The thought of crossing the Channel, and enjoying the cruising charms of Normandy and the Channel Islands, is something many UK boat owners dream about, but often shy away from. So is it really such a challenge? We set off to find out.
The Ferretti Yachts 450 had spent a sunny few days in the Channel Islands at the delightful Jersey Boat Show. From there, she was headed for Hamble near Southampton, to be available for demonstrations. The opportunity to experience a cross-Channel trip in the competent company of a professional delivery skipper was one not to be missed.
The morning was calm and sunny. The forecast for the Channel was calm, with no more than 8 knots of wind. At 10am we slipped our mooring in Jersey Marina, skirted West around La Corbière lighthouse and headed North. As we passed through the channel between Alderney and the NW tip of Cherbourg, in slack tide thankfully, our waypoint just off Poole Harbour was 55nm ahead. It was 11:30. I glanced at the GPS: ‘ETA 13:30’. I could hardly believe it, 2 hours to cross the Channel! The 450 was indeed averaging around 27 knots – quiet, composed, relaxed, and comfortably within her maximum 32 knots. We spotted three ships as we crossed the Channel separation zone, all a good way off, and passed a couple of other boats en route, travelling a few knots slower than us. After an effortless 90 minutes, the English coast hove into view, and at exactly 13:30 Old Harry Rocks were abeam. A few minutes later we eased back the throttles and glided smoothly into Poole Harbour.
Was it expensive? Well, the cost of the ferry from Cherbourg to Poole for 6 people and a car is £235. Making the same crossing with 6 people in the Ferretti Yachts 450 would cost around £220 in Channel Island fuel. So I’d say that’s good value!
If you’re keen to explore France and the Channel islands, choose calm weather, choose a Ferretti Yachts 450, and discover for yourself that there’s really nothing to it.
Watch the video at: https://youtu.be/Wfrb7zJQqa0.