder, admittadly in a group, and well away from TSS's, but that is a big trip compared with say Dover to Calais.

Read Frank and Margaret Dye's books.

Realising that you need to think about your own safety on a trip like this means you are well on your way to getting it right.

A Graduate 3 up is quite different to a Wayfarer with 2 very experienced crew

Seajet
06-02-11, 13:41
It is my understanding that a yacht operating in French territorial waters has to have things like in-date flares, a liferaft or half inflated dinghy on deck, lifejackets all round, radar reflector, fog signal, first aid etc, and there is an outside chance of an inspection to prove this.

This is going back to the mid-seventies when I started going cross-Channel, the standing joke was that the French had all this kit ( guardrails was another thing ) but at the time a lot had no engine...

Things may have gone more Euro-standard now, but it seems unlikely the safety reg's will have been de-rated; I just keep everything in date and get on with it.

As we know in real life it's pretty unusual to even see a French Customs guy.

Uffa Fox sailed an International 14 - it may have been his famous 'Avenger', I don't have the book to hand - across from Cowes to somewhere like Cherbourg 3-up, won a series of races then a day or two later sailed her back across.

The only snag was getting becalmed in fog in the Solent and having to tie up to a bell-buoy all night !

Pye_End
06-02-11, 16:43
It is my understanding that a yacht operating in French territorial waters has to have things like in-date flares, a liferaft or half inflated dinghy on deck, lifejackets all round, radar reflector, fog signal, first aid etc, and there is an outside chance of an inspection to prove this.


Assuming that they do such regulations and are able to impose them (I do not recall any UK flagged yachts falling foul of them), how do they relate to dinghies? I don't recall seeing French dinghies with liferafts on them?

Mind you, it might be interesting to know what paperwork is required (cue Toad).

Seajet
06-02-11, 16:53
Exactly my point; strolling up in a dinghy will attract attention even if going across doesn't.

At which point if a jobsworth is having a bad day, a dinghy isn't following said regulations, to put it mildly - I think the thing the French would be upset about above all else would be the shipping lanes though...

Yes, it's rare to even see officialdom in France, but it may be interesting to give 'Joburg Traffeeck' a call describing the proposed trip; if you do, please record it for us ! :)

Little Grebe
06-02-11, 19:50
A Graduate 3 up is quite different to a Wayfarer with 2 very experienced crew

A couple of years back one couple sailed thier Wayfarer from Woolverstone to Calais and back, however thier boat was set up for cruising and they are a very experianced pair.

Given what has been written on these forums over the last couple of days regarding compliance with French and Dutch regulations I count myself lucky I am not currently posting from the Bastille :)

sailorman
06-02-11, 19:54
A couple of years back one couple sailed thier Wayfarer from Woolverstone to Calais and back, however thier boat was set up for cruising and they are a very experianced pair.

Given what has been written on these forums over the last couple of days regarding compliance with French and Dutch regulations I count myself lucky I am not currently posting from the Bastille :)

as i stated earlier
A Graduate isnt a Wayfarer.
its a small narrow beam dinghy. Ok ( pun ;) ) the wayfarer is a problem if inverted :eek:

BobPrell
07-02-11, 01:31
When you say 'the channel' what do you mean? There is a big difference between crossing from the South Coast to Normandy/Brittany and crossing the straights of Dover.

I am pedantic, I do not mean to annoy.

There is only one Strait of Dover.

Your question "what do you mean?" is very important.

If the OP intends to cross from Suffolk, where he resides, he will be crossing the North Sea, not the English Channel.

This could mean avoiding French waters altogether, if the French are as problematic as some say.

This reference and the paragraphs around it are worth study IMHO.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_Channel#By_boat

including "However, in exceptional cases the French Maritime Authorities may grant authority for unorthodox craft to cross French territorial waters within the Traffic Separation Scheme when these craft set off from the British coast, on condition that the request for authorisation is sent to them with the opinion of the British Maritime Authorities".

In the busiest waters in the world, a dinghy would surely be unconventional.

Bosun Higgs
07-02-11, 08:58
You would know the capabilities of your dinghy better than I would but I have friends who crossed the channel ( Solent area to Cherbourg) in a wayfarer in a force 6 and repeated the trip a couple of days later in the opposite direction. That was in the 70s.

My suggestion would be to do some open sea sailing to get a better idea of the capabilities of both you and the boat. Build up gradually. I've no doubt that both of you could make it on a nice summers day with a westerly force 3 but could you cope if conditions deteriorated to a 6 on the nose?

If you believe you can then equip properly. You need means to make big ships aware of you, and you need personal epirbs that will float alongside you. You need good buoyancy support. Lots of other things.

Sailfree
07-02-11, 11:06
the wayfarer is a problem if inverted

The new mk 4 wayfarer can be bought up by 1 person from an inverted position. When racing we regularly fly the kite and capsize - it is not a problem on a Wayfarer with a large rotating centreboard,

Its can be more of a problem on toppers etc with dagger boards as the dagger board can drop down. I have had to dive under inverted dinghys to push up the dagger board before pulling them upright.

Tip - A polyprop knotted line at each shroud position with a loop for your toe just at the right height to help you climb aboard. If you are quick the crew can grab the knotted rope (left in board) as you start to capsize, throw themselves over the side and "catch" the boat before it inverts. This way we rarely go beyond mast touching the water. You could be unpleasantly surprised how difficult it is to climb in over the windward side of a dinghy after righting a capsize in cold windy conditions.

Phoenix of Hamble
07-02-11, 11:13
Can I add that too many teenagers are content with sitting at home watching TV, so IMHO, go for it!!!!

Yes, make sure you take the neccessary precautions, and I feel that a support vessel of some kind is a very good idea....

But, wow, what an adventure... :D

Good luck!

