If Carlsberg did Channel Crossings
Off Season Downtime
We always get asked what do we do in the winter?...... Well this winter we have been busy at Seafaris! Rich and Dan have had numerous trips over to Southampton and Northern Ireland, hundreds of phonecalls and thousands of emails. All designing and putting the wheels in motion for our two new RIB's for the 2018 season!
Things finally started to come together mid March with the season rapidly approaching, boats were leaving their respective factories: Redbay - Northern Ireland and Cobra - Dorset, all heading to Southampton for delivery across the channel by the excited seafari boys! After the Beast from the East delayed things we spotted a Wednesday weather window.
Crossing No. 1
All bright eyed and bushy tailed Rich, Dan, Tom and Martin were set for the red eye to Southampton - conditions looking glorious!!! Things seemed to be running very smoothly, the new Redbay 10m RIB 'Seafari Raptor' was in the water looking glorious and performed superbly in the sea trials. Then there was an awesome coincidence that the old Seafari RIB 'Seafari Falcon' that we had part exchanged back in November had been bought by a chap in Guernsey and he was to join us in convoy. If Carlsberg did channel crossings surely this would be it- blue bird conditions, glassy seas, and 3 seafari boats!!! But alas it was not to be!
Unfortunately a small mechanical part on the Cobra decided not to play ball, the boys at the Cobra were doing everything they could do to get the 'Seafari Swift' ready, as we were charging east from Southampton to Lymington. We not only had a weather window that was rapidly closing but also a tidal window, the channel can be notoriously choppy and the Alderney Race is just a whole different ball game! It came down to a matter of minutes but the decision was taken to save the 'Swift' until another day. Everyone gutted!!!
We set off at 1500 and the forecast light northerly (perfect wind direction) had decided to change to a SW F4 directly against the tidal flow in the channel. 2.5hrs of expected blissful cruising turned into a very bumpy and soaking ride! At least the DJ produced the goods! As we approached the 'Race' we said our goodbyes to the 'Falcon' as they headed off to Guernsey. The wind had eased so all was looking good to beat the sunset back to St. Helier at 1830.
But...there's always a but! A shadow suddenly loomed over us as a 60ft French Customs boat came across our bows as we passed Cap De La Hague! I can't imagine what they thought, a black RIB in fading light appearing out the gloom at 40knts with 4 masked men onboard. We were boarded and the Skipper was summoned aboard.....fortunately all was in order, Dan's meticulous planning ensured Richard looked thoroughly prepared and we were bid Au Revoir, albeit 40 minutes delayed. The rest of the journey was ideal calm cruising conditions and the 'Seafari Raptor' arrived in her new home at 1915 - a 4hrs 15 min crossing.
After missing out on the 'Swift' it was now all about round 2, and the forecast for the next 10 days looked mixed to put it positively, but Monday, looked like a maybe option. Tom and Jack were on standby, 'Seafari Swift' was ready for the call. Sunday evening's Monday forecast still was not ideal with a stiff breeze due to pick up around 1600, but with no other options for the forseeable future Operation Swift was put into motion!!
Another early flight for the boys and the weather was perfect. We met the Cobra RIB's team at Lymington and completed the handover process, 'Seafari Swift' was ready to go! Conditions couldn't be better #BBGO (blue bird glass off), there was an obligatory photo stop at the Needles, and then on the approaches to Alderney there was an awesome display from a huge pod of common dolphins! Tom and Jack arrived back in Jersey to be greeted by the Seafaris team after a fantastic crossing. If Carlsberg did Channel crossings....
Have a look out for videos and photo introductions of the new boats on our social media channels in the coming weeks. Or check out 'the boats' page on the website. Many thanks to Redbay Boats and Cobra RIB's for the fantastic new boats. The 'Seafari Swift' will be on display at the Jersey Boat Show with the Cobra RIB's team, so look out for us there, we hope to see you soon out on the water!