Travelling to Sark
Travelling from Guernsey to Sark
The Isle of Sark Shipping Company (+44 (0) 1481 724059) provides the passenger ferry service from Guernsey. This is the easiest way to reach Sark, with several sailings a day between Guernsey and Sark in peak season and a reduced winter service with daily boats Monday to Saturday. Ferries depart from The Inter Island Quay at St Peter Port Harbour and tickets can be purchased online, by telephone or from the White Rock office in Guernsey.
Journey time is approximately 55 minutes.
www.sarkshippingcompany.com 00 44 (0)1481 724059
Travelling from Jersey to Sark
Manche Iles Express operate services from Granville and Carteret in Normandy to Sark, via Jersey, several times a week from April to September.
www.manche-iles-express.com 00 44 (0)1534 880756
Travelling from the UK
Condor Ferries operate a regular service between the UK departure ports of Poole and Portsmouth to Jersey and Guernsey, and St Malo in Brittany. The high speed ferry Condor Liberation operates from Poole, and conventional ships, the Goodwill and Clipper operate from Portsmouth.
Condor www.condorferries.com 0845 124 2004
by PRIVATE BOAT CHARTER
‘Te Ahora’ – Sark based private boat charter
The ‘Te Ahora’ is a private charter boat run by Ray Lowe. The boat is a very comfortable, fast charter and can take you to the other islands.
Contact Ray Lowe, Clos du Vivier, Sark, on +447781 149696 or email email@example.com for details and bookings.
Access Challenger – Guernsey based private boat charter
Contact Buz White MBE
Phone: 07781 147477 / 01481 230445
Marine Surveyor & Guernsey Boat Charter
Fellow Member YBDSA
Kai Tak, Jerbourg, St Martins, Guernsey. GY4 6BN
Jersey Seafaris – Jersey based boat charter
Half day, full day or evening charters available
Tel: 07829 772222
These airlines operate flights from the UK to Guernsey and Jersey.
Aurigny Air www.aurigny.com 00 44 (0)1481 822886
Blue Islands www.blueislands.com 00 44 (0)1481 727567
FlyBe www.flybe.com 00 44 (0)1481 237574
Moorings on Sark
The jetty is busy with ferries and cargo and is also used for emergency evacuation. Visiting boats may drop passengers off when the jetty is not being used by commercial or emergency vessels but boats may not tie up or stay alongside the jetty at any time day or night. Moorings in this area are all private.
Visiting boats may moor against the wall but must leave the steps and slip way clear at all times. An alternative is to use two long warps to the north end of the harbour and a stern anchor. Creux Harbour is a drying harbour. There is no charge to use the harbour and toilets and basic showers (showers at a small charge) are available just the other side of the tunnel. There is also a café which is open most days in the summer. Creux Harbour is occasionally closed for fund raising and other events and is sometimes used by commercial ferries and cargo boats. If you are leaving your boat unattended you are advised to contact the Harbourmaster. The moorings just outside the harbour are all private.
Sark Harbourmaster can be reached on VHF Channel 13 but this is not a 24/7 watch or mobile 07781 135611. Vessels in Sark waters are left at your own risk.
These are available in Havre Gosselin on the west coast and Greve de la Ville on the east coast and are marked with YELLOW buoys. The moorings are substantial and are checked annually but you use them at your own risk. They are available free of charge (2014) but donations towards upkeep and increasing the number of moorings are always welcome. Please take donations to The Visitor Centre, leave in the secure box at the bottom of paths up from Havre Gosselin and Greve de la Ville or donate online at www.sarkmoorings.com At Havre Gosselin there is a small jetty with a ladder for low water access where dinghies can be left. The path to the top of the island begins at this point. At Greve de la Ville dinghies can be left on the steps at the beginning of the path up to the top of the island.
If you choose to anchor in either of these locations please keep well away from the moorings.
Dixcart Bay: A large flat bay with a stony incline from about half way up. Good holding on sand at the seaward end of the bay. An easy path to the top of the island. A very popular anchorage.
Derrible Bay: A large flat bay with excellent holding on sand. A long path to the top of the island. Care should be taken to leave dinghies near the steps as the top of this bay is cut off from steps near high water. There is no charge for anchoring off Sark.
Grande Greve: Good holding sand at the seaward end of the bay. Please note that the path up to the top of the island from this bay is steep, built by volunteers and not maintained by the Island Authorities. There is NO charge for anchoring in Sark waters.