PS, i've done some 'mad' trips in dinghies too.... including sailing across the Wash in a Laser II on the trapeze the whole way..... :D

Searush
07-02-11, 11:52
I didnt respond when it was first posted, insread looked @ bio.

A Sea Scout would have some basic knowledge i would have thought:o

I guess this is a pop at me for trying to help. :confused:

Have you ever been as Sea Scout? I have, and in a seaside town. They are Scouts first & boat orientated second. The OP even stated "no sea experience" which is fairly typical. Even when taking my Anchor Badge, (1961) the nearest I got to the sea was in a whaler in Salthouse Dock. Almost all sailing will be done on lakes & rivers. The English Channel is a whole different ball game, even if pottering the fringes, never mind a 20 mile (minimum) crossing.

So yes, they have the necessary basic sailing skills, but long-distance cruising in an unsuitable, small, over-canvassed class racing dinghy is a whole different ball game, especially when 3-up! I'm surprised you don't see the difference. So it goes.

I too wondered if it was a Troll, but I remembered earlier posts of a similar nature by Mollykins & believe there is a genuine need for info, ideas & discussion. Thank you for your contribution & help . . .

BobPrell
07-02-11, 12:47
I too wondered if it was a Troll, . . .

I have had a skim through all his posts and am not taking him (her?) for a Troll.

OP appears to be on a learning curve, that's OK. If we wait until we are totally, finally ready for something, we will never start.

Time for some feedback. I am wondering why OP wants to sail across the Channel. If the answer is "because it's there" well fine I will bow out. To sail across to attend a regatta or some other specific boat-related event on the continent seems alright to me.

All that traffic, even not in the zones, I just think why inflict that on yourself?

If the OP wants to experience sailing a long distance on open water, why not sail out into the North Sea to some arbitrary point, turn around and come back again to Suffolk? I have realised, I do not ever want to be bothered with all the compliance of sailing into a foreign port. I am seriously thinking of satisfying my desire to sail on an ocean by sailing east from Australia a couple of hundred miles, turning around and sailing back.

I would not want to have a support boat except as part of the preparatory experience. If that makes it foolhardy to sail through heavily traffic'd waters, then I would not sail.

Little Grebe
07-02-11, 13:16
If the OP wants to experience sailing a long distance on open water, why not sail out into the North Sea to some arbitrary point, turn around and come back again to Suffolk? I have realised, I do not ever want to be bothered with all the compliance of sailing into a foreign port. I am seriously thinking of satisfying my desire to sail on an ocean by sailing east from Australia a couple of hundred miles, turning around and sailing back.

Each to thier own, I suppose. For me the whole point making a passage across the North Sea or the English Channel is to arrive at a foreign port.

sighmoon
08-02-11, 05:31
I always fancied doing something similar when I was a teenager, but never quite got round to it.

It is not as safe as sitting on the sofa at home, but for a little perspective; people have crossed the atlantic on Hobie cats. By that I don't mean you should be flipant about safety; but you're not attempting the impossible

3 up in a graduate, laden with food and water will be quite slow. Slow means you're more likely to be exposed to unforecast weather, and that you need to carry even more stuff. Also check the boat thoroughly - I once had a 505 sink on me.

If it were me, I'd build it up in increasing steps - maybe cross the Thames Estuary first, for instance. Have a go at eating, peeing etc while underway.

The weather forecast is obviously critical; too little is as bad as too much when you come to cross the shipping lanes. Don't be too proud to call it off if the weather is anything other than perfect.

The French may be a bit annoyed by your audacity, but I doubt they'd send you back. Perhaps they'll show their annoyance by issuing you with some sort paperwork which you can frame when you get home.

Let us know how you get on.

Phoenix of Hamble
08-02-11, 08:18
I very much doubt the French will be annoyed.

They have a certain 'amore' for people doing daft things in boats!

AliM
08-02-11, 08:32
I have a Grad on a lake, but I would hesitate to take it onto the sea, mainly because the freeboard will be rather low, but it will be pretty stable 3-up. A Wayfarer is better from that point of view, but if it does capsize, it's a lot more difficult than the Grad to right (guess how I know that). As many others have said, try some sea-sailing first - across the Thames estuary would be good, and you'll get a flavour of crossing shipping lanes.

Get a handheld VHF (and one of you do the course to use it), preferably one that floats. Tell Thames CG what you are doing, and they'll keep an eye out for you (probably after advising you not to do it!). Add a radar reflector to make sure they can track where you are. Work out the tides so you do not spend too much time sailing backwards or sideways!

I hope it works out - even if it doesn't, you'll have racked up some pretty good experience and had a lot of fun first - but don't drown - we'd not have encouraged you if we thought you might drown!

al.carpenter
08-02-11, 10:28
I know I'll get plenty of "stick" for writing what follows but I don't care, I am used to it...
You have a "Project"? Whatever it is, go for it. Prepare it (not too much, count on your inventive brains to sort things out as they happen), think what could happen and when you feel ready, go for it. Society NEEDS people like that, doing things without safety nets because in the end, even if you fail, YOU will have experienced something that will make YOU different from this crowd of sheeps that makes the vast majority of us and take them a step forward. French authorities wont be a problem and if they are what can they do? Just be responsable for your actions and be ready to pay the price for them (even the ultimate one...) I first ran away from home when I was nine and did it eleven times before being seventeen and each time it's been a great adventure (all over Europe with Interpol looking for me...), some were crazy, but the "limit" is a lot further than you think when you start. GO GO GO and report here to share it with us, failure is always a success so what have you got to lose. Crossing the Chanel in a dinguy is not easy but if you think you can do it, do it, otherwise your question will be forever without an answer and your life will be poorer for it... Most will tell you don't do it but do not let others decide for you. Good luck. Al

Searush
08-02-11, 13:46
What have you got to lose?

