“China Girl”
(Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 39 DS)

June 2015

China Girl “flying”
on route to Bembridge

Note:- To view any image in a higher resolution just click on that image.
Also, there are many other photographs on this subject held on file

  After the purchase of “China Girl” by Ian Booker (YOSC Commodore) in March 2014, I assisted in her Sea Trial, Commissioning and some general sailing around the Solent Area. This coming passage was planned to be something considerably more exciting requiring far more in-depth planning, a passage I was indeed looking forward to.

 Before ADAT’s Sailing Calendar had been arranged, I was invited by Ian to crew on China Girl for the YOSC Summer Cruise.  This was to be her first Cross Channel passage and Ian’s first as Skipper.   It was to include several ports in Normandy (Dieppe, St Valery en Somme, Le Treport, St Valery en Caux) I had not visited.   With a draft of 1.9 Metres the Skipper immediately decided St Valery en Somme being to shallow (and difficult) was off the plan (a good move).  Then since we were the only vessel in the YOSC Summer Cruise “fleet” and that one other YOSC yacht (“Elizabeth A” a Moody 346) had decided to visit the Channel Islands to reach St Malo, a port they had not visited, we opted for change and join them.   Much to say, I was very disappointed in missing some of these ports however we had now included some of the Western ports of Normandy I was familiar with and with our draft of 1.9 Metres making passage planning still interesting.  However our Skipper in conjunction with Elizabeth’s plans felt it more of a holiday (to include his 70th birthday) to skip these ports and visit only 24/7 ports.   By now we were almost a fleet of 2 yachts and with a week to go before we slip, the possibility of another 2 joining us.  We had missed out on the delights of Dielette, Carteret and Granville but with my persistence we now included Saint Cast Le Guildo, a wonderful new’ish gem of a port I last visited in 2010 and best of all, none of the other crews had.   The plan (by now about Mk5) included Alderney (Braye, but with St Peter Port or Cherbourg should the winds be NE), Jersey (St Helier), St Malo, Saint Cast, Guernsey (Victoria Marina, St Peter Port) and home (Hamble).  All very simple entry/exit ports so only our passage to consider. We departed 0445 Hamble for Braye on Sunday 21st.  Just a few weeks back the Skipper had a malfunctioning Autohelm and called in an Engineer at the last minute also to install a new AIS Transceiver but all work was completed on time.  It seemed the Autohelm display had been faulty since purchase (taking up to 20 minutes to start).   The weather was looking good with Westerlies around 10-20 knots for our passage to Braye so just maybe we could sail (at least from the Needles).   Our Skipper had spent many days meticulously planning all the possible passages from port to port for the coming two weeks including any possible contingencies and all at exact speeds.  That of course went for a ball of chalk as soon as we set to sea.  Our speeds of course varied considerably sometimes up to 8 knots but this yacht just 8 years old was well designed and surprisingly “flew”.   My only criticism was the Mainsheet being so far forward on the boom acted more assisting the Kicker and was next to useless when used as a steady at sea (without additional lines to hold the sail amidships).

  My offers of assistance or advice were put aside as the Skipper insisted in “doing it himself”, at least for the first time and one crew also required experience (training for his Yachtmaster Offshore) so, keeping an eye on matters from a distance I had a very restful time on board but I was pleased to see in just two weeks a change (for the better) in our Skipper.  Being Commodore of the YOSC fleet China Girl should have flown the Commodores Swallowtail rather than a Members Burgee especially as Elizabeth accompanying us was correctly flying her Members Burgee.   Of course guidance to our Skipper and that of Elizabeth was always welcome when entering ports they had not visited before, advice any good Skipper would welcome.   At the end of the cruise our Skipper had proved he could do it by himself and maybe one day with practise and more confidence, be a little more adventurous and visit those smaller French ports.  My only criticism, our Skipper required much more close quarter manoeuvring practise (and it showed).

Hamble,  Sunrise at  0430

Alderney, Braye, Lunch on board

Sunrise departing Braye

St Helier Marina, moored

St Helier, Water clock

St Helier, Old Harbour Marina (dries almost to the entrance)

Jersey, The 'Devil' of the Devils Hole

Jersey, The Devils Hole

Jersey, La Corbiere Lighthouse & the many German Fortifications

Jersey, Gorey Harbour from the top of Mont Orgueil Castle

St Malo, ”Elite”, “Elizabeth” & “China Girl” moored

St Malo, Eating out in the highstreet, down in one

St Malo, Timber Wave Breakers by City wall

St Malo, The New Marina

St Malo, The Chateaubriand Hotel (steak)

St Malo, Passing through the Lock with “Elizabeth”

St Cast, Panoramic view of the area showing the Marina, Park for Caravans & Trailed Boats & local Monuments

St Cast, Ian & Graham on the shoreline LED lit walkway

St Cast, A tranquil & peaceful street

St Cast, One mile long beach, raked clean daily

St Cast, Seating outside 'Le Cafe FACE'

St Cast, 'So nice' eating in the 'FACE'

St Peter Port, Allun & Myself on the Balcony of Guernsey YC (Alluns pic)

Isle of Wight, Nearly home, Alum Bay

Solent, the falling sun off our port quarter as we motor the last leg