FREE ANCHORAGES AND MOORINGS ON SARK written by John Robinson
The Island of Sark, the fourth largest of the Channel Isles, makes a delightful stopping place for yachtsmen, either en route to Brittany or as part of a cruise in the Channel Isles. Sark is known for its tranquillity, great natural beauty and mildly idiosyncratic way of life. It has passed from being the last feudal state in Europe to being the smallest self-governing state in the Commonwealth and Europe. The absence of cars combined with a wide array of local hostelries, restaurants and shops, a spectacular coast, an excellent network of paths and grit roads, lush vegetation and the famous Seigneurie Gardens provide a welcome break from the rush of modern life.
The numerous bays round Sark’s coast provide a wide range of opportunities to anchor or moor. Although a safe refuge can be found in the lee of the island in virtually any weather that the summer can produce, for leisure and pleasure it is best to regard Sark as a fair weather stopping point. We have selected five of the most popular anchorages round Sark, two of which also offer free moorings. All of these have relatively simple approaches from the sea and also have good access paths up onto the island.
There are also two small harbours on Sark but neither is suitable for staying at. La Maseline is a single jetty which is busy with ferries and the local freight boat so use by yachts is not viable.
La Maseline Pier – heavily used by local ferries. Boats are not allowed to moor here.
The original harbour, Creux, is tiny, crowded with local boats and dries each tide: any use should be cleared with the local harbour master first.
Creux Harbour. Boats will get moved without notice from the wall on the right if the ferry or ambulance boat needs access. The tunnel leads to the hill up to the village.
We have provided the easiest approaches to the anchorages: pilot books and charts will provide other possibilities. As with all anchorages in this part of the world, care should be taken to calculate the tidal range (spring tides up to 10 meters range are common) and to use a tidal stream atlas as there are some strong currents around the Channel Isles. The waters round Sark have virtually no lit navigation marks so approach should not be made after dark. Sensible planning will ensure a trouble free and enjoyable visit – hundreds of yachts visit Sark each year, many returning time and again.
When choosing an anchorage it is recommended to select the lee of Sark; the island is not big (about 3½ by 1½ miles) so access to amenities is never far.
Starting on the northeast coast, our first anchorage is Grève de la Ville, which also offers free moorings. Situated in the bay below the Point Robert lighthouse, Greve de la Ville provides good shelter from southwesterlies. Coming from Guernsey or the north or east, the easiest access is to sail round the Bec du Nez headland at the north of the island (WP1). (Bec du Nez has a white bn on the end). There can be a strong tide round the Bec and some overfalls so although there is a passage inside the off-lying rocks (which the ferry uses), for the first time visitor it is best to keep 4½ cables (0.45 nm) off the coast, going with the tide and keeping outside the various rocks. Follow the coast on a course of 130 T for 6 ca (to WP 2) until you see the Noire Pierre rock. This has a yellow bn (stick) on it. Turn onto 160T, leaving Noire Pierre to port. Grève de la Ville will now be in front of you with Point Robert lighthouse clearly visible on its headland just beyond. The water is clear of obstructions on the route into Grève de la Ville as you pass Noire Pierre. Either pick up a yellow visitor’s mooring (red and green buoys are for local boats) or anchor.
Grève de la Ville. Noir Pierre is on the extreme left of the photo.
Grève de la Ville is more comfortable a bit further offshore, especially at spring low tides. Access ashore is via the steps up from the right hand (north) corner of the pebbly beach. If staying ashore over high tide it is wise to carry your dinghy up the steps to the flat section above the high water line. A well maintained path leads up the hill through woods with an abundance of wild flowers in spring and glorious views towards Alderney and the French coast.
The beach at Grève de la Ville near high tide. Note the dinghies pulled up the steps!
If approaching from the south, the simplest course is to keep 3 ca off the coast, passing Creux Harbour and outside Les Burons rocks. Once past Les Burons (WP 3), La Maseline Pier will become visible. Founiais rock will also be visible with a yellow bn (stick) on it. Turn west towards the end of Maseline pier and the (private) moorings off Maseline, passing midway between Les Burons and Founiais. Once past Founiais turn to starboard on approximately 340T to pass through the deep channel midway between Point Robert (with its lighthouse) and The Grande Moie rocks. Grève de la Ville will open up in front as you pass Point Robert. (Note: do not cut sharp to port (west) into Grève de la Ville after passing Point Robert as there are some drying rocks on the Point Robert side of the bay).
Approaching Grève de la Ville from the southeast, past La Maseline Pier. The route passes between Point Robert lighthouse to port and the Grande Moie rocks to starboard
Our second selection is Havre Gosselin on the west coast. This has long been a favourite of visiting yacht crews, providing both an anchorage and free moorings. Once ashore, the path up the adjacent headland provides stunning views of Havre Gosselin, with its clear blue water and of the islands of Brecqhou (with its sprawling modern castle), Herm, Jethou and Guernsey.