Not much really, just your boat & possibly even your lives. Not at all important really. "If not duffers' won't drown" is fine on a lake, but 10 miles out at sea & capsized, or suffering from hypothermia or sunstroke is a bit of a different issue isn't it. Or it could just be a shroud fitting pulled out, rudder pintle failed, it's a long way to paddle with wind & tide to deal with.

By all means go for it, but don't be stupid. Scouts are taught to "be prepared", I would advise, "Be bloody well prepared"!

Sailfree
08-02-11, 14:02
I first ran away from home when I was nine and did it eleven times before being seventeen and each time it's been a great adventure (all over Europe with Interpol looking for me...), some were crazy. ,


Hi Al - where are you now - we are still looking for you.


Interpol



:-)

vyv_cox
08-02-11, 14:39
Follow Al's advice. 'Whatever it is, go for it'. He advises that you don't need a safety net, so a good start might be to jump off Beachy Head. After that I would single-hand across, don't take the other two. As Al advises 'the "limit" is a lot further than you think when you start'.

Pete54
08-02-11, 14:58
I raced Graduates as a kid in the Thames Estuary - not a very nice dinghy but it was all there was.

Given where you are starting from the idea is nothing more than a pipe dream. If you try and sail your Grad for 12 hours continuously - even inshore, you will have a tiny understanding of what this trip entails.

Try that and then decide if 3 people and stuff in a Graduate, offshore, looks like it might be difficult.

fergie_mac66
08-02-11, 15:18
Go cruising in the sea first with something like the Wayfarer cruising association. The Wayfarer is one of the most durable sea boats. You will also learn how others stow equipment and what safety equipment you need.

They used to do a round the isle of wight cruise each year but after one year where there were problems they insisted on only more experienced sailors.

Make sure you have a dinghy where you can reef the sails.

We have raced a Wayfarer for some 18yrs but our racing sails don't reef. When racing we have been in conditions that other boats would not survive.

For the Wayfarer Internationals in 2006? 3 Wayfarers sailed across the N Sea to Holland to take part.

Weather can always catch you out. A few years ago I had a 38' Dufour boat on charter and the person checked the weather before sailing. Got caught out off France in a force 9 and boat and rigging were seriously damaged by knockdowns.

You must respect the sea.

Better a wayfarer . Not sure but I think somebody sailed a wayfarer to iceland years ago , I think there was a book ?

Then again a graduate is better than an oppy :)

Sailfree
08-02-11, 15:45
Better a wayfarer . Not sure but I think somebody sailed a wayfarer to iceland years ago , I think there was a book ?

Then again a graduate is better than an oppy :)



Frank Dye see my post on Scuttlebutt nominating the Wayfarer as "Best boat of the century".

al.carpenter
08-02-11, 16:02
Hi Al - where are you now - we are still looking for you.


Interpol



:-)
hi, still doing crazy things. Getting ready (55 a few days ago) for a 1800kms bike/walking trip (Normandy to Santiago de Compostella with just bike AND dog AND a knife... on ancient pilgrim's tracks...) before resuming boatbuilding this summer.

Sybarite
09-02-11, 01:04
In France there are categories of navigation which stipulate that you are either a coastal vessel (limited to six miles from shelter) or oceanic. If oceanic you have an impressive list of mandatory equipment that you have to have including an oceanic liferaft - which is not light.

You may be able to ask for a derogation which I imagine would only be granted if you had an appropriate mother boat. I don't know what the penalties are if you do not respect the rules - but probably not a good idea in general.

I have been in thick fog / no wind in the traffic lanes (without radar) and it is not a pleasnat experience. At least I had a diesel engine to help me avoid a last second collision. The only trouble is it's more difficult to hear the other boat with your engine running...

sighmoon
09-02-11, 06:28
But don't British flagged boats only need to spec'd to UK requirements?

Searush
09-02-11, 13:01
But don't British flagged boats only need to spec'd to UK requirements?

True, but is your French good enough to convince a demented HM of that, when his wife has given him a PMT bashing in the morning, and he has had problems with "idiotic Englishmen" not following his harbour's rules all day?

Good luck with that, on the other hand, maybe he will admire the Plucky English & admire their spirit & give them a bottle fo wine. Trouble is that you don't know which HM you will find until he reveals his mood!

It also assumes that you are able to make ANY harbour at all against a foul tide & falling breeze as the light fades . . . . & you face a night at anchor - 3 in a small over canvassed open dinghy.

As I said initially. Great trip if everything goes well - how often in real life does EVERYTHING go well?

I rest my case. :cool: Sure, hope for the best, but FFS, do plan for the worst. And the worst case could easily be a fatal outcome.

Sybarite
09-02-11, 20:34
How does one know that it's a British boat? Registered?

Searush
09-02-11, 22:13
How does one know that it's a British boat? Registered?

The fact that it contains 3 British people is a fair clue. Under 7m can't be registered as a British Ship (ie part 1) Could have an SSR, I s'pose.

Going Foreign, it should have an ensign too. I guess.

Little Grebe
09-02-11, 22:27
True, but is your French good enough to convince a demented HM of that, when his wife has given him a PMT bashing in the morning, and he has had problems with "idiotic Englishmen" not following his harbour's rules all day?

Good luck with that, on the other hand, maybe he will admire the Plucky English & admire their spirit & give them a bottle fo wine. Trouble is that you don't know which HM you will find until he reveals his mood!

It also assumes that you are able to make ANY harbour at all against a foul tide & falling breeze as the light fades . . . . & you face a night at anchor - 3 in a small over canvassed open dinghy.

As I said initially. Great trip if everything goes well - how often in real life does EVERYTHING go well?

I rest my case. :cool: Sure, hope for the best, but FFS, do plan for the worst. And the worst case could easily be a fatal outcome.

One club Wayfarer has made it as far Calais and if they fell foul of local regulations they have glossed over it when recounting their travels :) However as has been pointed out before two experianced sailors undertaking the trip in a suitably equipped boat is a world away from what the OP proposes.

