best go with someone else (another boat)
take a marine radio
take pleny of fuel
take a spare outboard
pay attention to the weather forecast
wait for a calm day
if someone can swim the channel then you can take your boat
This is not the type of forum for questions of this type. I sense you are not really the nautical type or your question wouldn't be here. There is heavy commercial traffic in the channel but on a nice sunny day, if you pick the right state of the tide this would be easily possible. Loads of old duffers do it every summer in small boats. ...but they ARE experienced sailors.
My advice? If it's the English Channel that you are referring to?
It's not worth it, mate.
Whilst you may get away with it during an excellent weather window, you also have to come back again. Time constraints due to work commitments etc may mean that you try to return in less than excellent conditions. Would you be prepared to leave your boat on the other side, pay the marina fees and catch a ferry home?
There are many other potential hazards involved in such a passage. Not to mention equipment failure (which you should always expect at sea AND be able to competently deal with). Can you fix everything that may break on your boat? Could you do so in a swell or in rising winds?
Are you taking someone along? A girlfriend perhaps? Please consider the fact that you will be putting yourself and others in harms way if the slightest thing goes wrong. Even if you go alone, people will have to risk themselves to assist you if you get in trouble (assuming you have the ability to call for help).
I'm actually in the business of sea survival, a visit to my site will authenticate that and you could read the free safety and survival information there. It's not my intention to blow my own trumpet here, it is my intention to disuade you from attempting such a trip and you may listen to me if you think that I know what I am talking about. Check out www.sailingunlimited.net. My yacht is solid, I am experienced, my back up systems have back ups and the sea still occasionally beats me and my boat up! Recent blog entries on the site will show that.
An 18 foot bowrider is not up to it, in my less than humble opinion.
I really urge you to not do it.
Don't even think about it. Seriously don't even think about it.
Don't listen to anyone who tells you otherwise.
Weather reports cannot be relied upon, ok? They just can't. I am a yachtswoman - that means I know.
You are wise and correct to ask and to get the opinions of others. The fact that you are asking suggests that you are not very experienced and the channel is not a place for those who are not very experienced.
A lovely sunny day will turn into a nightmare if just one little thing goes wrong. I repeat; I am a yachtswoman - that means I know.
Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it!
And don't you dare take anyone with you if you do decide to be completely irresponsible.
Oh, and if you do go; then when (not if) you get into trouble, have the decency to NOT call for help. Too many inexperienced people venture onto the sea these days. They almost always get into trouble through stupidity and the heavy burdon they place on brave rescue services will eventually cause the government to enforce licencing, taxing and all the other freedom removing and revenue seeking bullshit that they come up with.
Ok, I'm done. Don't do it!
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