Havre Gosselin, with the island of Brecqhou just behind. Herm, Jethou and Guernsey are in the distance.
The simplest approach is from the southwest and the Big Russell. The Pilcher monument (a granite obelisk) on top of the headland above Havre Gosselin provides an excellent landmark. Follow a course of 070T towards the Pilcher Monument (from WP4) to avoid Les Dents rocks off Brecqhou, turning northeast into Havre Gosselin before the Pierre Norman rocks. Either anchor or pick up a yellow visitor’s mooring (red and green moorings are private local moorings). Access ashore is via the steps (ladder at low tide) in the south east corner of the Havre. As ever, secure your dinghy at the flat area above the high water level or use a very long mooring line if staying any length of time as the tidal range always catches a few sailors out each year!
Havre Gosselin from the Big Russell. The Pilcher Monument is conspicuous on the skyline. Pierre Norman rocks are in the foreground on the right.
An alternative approach to Havre Gosselin from the north for the more adventurous is to shoot with the tide through the gap between the islands of Brecqhou and Sark through the Gouliot Passage, where there is adequate depth at all tide levels for yachts (least depth 3.6m). The tide can run through this passage at 5-7 knots at spring tides but the stream is slack at half tide if you prefer a less exciting passage.
Our third selection is La Grande Grève, located on the west coast just south of Havre Gosselin, beneath the remarkable Coupée (a narrow road on an isthmus about 200 feet above sea level that joins Big and Little Sark). Locals rate the sandy beach at low tide at Grande Grève as the best on Sark. It is a popular anchorage for visiting yachts.
Grande Grève, as viewed from La Coupée.
Approach is from the Big Russell (WP5) on a course of 085T towards Pointe de la Joue. (This is in transit with the south end of La Coupée). This takes you between La Baveuse (drying 7.6m) and Boue de la Baie (awash at LW) rocks. When 400 m from Pointe de la Joue turn to port and anchor NE of the point. (It is also possible to approach from Havre Gosselin, rounding Pierre? Norman and following a course of 130T into La Grande Grève. Access ashore is via the steep steps in the north of the bay up to La Coupée. (The climb is worth it just to visit La Coupée, with its apparently perilous position and splendid views to the east and west).
Approaching Grande Grève from the Big Russell. Pointe de la Joue in the foreground is almost in transit with the south end of La Coupée (the low neck of land in the middle of the picture).
Our final two anchorages are Derrible Bay and Dixcart Bay. These are next to each other, both facing southeast. Dixcart is the more popular of the two, with the easiest access onto the island via a relatively gently sloping path through a wooded valley that also passes the Dixcart Hotel (former haunt of Victor Hugo) and Stocks Hotel, both admirable establishments for refreshments. Derrible has a much steeper access onto Sark across some large boulders but is a lovely quiet anchorage with an interesting beach and rock caves (including the remarkable Creux Derrible – a huge collapsed sea cave with the roof open to the sky).
Dixcart Bay on a quiet out of season day. Pt. Chateau on the far side separates this bay from Derrible Bay. A pleasant path leads gently up to the island through delightful woods which are carpeted with flowers in the spring.
The simplest entry to both bays is to approach from WP6 on a bearing of 340T on Pt. Chateau (called the Hogsback locally) which separates the two bays. Both provide good holding on a sandy sea bed. (The two large mooring buoys in the middle of Derrible Bay are used by ferries from France, usually during the day).
Derrible Bay near high tide. The buoy on the right is laid for ferries. Access steps and path are on the far side. Note: Beware that the beach is cut off from the access steps at high tide so position your dinghy accordingly!
Whichever anchorage you use, enjoy your time on Sark. And remember to take a torch if you expect to return after dark – Sark has no street lights and is not the world’s first Dark Skies Island for nothing!
WP1: 49o 27.36 N, 02 o 21.67 W
WP2: 49o 27.00 N, 02 o 21.19 W
WP3: 49o 25.89 N, 02 o 19.98 W
WP4: 49o 25.35 N, 02 o 24.00 W
WP5: 49o 23.23 N, 02 o 24.09 W
WP6: 49o 24.44 N, 02 o 20.76 W
Grateful thanks to Jo Birch for proof reading this article and for her very knowledgeable advice.
F.A.Qs on travelling to Sark
I live in the UK, what is the best route to Sark?
