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  1. #11
    Sixpence's Avatar
    Sixpence is offline Registered User
    Location : Having a spot of Tiffins
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    Did Oostende last year on a 35ft, first time ever at sea other than the ferry, did it again this year but on a 40ft, both times with highly experienced skippers. First time it was flat calm until we were within sight of Oostende, then it kicked up a bit and I was bouncing around the foredeck trying to sort out fenders while three heavies came out of the harbour. Rough, but nowhere near as rough as it got on the second crossing. Return journey first time, weather forced the decision to head for Ramsgate instead of the Crouch.
    Second time, this year, set off at night into a lumpy sea but this soon settled down and we ended up motoring most of the way. Return trip was brought forward a day the same as MoodySabre, we left and headed out into a calm sea, crossed the main TSS before the weather changed and we had a F7 touching F8, which stayed with us until we were in the shelter of Landguard. Thankfully this time there wasn't much rain, just plenty of spray.
    Doing it again next year on my old 21ft Debutante, in company with CentaurPipedream. Plan is to allow plenty of time either side of departure and return so we don't have to head out into rough weather. If it turns we'll live with it, but I see no point in putting myself or wife through rough stuff when there are other options, vital thing to consider on a small boat with almost novice skipper and crew.
    Have plenty of dry clothes to change into when you get wet, if you don't get wet it's a bonus.
    Both take regular breaks even if it just means a rest below, or even putting your feet up and closing your eyes for a while to relax.
    No alcohol during the trip, and avoid excess the night before, especially for the return, you'll need to be switched on for the TSS crossings which start almost as soon as you leave Oostende.
    Prepare plenty of hot drinks before you set off, making a hot brew even on a larger boat when the weather kicks up can be interesting, and not something I want to be doing on a small boat.
    Food and nibbles will be readily available on Sixpence. When it gets boring the extra boost you get from carbohydrates helps keep your mind focussed
    This was taken on the last return trip from the cockpit of a 40ft, looking up

    Crossing a TSS is nothing like as scary as some try to make out though, but stay switched on and keep your eyes open. Allow plenty of time and make sure your boat is kitted out, and you, and crew, are rested and prepared for the crossing. Then do it and enjoy every minute of it, if lucky, you'll even see the dolphins, they came to play with us the first time.
    Be prepared for the worst, but avoid going out into it if you don't have to.
    Hope that helps ?

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2006

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    All excellent comments above
    Life is just far far too short.

  3. #13
    Alchemist V274's Avatar
    Alchemist V274 is offline Registered User
    Location : Home Norfolk, Boats in Brightlingsea and Ipswich, will work anywhere!
    Join Date
    Sep 2001

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    My first boat was 21' and used to sail from Woolverstone then. First 'big' trip was to Ramsgate about 9 or 10 hours, then to Calais round to Boulogne and back home via Ramsgate again. Did this 2 handed with the other chap being pretty much a novice but he could helm to windward better than many experienced sailors!

    As others have said pick your weather (particularly visability for crossing) and be fully prepared for wind and clams. Thermos flasks, sandwiches, boxes of sweets and choc bars etc to hand if you can't get out of cockpit for long. I always write out a passage plan with course and distance between waypoints and if needed will navigate in cockpit with chart on knees in a plastic cover.

    Shipping lanes just need a bit of focus of mind. Try to cross as near as possible at right angles (heading not track) so plan to make good use of tide! EG if leaving Ramsgate, once clear of Goodwin Sands you can steer about 130 to be at right angles to lanes and actually track 160 or so to make a direct line to Calais! As you have a low 'height of eye' your horizon is quite close so stand up a lot to look for shipping and get a bearing as soon as you can to get an idea if a risk of collision exists. My first crossing in 21 boat I told my crew how alert we would need to be in the lanes and how busy it would be and we did not see a single ship!

    It can't be too bad as I now do it solo most of the time in my 27' boat.

