Friday, 2 June 2006

Back to Blighty

The forecast had been looking pretty benign for Friday for the last few days, so we awoke expecting blue skies and light winds..... It was however overcast, and raining, and blowing about 15kts.... We slipped Dunkirk at 08h15, and motored slowly out to sea.... the entrance to Dunkirk is a lot wider and easier than Oostende, and with the slowly reducing wind, the swell had subsided a lot, so we had a pain free exit.... The wind remained North Westerly, so we hoisted sails in 15kts, and reached off at speed towards Calais to clear the Offshore sand banks..... before we knew it we had passed Calais, and were heading up towards the TSS and on to Ramsgate. As we turned towards the wind, the high pressure over the UK showed its hand, and the wind dropped to 3 to 4 kts, the skies turned blue and the sun shone.... so we motor sailed... With the tide not affecting us, we managed 6kts SOG, and soon entered the TSS.... it was still flowing south, so I rather naughtily freed off a few degrees from the normal right angle track so as to end up close to SW Goodwin light vessel.... and we shot off... As we entered the TSS we went through a dozen anchored ships, obviously waiting for the tide to turn.... As we found ourselves in the centre of this mass of steel, I had visions of them all clanking off, and leaving us scurrying from gap to gap, but as the tide remained southerly still, it was only fortunately day dreaming.... We crossed pretty easily... a little traffic going south, but nothing that we needed to change course for, and virtually no traffic against the tide heading north.... We popped out of the TSS and held pretty much the same course for the next 2nm into SW Goodwin, and as we rounded it and pointed north, the tide went slack, and within half an hour was pushing us up inside the Goodwin sands.... perfect passage planning! We soon covered the remaining few miles into Ramsgate, and despite having to wait for 20 minutes outside the entrance for a ferry coming out, were in and tied up by 16h50.... a decent passage of 31nm through the water, and 42nm over the ground.... We again set off for a restaurant, and ended up in a pseudo Greek place, which was OK.... not brilliant, especially after the particularly good Dunkirk experience, but still OK. We all glowed a bit after several hours of strong sunshine, and enjoyed a drink! By 11h00 we were back to the boats..... we had calculated that the optimum departure time for the tides the following morning was 03h45, and had decided that this wasn't a gentlmanly hour, so instead planned to leave at 05h45... we must have had more to drink that we planned, as we agreed on the way back to boats to go forward an hour, and plan for 04h45!

Miles logged 31nm
Miles this trip 112nm
Miles this season 208nm
Miles since this blog started 989nm

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