Saturday, 13 August 2005

Ramsgate to Boulogne

I'd laid in bed all the previous night listening to the wind whistling through the rigging, and feeling the boat move up and down in response to the swells working their way in Ramsgate Marina, and couldn't help but think that the morning might be a decision time.... The forecast had suggested a N or N/W 3 or 4 max, but what I was hearing outside wasn't a 4.... We'd had the previous day in Ramsgate, had a wander around town, taken the kids onto the beach and general relaxed.... we'd then culminated the day with a barbecue on David and Helen's boat. They have this very clever BBQ that is Camping Gaz powered, and holds a bowl of water that captures all the fat......This was a particular pleasant evening given that it was both warm, and that David and SWMBO produced a chilled bottle of champagne, and two chilled bottles of wine..... ahhhhhh. So when I arose at 06h30, and wandered on decek to find a blue sky, and something around 15kts, it was a bit of nice suprise.... So after the usual morning ablutions, we cast off at 07h45, and set off inside the Goodwin sands.... wow... again we had about 20kts of wind, this time a northerly, and with a tide assist, shot down the inside of the sands at between 8 and 10kts..... 1 reef in the main, and a few furls on the genny..... marvellous grin inducing stuff! We eventually had to reluctantly abandon our reach and head south towards the TSS, and yet still managed about 6kts downwind...... as we approached the TSS it was pretty much dead downwind, and with a cross/quarter sea not easy to hold a course with out accidentally gybing, so we furled the genny, and turned on the engine, and motored across.... The traffic was very light in the TSS, with just one vessel on the nearer West bound track, and two on the East bound... neither of which were particularly close, so all in all, a pretty easy crossing.... As we passed out of the TSS, then we freed right off, and hoisted a full set of sails in the rapidly reducing breeze.... the tide was starting to turn against us a bit, so this was not good news.... As we passed Cap Gris Nez, the last of the tide disappeared, and we found ourselves making just a meager 1kts over the ground.... we held on valiantly, as we watched David and Helen disappear over the horizon, but eventually succumbed 2 hours later, and motor sailed the remaining 5 miles into Boulogne.... We entered the outer harbour, and were pleased to see the IPTS (traffic signals) showing unrestricted access, but just as we closed on the inner harbour entrance, they went red, and we had to wait a further 15 minutes for access... but eventually, we were admitted and motored up the river to the marina.... I always find entering France strange... its only a few miles away, in fact, you can even see it from Ramsgate, but the architecture is different, and it 'feels' foreign..... any yacht owner who sails across the channel will know what I mean...... The marina was filling quickly, but David and Helen had been carefully guarding us a space alongside them, moored bow too..... we slipped in at 16h15.... tired and yet happy... A quick trip to the Capitaniere, saw us releaved of 40 Euros for 2 nights stay, and we then went back to Maggie to tidy her up, and to connect shore power, etc etc.... We enjoyed a quick sandwich, and then watched with amusement the large boats opposite on the end of the finger...... now rafted 5 deep, on such a short pontoon that no shore lines were really possible... and all over 45 feet..... the guy on the inside kept wandering back, and looking with concern at his cleats..... I hope he doesn't want to slip early in the morning! We'll be off into town soon to see what the local hostelries are like.... more soon!
Miles logged today 37.9
So far this trip 84.6
So far this season 390

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