Rolling in the Channel Islands

Category: General

Rolling in the Channel Islands

Anchorage off SarkHere's a peaceful anchorage off Sark in the Channel Islands, or so you may think...!
However, an hour or even two before High Water it all starts to get a bit interesting, first a gentle roll, then bit by bit, more and more discomfort until you can be almost rolling on your beam ends.

I've been here before, don't remember any problems like this, but maybe I've only been here at Neaps?  I checked my various guides and pilot books, they all hint at the problem with statements like 'the swell may work in a little close to high water'. Hah! understatement of the year, let me tell you, if you are anchoring in and around Guernsey, Sark and Herm near Springs, then be prepared for a few hours of misery close to high water. We saw people moving at 03:00 in the morning, though where they went was a mystery, presumably to the the Marina at St Peter Port, which I hasten to say is definitely roll free.

This is not a gentle 'lull you to sleep' roll, more a 'test your patience' or 'locate every creak in your boat' roll. Be warned, we thought we were well stowed, however, a dozen eggs escaped from the galley in the 'wee hours', not a pretty sight, a nasty mess to clean up and meant empty toast for breakfast!!!

Be prepared for a few hours of this, we reckoned on a couple of hours either side of high water. The weather was balmy, high pressure, light winds and no background swell, so we can only attribute this phenomena to the strong Spring tidal streams swirling between the Islands.


Flopper Stopper

Flopper Stopper Here' our 'Flopper Stopper' (being abused by Sue who is having a rest). Basically it's simply a drogue that I found on-board when I bought the boat. I hang a pile of divers lead weights off the bottom of it. As you can see, it's hung out on the end of the boom, and the boom held out on a preventer. It's pretty effective in 'reasonable' conditions. As the boat rolls inwards, the weights take the drogue down, on the return roll, the drogue inflates resisting at least half a roll. It rather looks like an orange pulsating jellyfish!




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