You can travel to Guernsey with the following airlines …
Aurigny Air Services from:
Bristol, East Midlands, Leeds Bradford, London City Airport, London Gatwick, London Stanstead Manchester, Southampton
Aberdeen, Barra, Belfast City, Benbecula, Birmingham, East Midlands, Edinburgh, Exeter, Glasgow Intl., Inverness, Islay, Kirkwall, Manchester, Newcastle, Newquay, Norwich, Southampton, Stornoway, Sumburgh)
Blue Islands from:
Amsterdam, Bristol, London City, Southampton, London Waterloo via Southampton)
Or sail with Condor ferries operate boat passenger services to Guernsey from Poole and Portsmouth.
Once in Guernsey you can then travel to Sark on one of the regular sailings with Isle of Sark Shipping Company Ltd.
I live in Europe (excluding the UK), what is the best route to Sark?
Manche Iles Express operates boat passenger services to Sark from Granville and Carteret (via Jersey) between April and September. However, there are more frequent sailings between Guernsey and Sark, so if you can, try to come via Guernsey.
Condor Ferries offer services from St Malo in Normandy and Cherbourg to Guernsey or fly with:
Aurigny Air Services from:
France: Dinard, Grenoble
Blue Islands from:
France: Paris CDG, Chambray.
Switzerland: Geneva, Zurich
France: Avignon, Bergerac, Bordeaux, Brest Brittany, Chambery, Clermont-Ferrand, La Rochelle, Limoges, Nantes, Nice, Paris CDG, Paris Orly Ouest, Rennes, Toulouse
Germany: Dusseldorf, Hannover, Nuremburg, Stuttgart
Ireland: Donegal, Dublin, Knock – Ireland West
Italy: Milan Malpensa, Verona
Spain: Alicante, Malaga, Palma Mallorca
Switzerland: Geneva, Zurich.
I live outside of Europe, what is the best route to Sark?
Try to arrange a flight to London to Gatwick. Then you can easily take a connecting flight to Guernsey with Aurigny, and catch the ferry to Sark. If your flight lands at London Heathrow, you can take a connecting flight to Jersey and travel to Sark with Manche Iles Express, thought this is not a daily service and only operates from April to September.
How do we get from Guernsey Airport to the harbour at St. Peter Port?
Guernsey has a regulated, licensed taxi service, based on two ranks in central St Peter Port, one at St Sampson’s (on The Bridge) and one at the Airport. It is advisable to book Guernsey taxis whenever possible, especially when you wish to travel early in the morning or during the evening, when demand is greatest. It costs around £14 for a taxi to St. Peter Port and the journey will last around 20 minutes, depending on the traffic. Ask your driver to take you to the quay for the Sark boat, you can visit http://www.visitguernsey.com/-taxis for taxi numbers. There is also a local bus service near the taxi rank please visit www.buses.gg for the most up to date timetables and fare prices.
What do we do with our luggage for the Sark boat?
Luggage for Sark can be left in the Left Luggage store on the Inter-Island Quay at Guernsey, should you have free time before catching your ferry. Luggage is left at the owners own risk. Items left in the Left Luggage store are not automatically loaded onto the ferry. Please take your luggage onto the ferry with you. Should you require any assistance then please ask a member of the quay staff who will assist.
What happens to our luggage when we arrive at Sark?
On the Isle of Sark Shipping vessels passengers are allowed to carry with them, free of charge, up to 25kg of personal luggage. IoSS reserves the right to transfer large items, or equipment to the next available cargo vessel sailing. If you are staying on Sark please ensure that your luggage is clearly labelled with your name and your accommodation on Sark. When you arrive at Sark your cases should be left on the boat and will be transferred from boat to tractor and onward to your accommodation by one of our carters.
Jimmy’s Carting Services Tel: 01481 832573 web: www.jimmyscartingsark.com
Island Deliveries Tel: 07781437822 https://www.facebook.com/Islanddeliveries
Please therefore get off the ferry, leaving your big cases on the boat and proceed through the tunnel to the waiting area at the bottom of the harbour hill and catch the tractor bus up to the village. Please do not be alarmed if your luggage takes a while to arrive.
What do we do with our luggage when we leave Sark?
On departure from Sark, please make sure that your accommodation provider contacts a Sark carter to collect your luggage, who should give you a time for your luggage to be out ready for collection. It will then be loaded aboard your return ferry. Please label the luggage with your destination and ferry time. On arrival back in Guernsey, please disembark and wait for your luggage to be taken off the boat. Should you wish to leave your luggage for a while, it can again be left in the Left Luggage store at owners’ risk.
Where can I buy food on Sark?
We have two excellent food shops on Sark. To see details please visit our Shopping page. PLEASE NOTE: self-catering and campsite guests may need to pre-order goods such as bread, milk, Sark cream and butter to avoid disappointment. In the winter months the food shops have shorter opening hours.