The Lads Trip 2016 - Starcross to Alderney

The annual Starcross Fishing and Cruising Club "Lad's Trip" to Alderney has a bit of a reputation for not arriving in Alderney usually due to wind direction or weather, but it always takes place. We may end up in Alderney, Falmouth, Cowes or if it is really bad Topsham.

This was my third "Lad's Trip" and during earlier trips had visited, Falmouth, Plymouth, Salcombe and Dartmouth.

For the week before the trip all the skippers and crew had been keeping a keen eye on the weather and when we all met up on Thursday evening for the boat briefing everybody was happy to head off for Alderney and agreed that we would all retire to the bar, then the boats before heading out on the morning tide.

It was an early start 0230 when we finally slipped the mooring and headed off down the river to the open sea. Still dark threading our way down river as the skipper of a boat that I had only just taken ownership of was a challenge, but as we motored down to the safe water mark at the mouth of the estuary I felt comfortable and knew this was the start of a whole new set of adventures.

After the safe water mark we raised the sails and headed south wards towards Braye on Alderney in the Channel Islands. With the wind coming from the north we poled out the genoa and went wing on wing. Looking round it looked like we were the first boat in the fleet to get away as behind us we could see sails being set in the first glimpses of daylight at 0330 UTC and fully expected to be over taken at some point.

As the sun broke over the horizon, always a spectacular sight, an hour later we knew we were set for a cracking day on the water. With daylight we could relax a bit as other vessels were easier to spot.

An informal watch routine started, both Bob and I taking turns to rest while the other kept an eye on the weather and other vessels.

We had planned to do some "sight seeing" the Channel Light Vessel, but the decided to head on a more direct course and allowed the boat to move gently up La Manche before crossing the shipping lanes, always an exciting experience.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Bob Watson

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