As an aside the only time anybody has been interested in the ship's papers was so they could write down the length on the certificate of registry and bill us accordingly!

Barnac1e
10-02-11, 07:43
I'm all for initiative and adventure but I just can't believe those cheering the OP on with this absurd endeavour.

Of course in benign conditions it is quite doable but that isn't the point. Open sea conditions in such a craft when the weather changes can be catastrophic, as anyone knows who sails offshore. Small problems occur and then escalate, we've all seen it - Murphy is always with us.

With reference to the Wayfarer. In my youth I used to sail and race one out of Whitby, often single-handed. Once I participated in a club race round an off-shore oil rig with it and had to reef when close to the mark - I was very comforted when a small cruiser stood by as I did so, the likelihood of getting swamped from the building wave-crests was very real.

On another occasion I was capsized; it was the devil to get up and to stay up because, waterlogged, with the wind getting under the rising sail, she would just roll over again. She just kept rotating on the fore and aft buoyancy. It taught me to install flexible bags under the side seating. But as another poster implies, they are not easy to right with their wide beam.

I think the original proposal is a clear case of 'confidence is what you feel before you understand the situation' and believe it irresponsible for more experienced people to encourage.

buzz915
10-02-11, 14:29
sounds to me like what you need is 2 more idiots who want to cross the channel but with next to no experience and in a topper buzz

we are regularly in contact with an RNLI sea safety advisor who has been advising us on what equipment and qualifications we should have and have been in touch with a number of people who regularly make the trip in small dinghys having spoke to these people and seen there reactions to what we are planing we are confidant we can make it
from the sounds of it your in a more sea worthy boat than ours and have more experience

i`ll pm you later

and to all the posts i will get in reply to this. yes we know its a stupid idea yes we know we might die but we will make it as safe as we can for our selves and others and if we dont feel ready or the weather is not favorable we wont go
again we know we might die its a calculated risk you take in everything you do everyone dies not everyone lives

Searush
10-02-11, 16:49
Just make sure you can deal with stronger or lighter winds than forcast & with probable breakages/ loss of gear. Most dinghies are somewhat over canvassed for cruising & cannot be reefed under way. They are extremely unsuitable craft for the journey. But you might get lucky.

"Do you feel lucky, Punk?" as Dirty Harry said. :rolleyes:

Phoenix of Hamble
10-02-11, 18:19
I'm all for initiative and adventure but I just can't believe those cheering the OP on with this absurd endeavour.

Of course in benign conditions it is quite doable but that isn't the point. Open sea conditions in such a craft when the weather changes can be catastrophic, as anyone knows who sails offshore. Small problems occur and then escalate, we've all seen it - Murphy is always with us.

With reference to the Wayfarer. In my youth I used to sail and race one out of Whitby, often single-handed. Once I participated in a club race round an off-shore oil rig with it and had to reef when close to the mark - I was very comforted when a small cruiser stood by as I did so, the likelihood of getting swamped from the building wave-crests was very real.

On another occasion I was capsized; it was the devil to get up and to stay up because, waterlogged, with the wind getting under the rising sail, she would just roll over again. She just kept rotating on the fore and aft buoyancy. It taught me to install flexible bags under the side seating. But as another poster implies, they are not easy to right with their wide beam.

I think the original proposal is a clear case of 'confidence is what you feel before you understand the situation' and believe it irresponsible for more experienced people to encourage.You are of course completely entitled to that opinion... but IMHO without a bit of spirit of adventure, we'd still be living in caves and saying 'Ugg', RJK would have never set off on his journey, we'd have never discovered the new world and the Galapagos islands would remain unknown.

Of course it has its risks, but careful planning, and sensible precaution can mitigate against those.

I applaud them, but appeal to them to plan it carefully, especially in consideration of a support vessel.

sailorman
10-02-11, 18:48
sounds to me like what you need is 2 more idiots who want to cross the channel but with next to no experience and in a topper buzz

we are regularly in contact with an RNLI sea safety advisor who has been advising us on what equipment and qualifications we should have and have been in touch with a number of people who regularly make the trip in small dinghys having spoke to these people and seen there reactions to what we are planing we are confidant we can make it
from the sounds of it your in a more sea worthy boat than ours and have more experience

i`ll pm you later

and to all the posts i will get in reply to this. yes we know its a stupid idea yes we know we might die but we will make it as safe as we can for our selves and others and if we dont feel ready or the weather is not favorable we wont go
again we know we might die its a calculated risk you take in everything you do everyone dies not everyone lives

Please become an RNLI member, call it Insurance;)

fergie_mac66
10-02-11, 21:22
Might be worth trying to fit if poss' some sort of spray dodger

monkfish24
10-02-11, 21:49
everyone dies not everyone lives

Nice use of some Drake lyrics there :D

I'm only a tad older than you, I'd just like to make it known we're not all boring old farts on here! (tongue firmly pressed to cheek!)

I'd say, take the necessary precautions but overall, enjoy it. Not many people do it because they are scared of everything going wrong. If we planned for every failure, we'd all be pottering round in warships.....

Countless people have swum the channel and lived and enjoyed their experience, what says it's no less safe on a dinghy providing you have someone covering your back. Just make sure your in check with all the right authorities and you should be ok. If worse came to the worse in france, tie the painter to the yacht or mobo that is with you and just pretend you were on a day out enjoying the beautiful Mer de francais!

I remember a trip, similar to Searush's, Me and a friend decided to sail a rather knackered old Lark and a topper down the River Tamar in Plymouth and out to the Sound. We'd checked forecasts etc but forgot about the narrows which can sometimes run happily up to 4kts! Yeah, we forgot the tide and by time we got there it had reached 3/12's of the tide. I could just get out but the topper couldn't. Just as the topper started making way a warship turned the corner and headed straight for us.

