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8th March, 2015

St. Peter Port. Guernsey

Departing Southampton through the Needles channel, just as the sun came out of the heavier clouds to set in a moody glow over Hurst Castle, course was set to cross the waters for a ‘French Reverie’. Seas were relatively calm, but a cold front descending from the north west was pushing out a low swell and our first destination, Jersey, was effectively in its path. The swell in an exposed anchorage would have made transferring passengers somewhat hazardous so the decision was made in good time to pop into St. Peter Port instead. Here there was the ideal protection we needed from the swell coming out of the west.

On our approach the pilot suggested we ‘tuck in’ as close as possible to the harbour entrance. It worked a treat, and with the wind just pushing the stern twenty or so degrees down wind, there was calm’ish water alongside the tender platform, which allowed the boats to load without a problem. It was, however, a Sunday and there were few takers initially, but the flow picked up after breakfast.

Ashore, the port was trying out a new tender landing platform which, apparently, has caused some degree of comment from the ‘traditionalists’. I was advised there were a number of the local ‘movers and shakers’ keeping a close eye on the proceedings. It worked fine for us, but I can imagine that in the height of the summer months there may be a number of issues which will still need to be resolved to ensure the big ships with their 2,500 plus passengers don’t get snarled up with traffic, both on the water and ashore.

So we managed to achieve a successful tender operation in Guernsey. Having spoken with many passengers that evening at the cocktail party they seemed to fully understand the need for our change of port, particularly one lady who said she thought it was really quite ‘bumpy’ during the tender ride to the shore, but ‘great fun though!'

Captain Philip Rentell

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