Crossing The English Channel On A Sailboat

Log – 15th to 16th June 2017


After spending three weeks in the Isles of Scilly we were itching to move on. Unfortunately, once our tiller pilot was installed and tested, the conditions weren’t ideal for our crossing. First, the waves were too big at 4 meters high, then the winds too low. We waited around for the right weather window in St Agnes, working, testing the tiller pilot, and chilling in the sun.

Finally, 15th June seemed like the right day for our new adventure. We restocked on food and water in St Mary’s and then spent the night anchored in The Cove in St Agnes, ready to go. The next morning we woke up at 5am and finished our preparations. At 6am we had picked up our anchor and were on the way out of St Agnes.

Leaving the Isles of Scilly

The sea was a little big to start with, so I (Elena) promptly took a seasickness pill. The morning and afternoon went quite quickly, with the tiller pilot doing all the work. We managed to scoff almost a full pack of crackers in just a few hours. We seemed to be constantly hungry.


Storm jib set up

In the late afternoon, we started to see lots and lots of ships going up and down The Channel, so we kept our eyes peeled, hoping we wouldn’t be on a collision course with anyone. We saw about thirty ships in total, but we only had to change our course once. A giant container ship looked closer and closer and was set to sail right in front of us. We turned to port by 20 degrees and then back to starboard once the ship passed in front of us. Success. We could have dinner.


After crossing the entrance of the big traffic separation scheme off Ousseant, I offered Ryan a break. He went down below for a nap. While he was in the berth, I kept myself awake singing along to songs, filming the magical surroundings and eating sweets. The sunset behind the stern was stunning – so red and pink. As expected, nothing exciting happened during my watch – most ships were behind us now.


Once Ryan was back from his nap, I went down below to try to sleep too. Although I warmed up out of the wind, I didn’t manage to fall asleep. After a couple of hours I was back out in the cockpit, keeping watch. Ryan was now in the main cabin, focused on the chart plotter, while I was outside checking on ships and lights. I could see the far turning light of a lighthouse. We were getting closer to our first new country.

The moon had risen high by then and it was shining a bright light over the sea – I could see the waves perfectly. I kept on thinking to myself “I really want to see a few dolphins in the moonlight. Come on dolphins! Come over!”

After a few minutes I heard a splash by the starboard side of the cockpit, where I was sitting. I looked down and thought it might just be a wave crashing. Then I saw what seemed like a fin. I shouted to Ryan to come out: “Ryan! Dolphins!”

As soon as he was out we saw a dolphin swimming towards the starboard bow, then Ryan lit up his head torch (mine was out of battery) and we saw two dolphins swimming by Kittiwake’s side. We got super excited. I was astonished; I couldn’t believe the dolphins listened to my silent pleas.

Not long after our dolphin encounter, the sun started rising and dyed the sky bright pink. It was a beautiful sunrise. And with the light came the view of our destination. As we got closer, we saw a rocky coastline and a few lighthouses. The pink sky made everything look beautiful.


Around 7am we entered the channel for L’Aber Wrac’h, which looked somehow familiar – it reminded us of the Penryn River in Cornwall. By 8am we were moored on a visitor buoy by the marina. We gave each other a high five and went straight to bed.

  • Roy

    Great pics and log guys, thanks for sharing. Enjoy the rest of your journey. Safe sailing, cheers.

    1. Sailing Kittiwake

      Thanks a lot Roy!

  • Diego

    We live for those moments, Dolphins encounters while you approach your first new country.

    Keep up the adventure. Good luck! 🙂

    1. Sailing Kittiwake

      Thanks a lot Diego! Yes, we live for those rare, magical moments indeed 🙂

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