Saturday, 13 August 2005

Ipswich to Ramsgate

Day one of the summer trip.... We had already decided to head for Ramsgate on Saturday, the first day, and the tides suggested an early start was in order.... optimum was 04h45, so we agreed to aim for 05h00..... David and Helen in their new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32, who are in a different marina, albeit just 200 yds away, agreed to meet us at 05h00 inbetween the two marinas..... We set alarms and retired to bed earlyish (I was a bit later as I wanted to put a load of waypoints into the GPS, and plot them on the charts..... forecast was for light winds around 8kts from the West or perhaps North West... We arose at 04h40, and after getting dressed, contacting the lock for an 05h00 lock out and switching on all the instruments, we went on deck to see a pretty ordinary day... a bit grey, but not too much, and the threat of a sunrise worth seeing... it was still dusky, so after turning the fridge down (I'd had it on full whack all night while on shore power in order to get it really cold), unplugging shore power, turning on the nav lights and getting the engine running, we cast off. The kids remained in bed, both very pleased with their new forepeak berths, already being claimed as 'home'! Sure enough David was waiting for us, and we locked out uneventfully apart from the absence of a pontoon meaning that we had to secure to chains... but even that was OK..... The one thing not going completely according to plan was the complete absence of wind...not a breath.... glass like water. We had the last 2 hours of ebb to help us up the river, and so by 06h30 we had motored past Harwich. Fortunately, the wind had filled in with the break of day and the trip out to open water, and we had a lovely 8 to 10kts just as forecast, nicely from the North West, promising a downwind trip the whole way to Ramsgate.... so up went the sails, and off went the engine... The wind however, decided that we needed a treat, and swung slightly more to the North West, and filled in... and filled in a bit more.... before we new it, we had 18kts of wind.... we reefed up the genny by a few turns, but left the full main, and she was revelling in the conditions..... we shot off down past Medusa off Walton-on-the-Naze, and freed off a bit towards Sunk Head tower.... in fact we ended up running pretty much downwind to Sunk Head, and had to gybe a few times to stay reasonably on course, thus avoiding the shallows of sunk sand, but not putting to much west in the course.... We reached Sunk Head after logging nearly 20nm, and then hardened up onto a broad reach down Black Deep.... this was Maggie's playground, and we were playing her favourite game..... we absolutely flew down Black Deep.... regularly making 9kts over the ground with just white sails, and a lovely motion, riding the waves... David was being pressed in his SO32 to keep up with us... so we put another couple of turns in, and still held 8kts+.... we then freed back off through Foulgers Gat, having covered the 9 miles of Black Deep in just 1hr 10mins...... big grin! Even better, this fast passge meant that we were well ahead of schedule, and stood a serious chance of not having to face any foul tide at all! 3 miles of running through Foulgers Gat, and we were in sight of the Kent coastline... with Margate clearly visible in the distance.... we carried a very deep reach.. almost a run towards the Kent shores, and within no time were closing on North Foreland, and it was still only just after midday.... The very broad point of sail, and the rolly motion finally took its toll on C, and a quick bout of seasickness ensued. She was soon over it, and happily chatting away again.... Sadly, while the wind remained around, the wind shadow of Nth Foreland took its toll, and we slowed down sufficiently, that we then had about an hour to fight the tide up towards the Ramsgate bouyed channel, eventually passing through the harbour wall at about 14h45. The marina was to prove challenging!.... the space were limited, although we were told to just pick one.... we motored round to a candidate, tried to turn in, and realised that we were not going to make it... the angle was just too tight with our relatively poor perfromance under power and a wind blowing us off.... so we backed out, and I then reversed up the same aisle, and we came in from the other direction.... a perfect maneouvre... beautifully done even if I do say so myself... tides and wind in harmony to place the boat in just the right place..... so I started easing forward into the slot....b at this point the neighbouring boat pointed out (quite correctly) that the gap wasn't wide enough....bugger.... I backed off, and tried a different slot.... better this time, straight in... very tight...fenders touching both boats... but enough..... We relaxed... sorted out the boat, and then found a local hostelry for a pint and a spot of food.... very nice.... and then back to the boat for 21h00.... everyone is knackered... kids in bed, and I am sitting and writing this at 22h00 struggling to keep my eyes open! A day of rest tommorrow... if it was just us, we'd probably push on, but with the kids, a bit of shore time is also important... forecast is for sun, so perhaps a trip to the beach?... find out with the next installment!
Miles logged today 46.7
So far this trip 46.7
So far this season 352

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