Below is the proposed route of the vessel for this voyage:
- Portsmouth – Honfleur
- Honfleur – Portsmouth
Honfleur is definitely one of our favourites and known as probably the most attractive of all the Normandy ports. It sits a few miles up the River Seine past Le Havre and is accessed via a lock. Once inside we make our way round and wait for the swinging bridge to open and let us into the Vieux Bassin which is quite simply stunning. Not much larger than a football pitch it’s surrounded by 17th century 5 storey buildings. It’s popular all year around and we often end up rafted to other yachts. The quayside is littered with bistros and bars so we’re spoilt for choice.
The Honfleur crossing is about 100 miles from Portsmouth. Ideally located for a beam reach given prevailing southwesterlies it’s well worth the extra few hours.
This is one of the most popular ways to build up practical sailing experience and get the miles added to your logbook. A typical crossing will involve around 150 miles of sailing, several hours active night sailing and valuable experience navigating the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel. For those working towards their Yachtmaster Offshore qualifications each leg will count towards your 60M qualifying passages with night sailing. What’s more you can explore beautiful French sailing towns and superb local cuisine.
The itinerary usually involves you joining the crew on a Friday evening and after safety and passage briefings from your skipper we set sail for France. Following a watch system, you’ll be fully involved in a night crossing through the busy shipping lanes of the English Channel and arrive at the destination on Saturday. After arrival, you’re free to explore the local town and dine ashore in one of the many the local bistros. After lunch on Sunday, we’ll set sail back for England and settle into a watch system as the sun sets. Arrival back in Portsmouth is usually late morning on the Monday.
You’ll be encouraged to take as active a role as you’d like in aspects of the crossing such as passage planning, navigation and pilotage which, under the watchful eye of a professional skipper, is a great way to build confidence and experience. It’s even possible for you to skipper an entire leg.
The fees include all waterproofs if you need them, personal safety equipment, all food on board (including plenty of snacks and refreshments) and all fuel and mooring costs. Please note that we need to remain flexible on which destination we chose due to weather conditions at the time. For example, if the winds are southwesterly it’s not much fun beating all the way to Alderney – we’re more likely to pick Honfleur if that’s the case.
Trainers/ deck shoes (no black soled shoes please – they mark the deck)
Waterproof sailing kit (two sets are recommended. Heavy gear for on-board and lighter kit for trips ashore)
Sailing gloves – 2 sets
Hot water bottle
Clothes for on-board and on shore
A small backpack for trips on-shore (30-40 litres)
A water bottle
Thermals, two sets
Thick socks, two sets
Sun glasses (polarized)
Sun cream – SPF50+
Small quick dry towel
USB cord to charge your phone
Warm sleeping bag
Printed out Insurance details
Any medication you require