A police boat "gave chase", well just siddled up to him, told us off for being daft sailing dinghies through it at full current in a force 2 and we were ushered back up the river. Still is the most fun day I ever had. Nothing compared to your channel crossing but what if the current was the other way and we were trying to get home..... :D

BobPrell
11-02-11, 00:51
IMHO without a bit of spirit of adventure, we'd still be living in caves and saying 'Ugg' .

Of course it has its risks, but careful planning, and sensible precaution can mitigate against those.

I applaud them, but appeal to them to plan it carefully, especially in consideration of a support vessel.

I would go further Morgana and say that without the spirit of adventure, it would not be possible to live in the cave. It is imperative to venture out not just to hunt and gather, but to go further than before and find new hunting and gathering grounds.

Searush
11-02-11, 13:14
I would go further Morgana and say that without the spirit of adventure, it would not be possible to live in the cave. It is imperative to venture out not just to hunt and gather, but to go further than before and find new hunting and gathering grounds.

And sailing across a bit of water full of big ships in a totally unsuitable boat will advance humankind in exactly what way? :confused:

Plenty of opportunities for personal adventure - but this is not really a sensible level of risk, unless a great deal of preparation is undertaken. It is more likely that Mollykins & co will end up relying on others to come & rescue them when something unforseen goes wrong, unless they get more experience.

I have consistently tried to advise them of probable risk areas in this escapade. I have never said "don't go" - but they really will need to get some sea experience in the craft & learn a lot more about the risks than they currently understand.

Phoenix of Hamble
11-02-11, 13:51
And sailing across a bit of water full of big ships in a totally unsuitable boat will advance humankind in exactly what way? :confused:
In exactly the same way that sailing across in a suitable boat would...

It makes no sense to row across the Atlantic, or to walk to the North Pole, or to climb mount Everest....

But sometimes its just good to do it because it can be done.

Ask Chris Bonnington.

Seajet
11-02-11, 14:49
'Row The Atlantic or walk to the North Pole' ?

Do us a favour ! Loads of dinghies have crossed the Channel, as I mentioned early on in this thread, Uffa Fox sailed an undecked International 14 across 3-up, won a load of races then sailed back.

There is nothing special about the proposed trip whatsoever, apart from the singular lack of experience and understanding of those proposing it.

The hazards of the shipping lanes are not something being approached with plucky spirit, more of a 'bumble across and hope not to be in / cause a nasty accident'.

People here would rightly pour scorn if a gang from a pub went across in a pedalo, but if the wind falls light they'd be in more control than our heroes in a Graduate !

If something with pluck that's actually worthwhile without unseamanlike messing about in the shipping lanes is the idea, I suggest sailing around Britain, camping at night.

It would take a lot longer than the few days of the cross-Channel stunt, but would make a lot more sense.

Lazy Kipper
11-02-11, 15:00
Don't be put off by those whose sense of adventure is having two Fray Bentos pies for lunch whilst anchored in their stout and stable old yacht. Good grief if people can swim across the bl**dy channel I think sailing across in a dinghy may just be possible. If you are part of the Sea Scouts I see regularly at Woodbridge then you have lots of experience; take the best of the advice like having a buddy mobo/yacht and crew and inform the Coastguard in advance. You are already familiar with the standard emergency equipment and a good weather window will make it a great day. If you want some help crewing the buddy boat let me know.

Not a pop at Seajet BTW, posted at the same time.

Searush
11-02-11, 15:06
Don't be put off by those whose sense of adventure is having two Fray Bentos pies for lunch whilst anchored in their stout and stable old yacht. Good grief if people can swim across the bl**dy channel I think sailing across in a dinghy may just be possible. If you are part of the Sea Scouts I see regularly at Woodbridge then you have lots of experience; take the best of the advice like having a buddy mobo/yacht and crew and inform the Coastguard in advance. You are already familiar with the standard emergency equipment and a good weather window will make it a great day. If you want some help crewing the buddy boat let me know.

Not a pop at Seajet BTW, posted at the same time.

You too could do with reading more than the last few posts in a thread before getting on your high horse. In fact, the very first post told you they are only used to lake & river sailing (probably with rescue craft at hand & the shore within a few minutes swim) & had never been to sea.

Will any one else with an "opinion" kindly read the whole thread first, as we are just covering the same nonsense over & over again.

Phoenix of Hamble
11-02-11, 15:09
There is nothing special about the proposed trip whatsoever, apart from the singular lack of experience and understanding of those proposing it.....

.....If something with pluck that's actually worthwhile without unseamanlike messing about in the shipping lanes is the idea, I suggest sailing around Britain, camping at night.

Blummin 'eck Seajet!!!!

Don't you think the very fact that they've come on here and asked for some advice and thoughts demonstrates that they understand that very point?

Sound like a group of youngsters with a bit of a sense of adventure to me.... i'd like to see some positive encouragement (along with sound advice) rather than belittlement or scorn.

Lazy Kipper
11-02-11, 15:11
You too could do with reading more than the last few posts in a thread before getting on your high horse. In fact, the very first post told you they are only used to lake & river sailing (probably with rescue craft at hand & the shore within a few minutes swim) & had never been to sea.

Will any one else with an "opinion" kindly read the whole thread first, as we are just covering the same nonsense over & over again.

Yes we have read the whole thread and shocking though it sounds, still have a different opinion to you. Good grief how is that possible :rolleyes:

Phoenix of Hamble
11-02-11, 15:12
Searush,

IME lake sailors are amongst the best sailors in the country. They have an ability to react to changing wind conditions vastly superior to most sea based sailors, simply because that's what they experience week in week out. Not to say that they don't need to prep, and get some sea time under their belts, but as per my previous post.... maybe some positive support rather than immediate condemnation would help

KevB
11-02-11, 15:40
Interesting accounts of crossing the channel in small sailing boats HERE (http://www.btinternet.com/~sail/cruisebrittany02.htm)

Katouf
11-02-11, 17:15
"IME lake sailors are amongst the best sailors in the country. They have an ability to react to changing wind conditions vastly superior to most sea based sailors, simply because that's what they experience week in week out."

