Channel Island Notes


Alderney is the most tidal of the channel islands, and great care should be taken with your tidal stream calculations to avoid being swept past the harbour entrance and into the Alderney Race or the Swinge, dependant on your approach. The Almanac has details of these streams, and should be adhered to.

The harbour is open to the North/East, so avoid these winds, and you way well find a miserable swell after a spell of strong SW’lies. Apart from this the harbour is well sheltered with many visitor moorings and a small anchorage in good sand, however, be aware that at springs the range is around 9m so you’ll need all your chain out! 

Access ashore is through landing your dinghy on the small pontoon by the harbour office. This is jammed, but theirs always room for one more! There is also a water taxi service run by the chandlery,

At Alderney harbour itself  there are a couple of bars (including the famous ‘Divers’), which has somewhat improved its image from when I was first there. The small shop is well stocked and there are good basic facilites. The main town is 20 minutes up a hill, and offers a lot more in the way of shops / banks / restaurants etc. It is a pretty village and worth the walk.

The island has many walks and a few roads. It is lovely to explore by foot or bikes, which can be easily hired.

The small woollen jumper shop at the harbour has Internet Access.


Navigation through the Little Russell channel is not too tricky as long as you can identify all the buoys and marks. These are quite conspicuous, and should be quite straight forward. Again, the tide can be strong, so keep a good check on your speed to avoid being swept to far. 

Just past the entrance to St Peterport harbour is the small bay of Havelet, which is an excellent anchorage with good access to the town. Depth stops you getting to close in, but there is good shelter from North and West. Again these is often a swell in the bay, even in calm conditions. Either land on the beach or at the landing slip by castle cornet.

In the main harbour you can pick up mooring outside the marina, which means you can come and go as you please (though you need a dinghy to get ashore) or you can access the marina which has a sill. Marina staff will normally meet you close to the entrance and guide you to a berth. You can also dry out alongside the wall in the marina. There are 3 places, 2 have wooden sleeps to sit on and the charge in £10 per tide, however, if you’re happy to sit on the shingle (which is quite satisfactory) then its free!

St Peterport offers good facilities, though interestingly, the decent supermarket is out of town, and takes about 40 minutes to walk, though there is a good bus service to bring you home with your heavy bags. 

The island is lovely to explore, either by bike or foot, but be prepared for a few big hills!

There are a few good anchorages on the south coast, especially the eastern corner. The west coast is much more exposed and rocky, and should only be used in settled conditions. 


Just across the Little Russell from St Peterport is the little island of Herm. The island itself has restricted access to parts of it, and only offers the most basic of facilities, but it is a lovely spot and well worth the visit. The harbour dries out, so most yachts anchor between Herm and its small private island of Jethou. 

Use the almanac / cruising guide to get into the anchorage. It feels a little exposed at high water, but once the tide starts to drop, you are well protected behind a rocky reef. There are a couple of landing point, but watch out for the fairly strong tide that goes up and down the channel.

Ashore there are a few tourist shops, but some nice walks along the beaches to the north and cliffs to the south.


 Sark is a very high island, so to get to the interior required a long uphill climb!

It has a number of popular anchorages. Grande Grave to the west, Dixcart and Derrible Bays to the southeast and La Grave de la ville (main harbour) to the northeast.

All offer good protection in the right wind direction. The village at the top of the island offers basic facilities including 2 small supermarkets. A beautifull island to explore by foot, with many stunning vistas. There are no facilities by any of the anchorages.


Jersey offers good marina facilities in a very modern and bustling town. There are also a good selection of anchorage dependant on wind wirection 

The anchorage at St Brelade on the south west corner is to be recommended, with a lovely beach, pine tree backdrop and interesting rock formations.

Access to St Helier Marina is straightforward, with a waiting pontoon at the marina entrance in case there is insufficient water to enter. A big lit sign on the harbour wall indicate the level of water over the sill to enter the marina.

Facilities at St Helier are excellent, with a modern town and choice of supermarkets and banks.

The island is well worth exploring with a very rural and agricultural feel. There are many small villages, each with their own unique character

Copyright 2011 All about sailing - The Channel Islands. All about sailing
Free Joomla Theme by Hostgator