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21st June, 2018


My leave period seemed to fly past, and I was on-board shortly after 8 o’clock yesterday morning to take over from Captain Julian.

Turnaround days are always very busy, lots of operational stuff for all the crew and then there is the business of the ship, visitors, contracts and maintenance. So, to add into the mix a hand-over between Captains, it was bound to be a busy day. Julian finally manged to disembark around 1430.

This cruise, we have a lot to pack into a few days.

This morning I was pleased that despite the brisk northerly wind, we managed to find an anchorage very close to St Peter Port harbour entrance. St Peter Port is a marvellous destination. Rounding south of Sark with a magnificent sunrise on the port side, we shaped up for the Pilot station. Embarking the Pilot on schedule at 0700, we had the Starboard anchor down at 0740. Rob, the 2nd officer undertook the anchoring this morning. Anchoring, I consider, is an art. It’s not just a case of ‘dropping the pick’, as seafarers refer to the action. Today, with south going tide, and northerly wind, we had to navigate around the north of the ‘Great Bank’ , allowing for the southerly set, then turn swiftly north to bring the wind ahead, before letting go the anchor in a controlled manner. It was a very well executed manoeuvre, great job Rob.

Both Port and Starboard Pontoons were rigged and the launches made ready in good time to start getting our Shore excursions away. The day went well, oddly the brisk northerly breeze was very helpful in keeping the ship positioned nicely, allowing the Port side to be in the lee, permitting an uninterrupted operation all day.

One of the high-lights of the day was the Sark tour with a ferry journey from St Peter Port across to the island and many guests had booked this tour. I was acutely aware of the time pressure to get the tour back, the ship away bound for Portsmouth, and to make my date for the formal cocktail party. The tour arrived back to St Peter Port at 1700 and once all passengers were back on-board we could lift and secure the launches, and de-rig and secure the pontoons. Because of the brisk wind and tidal conditions I had put down nearly 200 meters of anchor cable and with the ship sitting back on the anchor all day, it was well and truly buried, so took a little while to lift it. I felt doomed to be late for my own party!

Fortunately I had Jan, the Hotel Director, to start proceedings in my absence whilst I finished the bridge operations. With the ship underway and heading for Portsmouth, I ran down to the Britannia Lounge, a mere 15 minutes late… Better late than never!

Portsmouth here we come, an old favourite haunt of mine.

Captain Stuart Horne

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