So, picture the scene. It’s 06:30, the sun’s been up for a couple of hours and there’s not a breath of wind. We’ve untied the lines and we’re motoring out of the harbour at the start of our day out to îles Chausey. I was simply bursting with excitement! There was just one little problem; this time I’m on a 37 foot sailing yacht and no wind means we’re going to end up motoring the whole way. It’s been an awfully long time since a day at sea with no wind hasn’t put a smile on my face.
Never mind. We are on a boat, the sun is out and our destination is a collection of tiny little islands just off the coast of Normandy and lunch is booked for 12:30, French time; does it get better than this, I ask myself? Definitely not!
I can’t remember the last time I was out on a yacht but it was most certainly a while back. I’d forgotten how serene it can be. We ghosted along at a sedate 6 knots through the water and the tide added a couple more to help us on our way. Slicing through the waves instead of feeling every little bump made a lovely change. We chatted and drank coffee and chatted some more and watched the Condor ferry come past at 9 million knots as it made ready to swallow the yacht in its path…
Then we rounded the first of our waypoints and started the second leg of the route. Once we’d passed the NE Minquiers cardinal we headed south to pass west of Chausey before turning east along the bottom of the islands.
Looking back towards Jersey with NE Minquiers in the foreground
Gradually, we got closer and Chausey started to become more defined through the high- pressure haze. I guess it should have come as no surprise that it looked to me just like the Minquiers and the Ecrihous but I was still superbly excited nevertheless. There is something magical about sailing to a group of rocks barely clear of the surrounding sea, with a few houses, a restaurant, a couple of shops and precious little else.
The last leg along the south of the main island, Grande île, took no time at all but before we reached the bay where we’d decided to anchor, we got a distant glimpse of the house built by the Renault family many years ago.
Finally, nearly 4 hours after we left the marina in Jersey, we pulled up and started choosing a suitable spot to anchor. In short- order the pick was down, the dinghy inflated and a serpentine row later we were on the shore with soft white sand underfoot.
We had surely arrived at paradise. I know the weather plays a huge part in making places that ordinarily seem average, look like they’ve been crafted by planet manufacturers to appear flawless but I reckon this little island would be special even in the pouring rain. On the other hand, it might just be that I’m so excited…
Lunch was over an hour away, so we set off on a tour of the island. I’m not going to describe what you can see for yourselves, I’m simply going to put some shots up.
It really isn’t a huge island and it wasn’t long before we’d done the tour and were sitting at a table with a view in the restaurant/hotel (Hotel du Fort et des Iles). You’d imagine a business with little or no competition might rest on its laurels but the food was excellent if mostly fish dishes. Incidentally, the desserts were to die for!
Soon after lunch, we headed back to the boat.
By now the wind had picked up and we knew we were in for a proper sail on the way back – this day just kept getting better and better.
What a wonderful way to spend a sunny summer’s Saturday! If you keep your boat in the Channel Islands and you’ve never been to Îles Chausey then it’s about time you remedied that. If you normally do your boating somewhere further afield then a visit to the Channel Island has to be on your wish list for this summer and whilst you’re so close, get yourselves down to Îles Chausey.
This has been another Captain Corbett’s Adventure. If I’m not on Jersey teaching a private tuition Day Skipper theory or Yachtmaster theory course, then I’m either spending time with someone on their boat, giving them the confidence to take their boat out with their family and friends on board or I’m off somewhere exotic delivering a boat. Either way, I’ll write it up and put it on the Blog for you all to see, so keep popping back to see my most recent adventures.