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Guernsey Report 2

Guernsey report 2 - enjoyed 'Björn Again'... Maggi Catene in Italy sort out the anchor chain problem....

I enjoyed the 'Björn Again' concert at the Beausejour Centre Friday fortnight ago (26th June) - lots of familiar Abba songs!  Made me think back to my three months in Sweden early this year & all the many really nice people I met whilst there.  So many, both in Stenungsund and in  who were  so very hospitable and kind to me while I was overseeing the boat being built & fitted out, with so many changes I'd asked for, at Najadvarvet in Henån. ....and such lovely scenery...  I found myself missing all of it and them!  I hope I get back there one day.

At high water one Saturday, the Guernsey Lifeboat came by....


Time seems to be passing by and I'm busy with boat work/projects almost all the time - but my list of jobs doesn't seem to be getting much shorter & I still need to finish so many things on board before moving away from here.

I've been particularly concerned about my lack of anchor chain - I really don't want to go for the sail trials around here that I'd been wanting to get out on without chain in my locker for safety reasons.  The Swedish importer in Ellös, not far from the yard at Henån, had  quoted an unacceptably long delivery time back in Feb/March and I saw no reason why it shouldn't  be sent to the Hamble instead, to arrive after the boat was delivered there mid-April .... "No problem", I was assured back in Feb/March .. 

I'd been wanting calibrated, galvanized, 8mm (1.40kg/m), high tensile (HT) chain (G70) to fit my windlass gipsy, in order to avoid carrying the weight of the same length of ordinary (medium tensile, G40) galvanized, 10mm (2.35 kg/m)  chain (confusingly called 'high test' in the US!).   (Then there's also low tensile chain (G30), commonly labeled as 'BBB' or 'proof coil' - I've learned a lot about chain recently!!)  High Tensile (G70) 8mm chain is actually stronger than the G40 10mm chain (7000kgf as compared with 5096 kgf breaking load) - a definite bonus!  A friend had suggested maybe getting 75m of 10mm G40 chain plus lots of rope if I wasn't able to resolve the problem soon, as a reasonably practical compromise - a very sensible thought which hadn't occurred to me.   This week, I spoke to Maggi Catene in Italy, (who are the highly reputable European chain manufacturers with whom I'd been originally talking) to find out what was happening  - and it turned out that there had been unfortunate wording of the order (I shan't go into the convoluted details!)  ....

To cut a very long story short, Maggi Catene were most concerned when they understood my situation and  are now working hard on the production of my chain (as a prioritized  'special' order for theIr 'Aqua7' - calibrated, short-link, high tensile, galvanized anchor chain) to be sent now, of course, to Guernsey, not the Hamble....  A smaller detail (!) is the logistical problem of getting it into my chain locker from a ship, somehow.... The local chandler, Chris of Boatworks, has sounded very helpful on that score - we'll wait for high water and then make use of his fuel dock inside the harbour entrance.  Seems I'll have to wait over two weeks before I can go for extended sail trials.....

In the meantime, I'll finish checking over (and learning to use!) all my equipment and instruments to see that they are OK, finish the long-term provisioning I want to get done here and try to get the boat ship-shape and tidy.  (I'm still busy with fixing and stowing things)  I noticed when changing marinas, that my compass heading seemed to be out  by 100 degrees (!) and my log impellor still needs cleaning from when I was sitting in the muddy Hamble waters for six weeks - so I've plenty to keep me occupied...!

The good news is the excellent summer that England (and W. Europe in general) seems to be having  - lovely weather, with hot sun at times, and hardly any rain to make doing things difficult on board.  I've got my folding bike out now so have been able to get about more easily, although one day I did relax and take the lengthy 'round-the-island, local-bus-tour' for all of 60 pence.  Guernsey is a lovely island, with lots of mature, unpruned trees, beautiful long white beaches, surfing for those interested and lots of anchorages within easy reach (for those lucky people with chain!) - including the little islands of Herm and Sark a short distance away.  It also has lots of rocks, shallows and big tides to make sailing and navigation interesting.... At Springs recently, HW was 9.5m and LW was 0.9m above chart datum - giving a range of 8.6m (over 27ft).  Not exactly the 11m range of the Bay of Fundy in Nova Scotia - but not far short!!  "Nereida' was definitely sitting in the mud at the marina dockside at Springs LW, with actual water depth (measured by lead line to calibrate my depth instrument) being 1.9m!!   It's a very steep walk down the ramp to the dock from the roadway of the Albert Pier at low water!   The marina has a 'sill' at the entrance to keep boats inside afloat at LW and movement in and out can only occur for about two hours either side of HW -so they have several 'waiting pontoons' in deeper water just outside the marina entrance (but still well within the protected main St Peterport harbour) for new arrivals to tie up to.

It has been quite sociable here also - two boats (one Canadian!), with friends on board, sailed in unexpectedly last week and other boaters moored up close by have been very welcoming.  There are lots of French, some Dutch and Belgian and lots of British boats coming to Guernsey, usually just  for a few days, some as part of their cruising in the Brittany/Normandy area and others on their way south to the Med.  Things are set to get even busier, now we're into July - I hear that the rafting-up alongside the pontoons here in Victoria Marina will be getting 'interesting' later this month as numbers increase dramatically with kids off school!

I appeared in last Wednesday's 'Guernsey Press' (local newspaper) and my story about losing the previous boat in Mexico has also just been published (in detail & with lots of photos!) in the August edition of 'Yachting Monthly'.

Written by : Mike

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