Set Sail for Adventure_ Packing Tips for Summer Sailing in the UK Channel Islands

Ahoy there me Hearties, I’m Nicole and I write about sailing in the beautiful Channel Islands, my beloved home. The UK Channel Islands are a hidden gem for sailing enthusiasts, offering stunning coastlines, abundant marine and birdlife, and picturesque landscapes. Exploring the islands from a sailing boat provides a unique perspective, allowing you to see some of the most breathtaking sights that these islands have to offer. 

From the rugged cliffs and pristine beaches of Herm to the idyllic harbours of Lithou, there’s no shortage of natural beauty to be found. In this blog, I’m writing about the beauty and natural biodiversity you will experience on our lovely islands and what to pack for a sailing holiday in summer.

The Jersey Pod of Dolphins 

One of the highlights of sailing around the Channel Islands is the chance to spot marine wildlife such as dolphins, whales, and seals. One of the many unique features of the UK Channel Islands is the rare pod of dolphins that inhabits the waters surrounding the islands. This pod, known as the Jersey pod, is thought to consist of around 200 individuals and is the only resident population of dolphins in the region. The Jersey pod is a subpopulation of the common dolphin and is genetically distinct from other populations of the species in the Atlantic. 

What makes the Jersey pod even more remarkable is that it is the only known resident population of dolphins in the UK outside of Scotland.

The waters around the UK are home to a variety of cetacean species, including whales, dolphins, and porpoises, but most populations are migratory and do not reside in the region year-round.

Sightings of the Jersey pod are a common occurrence for sailors and boat enthusiasts in the Channel Islands, and many local businesses offer dolphin-watching tours. These tours provide a unique opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close and to learn more about their behaviour and habitat. The presence of the Jersey pod is a testament to the rich biodiversity of the UK Channel Islands and the importance of protecting the region’s marine ecosystems.

A Paradise for Birdwatchers 

Birdwatchers will also be in paradise, with many species of seabirds and migratory birds making their homes on the islands. The UK Channel Islands are home to a diverse range of bird species, including some that are rare or endangered. The islands’ location off the coast of France and their mild, coastal climate make them an important stopover for many migratory birds, while others have made the islands their permanent home.

The Channel Island Puffins 

One of the most iconic birds of the Channel Islands is the puffin, which is known for its distinctive colourful beak and comical waddling gait. Puffins can be found on the islands of Alderney and Herm, where they breed in burrows on the cliffs and feed on fish and crustaceans in the surrounding waters.

Puffins in the Channel Islands

Choughs of the Channel Isles 

Another unique bird species found in the Channel Islands is the chough, a member of the crow family that is characterized by its curved red bill and acrobatic flying style. The chough was once extinct in the region but has been reintroduced to the islands in recent years, and can now be seen on the cliffs and fields of Jersey and Guernsey.

Other bird species that can be spotted in the Channel Islands include the European shag, the European storm petrel, and the Northern gannet. The islands are also an important nesting site for several species of seabirds, including fulmars, razorbills, and guillemots. 

Overall, the bird life of the Channel Islands is a testament to the region’s rich biodiversity and the importance of protecting its unique ecosystems. Whether you’re a seasoned birdwatcher or simply appreciate the beauty of nature, the islands offer a wealth of opportunities to observe and learn about these fascinating creatures.

The landscapes of the Channel Islands are equally diverse, with lush forests, rolling hills, and scenic coastlines. The islands are also home to a variety of unique flora and fauna, including rare orchids, golden hedgehogs, and trees that thrive in the mild, coastal climate, making them perfect for walking trips to stretch your tired sea legs on land.

Guillemots birds

Guillemots birds

Each of the islands in the Channel Islands archipelago offers its own distinct charms for sailors. Herm is known for its dramatic cliffs and secluded beaches, while Lithou is home to picturesque harbours and historic forts. Sark is a favourite for its idyllic bays and enchanting woodlands, while Alderney boasts some of the most spectacular coastlines in the region.

Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time visitor, exploring the Channel Islands from the deck of a sailing boat is an unforgettable experience. So grab your packing list, hoist the sails, and get ready to discover the natural wonders and scenic vistas that await you in this unique corner of the world. So what should you pack for a sailing holiday in the Channel Islands in summer?

5 Checklists to Tick Off before Departure

1. Clothing and Accessories

When packing for a sailing holiday from England to the UK Channel Islands and back in the summer, it’s important to pack for all types of weather. Make sure to pack plenty of comfortable, lightweight clothes that can be layered, as the weather can change quickly on the water. Here are some essential clothing items to bring: 

  • Eco-friendly Sunscreen 
  • Hats or caps 
  • Sunglasses 
  • Waterproof jacket with hood 
  • Swimwear 
  • Deck shoes 
  • Non-slip sandals or shoes 
  • Moisture-wicking socks 
  • Warm clothing in case the weather changes 
  • Walking boots 
  • Environmentally-friendly toiletries and cleaning equipment
  • Towels

2. Navigation and Safety Gear

Safety should always be a top priority when sailing. Before embarking on your trip, make sure you have all the necessary navigation and safety gear on board. Here are some essential items to bring: 

  • GPS / Chartplotter 
  • Almanack of local tides and tables 
  • Nautical Charts and Pilot Charts 
  • Backup tablets and mobile phones 
  • Compass 
  • VHF radio 
  • Flares 
  • Boat Flags 
  • Log Book 
  • Life jackets 
  • First aid kit 
  • Tool kit
  • Binoculars

Packing Tips for Summer Sailing in the UK Channel Islands

3. Food and Drink

When sailing, it’s important to bring enough food and drink for the duration of your trip. Make sure to pack non-perishable foods that are easy to store and prepare, such as canned goods, dried fruit, and nuts. Here are some essential items to bring: 

  • Bottled water 
  • Sports drinks 
  • Tea or coffee 
  • Non-perishable snacks 
  • Canned or packaged meals 
  • Cooler or insulated bag 
  • Portable stove or grill if your yacht is not equipped 
  • Cookware and utensils 
  • Plastic picnicware for stormy weather at sea (and for picnics on land) 

4. Entertainment and Recreation

When you’re not sailing, you’ll want to have some entertainment and recreation options on board. Here are some essential items to bring: 

  • Books or e-reader 
  • Board games or playing cards 
  • Portable music player or speaker 
  • Fishing gear 
  • Scuba diving equipment 
  • Snorkelling gear 
  • Kayak or paddleboard 
  • Camera or video recorder

5. Miscellaneous Items for Sailing Trips

Finally, here are some miscellaneous items that may come in handy during your sailing trip: 

  • Cash or credit card 
  • Passport or ID 
  • Tote bags or backpacks 
  • Flashlight or headlamp 
  • Mosquito repellent 
  • Extra batteries 
  • Portable charger 
  • Binoculars 

When packing for a sailing holiday from England to our stunningly gorgeous UK Channel Islands, it’s important to pack for all types of weather – even during the warm and mild Summer months. Be sure to have all the necessary navigation and safety gear, stock up on food and drink, and bring some entertainment and recreation options on board.

Most importantly don’t forget your camera and video equipment to snap stunning shots of our amazing wildlife and coastal beauty. With the right gear, you’ll be able to relax and enjoy your sailing adventure to the fullest.

Did you fall in love with the Channel Islands and would you like to explore more? Then don’t miss the following article: The best island hopping itinerary in the Channel Islands