Wind changes are not everything!
When I was a Sea Scout (as opposed to a Sea Cadet), our Admiralty Registered Group sailed in 27' whalers, Tideway dinghies and everything in between. We participated in an organised Channel Cruise, joining those who had sailed down from HMS President in London at Queenborough - except most didn't make it.
Weymouth SEA Scouts made the trip overland to London and sailed successfully. Lake sailors (not OUR Lake Sailor) invariably ended up with broken rudders and centreplates, in the same type of boat, because of wave action and water pressure on large areas of plywood. The boats in question were the Scout Association approved Home Counties grp gigs. Nice to row or sail on lakes and rivers but only suitable for sea use in experienced hands.
I would suggest that the OP is heading for a big accident with three-up in a 12' 6" dinghy designed for 2 presons. There is no way a Draduate can compare to a Wayfarer.
Incidentally, the cruise was accompanied by 2 RNVR MFVs who dictated the course to steer from Ramsgate to Calais and took us down wind and downtide of Calais and left us to fight against both to gain the harbour.

Seajet
11-02-11, 17:33
I thought about doing this ( yes, you can say 'just thought about it' ) when aged about 17, with a crew of 15.

We were already both experienced including cross-Channel in cruisers, in my case as skipper; our dinghy was a Scorpion, infinitely more seaworthy than a Graduate and much better able to cope with light or strong winds.

Investigation of the French attitude to this and the then incoming regulations for the shipping lanes - no safety boat was even considered - was enough for us to bin the idea.

We were reasonably adventurous, I remember surfing the Scorpion off the Winner in early Spring, and we did get some funny looks as we lit the stove and cooked in a Fireball under way.

I'll say it again, if these chaps want adventure - I don't know why people are making this out to be rare, I certainly haven't given up on todays youth - they would have a lot more fun, and learn a lot more about sailing and navigation among other things - with a decent coastal camping trip, if Round Britain is too long how about Dover - Lands' End ?

That's no dinghy trip for fairies !

Little Grebe
11-02-11, 20:55
Searush,

IME lake sailors are amongst the best sailors in the country. They have an ability to react to changing wind conditions vastly superior to most sea based sailors, simply because that's what they experience week in week out. Not to say that they don't need to prep, and get some sea time under their belts, but as per my previous post.... maybe some positive support rather than immediate condemnation would help

When on a lake it is all about the windshifts and using them to your advantage but when sailing on tidal waters things become more complicated. Tacking on a shift that takes you into a stronger foul tide isn't going to be very fast.

Searush
11-02-11, 21:35
When on a lake it is all about the windshifts and using them to your advantage but when sailing on tidal waters things become more complicated. Tacking on a shift that takes you into a stronger foul tide isn't going to be very fast.

You are all completely missing the point.

Seamanship (at SEA) is about safe progress, not fancy tacking or speed around a few nearby bouys for an hour or so on a nice day & on flat water.

You may not even need to tack once on a channel crossing! But you may need to reef, bail, eat, go to the loo, rest, change clothes (putting extra on or taking off oilies etc). It's about being several hours at sea, maybe out of sight of land, navigation, knowing what the tide is doing & allowing for its effects, avoiding the big ships, dealing wth their wash. Any breakages such as tiller, or gudgeon or shroud plate pulling out has to be dealt with afloat & many miles from shore. It may also be about dealing with seasickness, sunstroke, hypothermia, MoB, breaking waves, even finding a safe place to land when you get to the other side.

Now, tell me, how does inland sailing help with that lot? But all this has already been pointed out in my earlier posts & graciously acknowledged by Mollykins.

It ain't impossible, but there is a LOT of planning to make the outcome even reasonably safe. Or you can just do it & hope nothing goes wrong or that there is someone to pull you out of the sh!t if something does go wrong.

LittleSister
11-02-11, 21:45
I agree with most things said so far on this thread, even the contradictory ones!

I'd encourage you to go and have an adventure at sea in a dinghy, but crossing the channel shouldn't be your first one. There's so much pleasure to be had doing less hazardous, but still challenging, trips as a means of working up to doing the channel once you have the experience to understand what you are letting yourself in for.

Crossing the channel in a dinghy perfectly doable with care, but don't underestimate the value of having experience at sea, an understanding of navigation, buoyage and the shipping lanes. If you must do it in a Graduate, work out some robust way of reducing the sail area, and go with only two of you (could you get a second boat and fourth person?) and the means (and skills) to fix breakages and other problems.

For a hugely enjoyable and informative read on what fun you can have in a cheap dinghy, including how not to cross the channel in a dinghy (a single-handed Mirror in this case) try 'The Unlikely Voyage of Jack de Crow - A Mirror Odyssey from North Wales to the Black Sea' by A J Mackinnon. (Do bear in mind, though, the author had a great deal of luck, and probably greater knowledge than he lets on!)

Csail
11-02-11, 21:45
Ignore all negative comments, just do it but take all the right kit.Suddenly you will be in your fiftys and regret not doing it. I spontainously did Cardiff to Portugal late one night in the yc bar.......boring but good trip.Biscay was a bit dodgy though.

Little Grebe
11-02-11, 21:54
You are all completely missing the point.

Seamanship (at SEA) is about safe progress, not fancy tacking or speed around a few nearby bouys for an hour or so on a nice day & on flat water.

I don't disagree with anything you have written and hopefully my previous posts on this thread show that what is being described is possible but there are caveats regarding crew and boat which need to be addressed.

