Spirit Yachts has once again partnered with Locate Guernsey for its bi-annual regatta exclusively hosted for the Spirit community. Locate Guernsey is the go-to team for advice and recommendations when it comes to life on the island, so we caught up with Director Jo Stoddart ahead of this year’s regatta to find out what’s so special about this Channel Islands gem.

Start by reminding everyone exactly where in the world Guernsey is and how we get there?

Guernsey is the second largest of the Channel Islands, situated 30 minutes from the Normandy coast and 70 miles from the south coast of England. Together with Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou and Lihou it forms the Bailiwick of Guernsey. This archipelago of serene and varied islands are easily accessible via ferry crossing (less than 3 hours from Poole) or by private yacht/motorboat. Arriving by air is also very easy, either by means of a private plane or charter or flying with our own local airline, Aurigny, from a selection of airports around the UK (only 40 minutes flying time from London Gatwick).

We know from our inaugural regatta in 2022 that Guernsey offers fantastic sailing grounds for exciting and varied racing, does the island have an active sailing community and what makes it an attractive destination for keen sailors?

Spirit owners know from our inaugural regatta in 2022 that Guernsey offers fantastic sailing grounds for exciting and varied racing. It has a very active sailing community with two yacht clubs – indeed, all local children are offered the opportunity to learn to sail from 5 years old thanks to the Guernsey Sailing Trust, so it is very much a sport embraced by all.

Guernsey is much more than a single island – it is the centrepiece in a beautiful, immaculate archipelago and a stepping stone to a much bigger destination. Local sailors can sail easily to and from the UK and France and we also see a lot of people stopping over in Guernsey en route between Scandinavia and the Mediterranean.

And of course, sailing amongst the islands is one of the many joys offered by the Bailiwick and visitors can enjoy everything from unspoilt sandy bays to rugged cliffs and small coves, the opportunity to enjoy crystal clear turquoise waters and spot seals, dolphins and sunfish among the sea life.

Guernsey has one of the world’s largest tidal ranges which transforms the coastline every six hours or so – the extension of the island’s landmass is quite spectacular and when the tide is out, there are rockpools and beaches to explore.

With 10-meter tides, our waters also offer challenging sailing conditions, partly because tidal streams affect the bearing of the yacht and how you manoeuvre especially in small inlets, coves and bays. Visitors love the challenges of sailing in the islands and always come back for more!

Once our sailors come in from an adrenaline-fuelled day’s sailing where are the best places for them to go for a drink near the water?

Along the front at St Peter Port are a range of bars for a post-sailing drink. Some of the closest to the harbours include Balthazar where a fabulous range of drinks and cocktails are available, The Slaughterhouse (very close to the Yacht Club), The Ship & Crown, The Boathouse, Christies, JB Parker’s Bar and Cellar, the Thomas de la Rue or for a fabulous view over the whole of the harbour area, try the Terrace Garden Café. There really is something for everyone!

If sailors wish to go further afield and explore other water side locations, The Rockmount and The Cobo Bay Hotel, both at Cobo are lovely places for a drink and to watch the sunset as is The Imperial at Pleinmont.

And how about food? Guernsey must have some fabulous seafood and local produce, what are your top restaurant or café recommendations?

We are spoilt for choice in Guernsey when it comes to restaurants. Close to the harbour are Pier 17 and Le Nautique, which offer superb seafood dishes. For fabulous steaks, Red is a must; Rosso the pizzeria is also excellent if pizza is the dish of choice. The Slaughterhouse offers good food, as does Balthazar, and I hear very good reports about Fifty Seven both as a restaurant and a late night bar. Away from St Peter Port, Les Douvres in St Martins, the Fleur du Jardin in Castel and La Reunion at Cobo are addresses to check out.

What do you think attracts people to live and work in Guernsey?

Safety, security, fresh air and natural beauty are often cited as reasons why people choose to make a life on the island. The community is friendly and welcoming to newcomers and although the island is relatively small, this is one of its strengths. Nowhere is further than 20 minutes away so we have very short commutes which in turn allow us to enjoy a fantastic work-life balance. It’s quite possible to leave the office at 5:30pm and be on the beach with the family for a BBQ by 6pm. We are all able to be involved in lots of different activities because none of them are too far away from each other, which enriches our lives and provides wonderful opportunities for growing families. Our tax system is very attractive and although this might be one of the reasons why people consider Guernsey in the first place, they will generally choose to come and live here for a wide variety of other reasons. When you have been used to spending hours commuting, suddenly new residents find themselves with lots of extra time to enjoy spending time with family and friends, getting involved with different hobbies and sports. And of course, Guernsey is paradise for sailors and water-sports enthusiasts!

Above: view over Castle Cornet and the entrance to St Peter Port Harbour