    The many issue I had was getting the insurers to accept that the boat could cross the channel!

    Have fun!
    Peter. Not changing my name yet but am now Boatless.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2003

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    I only have a 8 gal tank on my boat and I always carry spare gallon cans of red when going across channel in case there is no wind and I need to fill up enroute (70+ miles). Suffice to say there are times when I don't use the fuel going across and I have the cans full on arrival. I keep the receipts in case questioned as the fuel has been purchesed for the specific use. Never had any problems so far.

  5. #15
    MoodySabre's Avatar
    MoodySabre is offline Registered User
    Location : Bradwell and Leigh-on-Sea
    Join Date
    Oct 2006

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    OK in France I believe but I think it is a complete no-no in Belgium and Holland.
    Not all who wander are lost

  6. #16
    eastcoastbernie's Avatar
    eastcoastbernie is offline Registered User
    Location : Me: Cambs Boat: SYH Levington
    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    I have a 20 litre fuel tank, so always carry cans on a North Sea crossing.

    Opinions vary. Some say you can't take any spare diesel in cans. Others say as long as the fuel you have on board in in proportion to what you might need for your passage, then it's OK.

    Last time I went to Ostend (earlier this year) in my 25 footer I took diesel in cans. However, we weren't boarded so I never had to put it to the test.
    Click and I'll have you in stitches.

    Boat upholstery and personalised crew shirts

  7. #17
    Wunja's Avatar
    Wunja is offline Registered User
    Location : The Netherlands
    Join Date
    Feb 2007

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    You can't have red diesel in cans in Holland, but there is no reason why you can't fill your cans with white diesel; the price advantage is a lot less than the fine you would receive.

    And white diesel is cheaper than petrol over here.
    Dutch chapter of the East Coast Forum _/)_*_

  8. #18
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    Hello Clive: Good luck with the crossing. Seems we both have the same boat - a fin Pandora Mk1. "Rather compact" I can agree with, but that doesn't stop anything in itself. If you take a look at, you will find another Pandora entered for the 2010 Jester singlehanded transatlantic 'race'. My ambitions lie in that direction, and I'd be interested in any reports you might post. I've been savage with my boat preparations, now into their second year - new watertight bulkheads, new rudder, half the cockpit decked over, bonded the hull and deck together in place of the rubber gasket, glassed the keel in place, glassed over the outboard well, etc, etc. After that, I have to bridge the gulf between ambition and experience. If I've got any doubts about the weather, I wait. The combination of strong tidal streams and extensive sandbanks in the Irish Sea are at the root of my caution. Sailing from Liverpool to Ireland by way of the Isle of Man in my last season was a similar distance, but other than the difficulty of keeping off the putty it was all very peaceful. Let us know how you get on.

  9. #19
    Noddy's Avatar
    Noddy is offline Registered User
    Location : Thames Estuary
    Join Date
    Jun 2005

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    My first crossing of the North sea was from Brightlingsea to Ostende with the Ostende rally. Reassuring to do it in company even though you are really on your own.

    I am a member of wivenhoe SC but there are other clubs involved.

    I am on my way home from the Azores at the moment and plan to meet them in Ostende on 8th August.

    Look at the WSC website and the contacts you need will be there.

    Rules are for the guidance of wise men, and the obedience of fools.

  10. #20
    080653 is offline Registered User
    Location : Scarborough
    Join Date
    Mar 2007

    Default Re: Doing a crossing in a \'smaller boat\'....thoughts?

    I used to sail a Pandora, who's previous owner regularly sailed solo to Holland from Scarborough in her (210 NM) and only had one problem in ten years. The rudder broke but that's a common Pandora problem that you will doubtless have come across. He steered by the sails into the lee of Flamboro' head, made a jury rig and continued! I have just done the jester in a 20ft Kingfisher but I would have just as happily taken the Pandora if I still had it. Make sure you have a good, loud kitchen timer to wake you up and go for it!

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