However I can think of times when the skills learnt on the race course have saved me valuable when crossing the channel in marginal conditions.

Little Grebe
11-02-11, 21:56
spontainously did Cardiff to Portugal late one night in the yc bar.

Impressive, tell us more :)

Searush
11-02-11, 22:11
Jack de Crow is a great book, but then the Mirror dinghy is far better suited for cruising than a Graduate.

The rig can be erected & taken down at sea, it is relatively underpowered with less strain on all fittings, it can be rigged with just the main, it can be reefed, it is very simple & easy to fix on the hoof . It is set up to be effectively rowed, all the spars fit inside if you need the ultimate reef, or if there is a catastrophic rigging failure.

These are the issues of open sea dinghy cruising. Far removed from inland racing. Much more satisfying too in my opinion.

Lazy Kipper
11-02-11, 22:18
I wonder how channel swimmers deal with the tricky man overboard situation?

Searush
11-02-11, 22:34
I wonder how channel swimmers deal with the tricky man overboard situation?

No need to show yourself to be a prat. Are you suggesting that the 3 should practice long distance swimming, wear goggles & cover themselves in fat when sailing? Or do you completely discount the difficulty in getting a crew member back aboard?

Lake sailing is done with rescue craft close to hand & with largely flat water, MoB is simply a question of waiting until picked up by the rescue RIB. In the channel, that could mean being lost from sight before the dinghy can get back to them, especially if a capsize situation.

This shouldn't need explaining to people who own seagoing boats. :confused:

Lazy Kipper
11-02-11, 22:48
No need to show yourself to be a prat. Are you suggesting that the 3 should practice long distance swimming, wear goggles & cover themselves in fat when sailing? Or do you completely discount the difficulty in getting a crew member back aboard?

Lake sailing is done with rescue craft close to hand & with largely flat water, MoB is simply a question of waiting until picked up by the rescue RIB. In the channel, that could mean being lost from sight before the dinghy can get back to them, especially if a capsize situation.

This shouldn't need explaining to people who own seagoing boats. :confused:

Calm down old chap, I was using something we on the East Coast call a 'sense of humour'. It was funny you see because (wait for it) the swimmer was already overboard :D

Not hilariously funny I agree but I think it was a little bit funny. I laughed a little bit. Try it, you may find it helps.

sighmoon
12-02-11, 09:10
The OP will make his own mind up, I'm sure. Instead of arguning whether he should or shouldn't do it, maybe it would be more helpful to address the issues raised, and what equipment is essential.

Reefing:
If your mainsail is sheeted at the transom, then you can reef by rolling it round the boom. You will loose the kicking strap though.

Clothing:
It has to be a wet suit and bouyancy aid all the way.

Loss of rudder:
Sailing a dinghy with no rudder is much easier than sailing a yacht with no rudder. You can steer by leaning the boat and trimming the sails. Easier with the board raised a little

MOB
Again, I think ths is easier than on a big yacht. For one thing, you are certain to notice the very split second it happens. You can turn round very quickly, and you can lean the boat sufficiently for your man to get over the gunwhale.

Experience on the sea:
I learned on a small gravel pit, but one a year took my National 12 to the nationals on the sea, where there were some windy races with big waves. It certainly made the lake feel it was lacking something afterwards. Tides can be a problem, but they are predictable.

Equipment:
Compass - a hand bearing one on a lanyard round your neck would be good.
Lights - it may take you longer than you think; you can get 'emergency' ones with integral battery
GPS with waterproof chart secured to the boat - taped to the thwart maybe.
Wetsuits, bouyancy aids etc
Water and food - stowed so that it'll still be OK after a capsize. Not the bouyancy tanks
Paddles
Anchor with a short length of chain and a lot of rope.
British Ensign (my thought is that this means you are sailign under British regs rather than French)

Barnac1e
12-02-11, 09:46
Reefing:
If your mainsail is sheeted at the transom, then you can reef by rolling it round the boom. You will loose the kicking strap though.

Not all dinghies can reef, I don't know about a Graduate, but it should be an essential. My Wayfarer had a squared gooseneck that needed the halyard releasing, the boom drawn aft, rotated with the sail rolling around it and replaced, the halyard then sweated up. All the time the boat can be dead in the water and vulnerable to swamping unless still driven by the headsail, which needs teamwork and practice.



MOB
Again, I think ths is easier than on a big yacht. For one thing, you are certain to notice the very split second it happens. You can turn round very quickly, and you can lean the boat sufficiently for your man to get over the gunwhale.

In my experience this can capsize the boat, especially in the confusion of another crew-member leaning over to assist - a water-logged person plus another on the gunwale is just too much for some dinghies. Better, as with a righted dinghy after a capsize, to climb back over the transom.



Equipment:
Water and food - stowed so that it'll still be OK after a capsize. Not the bouyancy tanks

What I found with my Wayfarer to be essential was that the bailing bucket was TIED in the boat and not stored in the sealed forward compartment - that would have needed opening to get it and let all the water in from the flooded cockpit.

Righting my Fireball and clearing the water was so much easier, sheet in and start sailing and it all swooshed away through the self-bailers.

All the above was from experience a lifetime ago and a failing memory may have blurred the veracity, plus a complete ignorance of a Graduate dinghy - so only offered as talking points.

Searush
12-02-11, 09:54
The OP will make his own mind up, I'm sure. Instead of arguning whether he should or shouldn't do it, maybe it would be more helpful to address the issues raised, and what equipment is essential.

(snip)

Complete agreement; that has been my emphasis all along.

Very low freeboard helps with MoB too, but it still needs practice. If the 2 inboard crew members instinctively go to help MoB, the boat will capsize. But if they heave to & move away from where the casualty is climbing aboard to provide balance, it SHOULD be OK, but practice it. No inshore racing with a RIB rescue boat at hand will prepare them for a 20 mile open sea passage on their own.

