The English Channel can be an unforgiving place and there is some good advice above. This weekend you have F6 to F7 forecast with quite big tides, so it will be very rough especially with wind over tide. I don’t doubt for a moment that your boat, if in good condition, could deal with it. We have sailed in F9 in open ocean and more often then we would care for F8 but it is the close quarter handling on this occasion that would probably keep us ashore. It is one thing to be caught out in that kind of rough weather but another thing to go out into it.