I still suspect that 3 in the boat is overloading it & reducing their ability to deal with any problems - but a short coastal sea cruise will soon identify that as a problem, or not. All they need is to build up to the long open sea passage, get some experience/ practice dealing with any potential issues.

Steering without a rudder is fine if you have space. I wouldn't want to try it crossing the traffic lanes, would you? Carrying a screwdriver & a few screws & a spare fitting or two & tying the rudder on would make life a lot easier & safer. Drop the sails & put out a small drogue & you could probably repair in situ. Paddles are another essential, but I'm pretty sure I'm duplicating earlier stuff.

Sitting/ crouching for 7 hours in a wet suit will cause chafe in sea water & mean they need a change of clothing on the other side - support crew?

Little Grebe
12-02-11, 10:24
All they need is to build up to the long open sea passage, get some experience/ practice dealing with any potential issues.

Assuming they don't just rock up at one of the channel ports with the boat on a trailer then crossing the Thames should provide more than enough practice in coastal passage making. Often this bit feels much harder work than crossing the channel itself.

sighmoon
12-02-11, 12:25
Better, as with a righted dinghy after a capsize, to climb back over the transom.

I found climbing in over the transom makes the boat sail off on its own downwind. May well depend on the type of dinghy. Anyway, as you say it's like getting back on after a capsize, and I'm sure they've done that already.

BobPrell
12-02-11, 12:59
Now, tell me, how does inland sailing help with that lot?


Well, experience imposes itself on one in the most unexpected places. I went sailing on a lake once, got hit by a storm I was too inexperienced to recognize coming, kept capsizing because of that free surface effect, went hypothermic etc . . . .

A month later I went sailing on the same lake and the rudder fell off ... I was a lot less hasty with my recovery that time, I'd learnt something.

These things have not happened to me at sea, I've learnt to look after my boats a bit better.



But all this has already been pointed out in my earlier posts & graciously acknowledged by Mollykins.

Well you must be priveleged. I asked that he should but he has not posted again since the first.. Maybe he is swotting.




It ain't impossible, but there is a LOT of planning to make the outcome even reasonably safe. Or you can just do it & hope nothing goes wrong or that there is someone to pull you out of the sh!t if something does go wrong.

I agree. One of the things I find deplorable about the dinghy racing scene is that safety boats become regarded as "rescue" boats, as they have been called in this thread.

Seajet
12-02-11, 17:11
So, no reply from the OP ? Hmmm... I did say on page 1 I suspected a Troll...

Lazy Kipper
12-02-11, 18:59
Or put off by the rude and dismissive 'elf and safety brigade. Again not your good self Seajet, I must stop posting immediately after you.

Sailfree
12-02-11, 23:21
So, no reply from the OP ? Hmmm... I did say on page 1 I suspected a Troll...

Never underestimate the use and value of knowledge and advice that can be posted on here to the many people who read these threads possibly by googling a related question even if the OP was a troll!

Seajet
13-02-11, 09:27
Sailfree,

I agree, I suspect it's why so many have persevered, including me !

ukjamie
30-12-11, 19:57
To be fair, I am looking at doing a crossing from Dover to Calais or Boulogne in May 2012, there will be 2 x Catamarans going both with a 2 man crew, the Cats are a Dart 16 and a F18. All crew have done and skippered Yachts from the Humber to Holland several times, as well as Cat racing around UK coast . I don't see a problem with doing it. The only thing that I am not sure about is can you sail into Calais harbor/Marina or would we have to drop our sails and row in?

al.carpenter
03-01-12, 11:48
To be fair, I am looking at doing a crossing from Dover to Calais or Boulogne in May 2012, there will be 2 x Catamarans going both with a 2 man crew, the Cats are a Dart 16 and a F18. All crew have done and skippered Yachts from the Humber to Holland several times, as well as Cat racing around UK coast . I don't see a problem with doing it. The only thing that I am not sure about is can you sail into Calais harbor/Marina or would we have to drop our sails and row in?

Just do it... do not worry about authorities sailing into Calais or Boulogne (Boulogne might be trickier if you have to tack in the middle of the fishing fleet traffic hour as there is a long way to the marina and "chenal" not wide, Calais has many ferries but marina easily accessible with many buoys to wait for locks operation). It is France... so the law can be "argumented" if done politely, this is what makes this country so much fun to live in... just ask yourself if you can do it or not... do you think getting out of the way of a ferry boat on board a sport cat is easier done/safer by sail or oars??? I suppose you will not cross without a handheld vhf... just address all stations and harbor control telling them you are sailing in before entering and you will be fine, every one will keep an eye on you. You might get a few grunts from the odd fisherman who got back a day earlier than scheduled from his fishing trip and found his wife in bed with her lover that very same day, or from the pilot who had too much saucisson and his piles are bothering him, but no much aggro from anyone else.. You might want to hitch a tow to clear the Calais Marina lock as there always are a lot of yachts getting in and out (in May... winter is not so busy). If authorities make a fuss, just tell them you do not have an engine... no law about having to have one...and a harbor is a haven, a place you enter to escape the rigors of the sea and nobody can prevent you from getting in. Good trip and fair winds to all. Al

Pye_End
03-01-12, 12:49
To be fair, I am looking at doing a crossing from Dover to Calais or Boulogne in May 2012, there will be 2 x Catamarans going both with a 2 man crew, the Cats are a Dart 16 and a F18. All crew have done and skippered Yachts from the Humber to Holland several times, as well as Cat racing around UK coast . I don't see a problem with doing it. The only thing that I am not sure about is can you sail into Calais harbor/Marina or would we have to drop our sails and row in?

If you go to Gravelines there will be no issue with sailing in and getting in the way of ships. All you have to do is make sure there when there is enough water, and not too much of an onshore breeze. However, I agree with Al - just do it, as long as you are sensible on the day.