Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Belgian bound

Sure enough, I was dragged to the swimming pool!. It did however, use up most of the afternoon which was good as there isn't a lot to do in Roompot. The marina appears to be part of a large holiday complex, and has the associated facilities, which was useful, as it included a supermarket. We took the opportunity to stock up on a few basics, and then retired to the boat where we had a pleasant family evening, playing games before getting an early night before a relatively early kick off the following morning. We set alarms for 05h30. SWMBO gained by having gone onto local time, as this was 06h30 by her watch.... (I tend to stick with BST, otherwise I get awfully confused with the navigation!)... We got ourselves dressed in full foul weather gear, and slipped quietly.... it only took 25 minutes to get to the Roompotsluis, and we had to wait for just 15 mins before it opened. This lock is BIG. We locked in with a decent sized cargoe vessel.... and several other yachts, and used perhaps half the available space.... The skies were grey, but fortunately, it wasn't raining..... Soon the outer gates opened, and we re-emerged back into the sea for the first time in a week.... We had really really enjoyed Holland and will be coming again. The tide was flooding south, so we set course for the inshore passage, towards Vlissingen, and shot down at 8+kts over the ground. The wind, despite being forecast for a North Westerly, hadn't gone that far round, and had a lot of West in it. Fortunately it had just enough northerly to enable us to sail, albeit tight to the wind. As we reached Vlissingen, we freed off a bit, still upwind, but with the sails just eased a bit to let them breath. With 15 to 18kts of wind, and the tide still assisting us, we shot down towards Zebrugge.... and by the time we reached this point, we were nearly 6nm ahead of plan.... Sadly, the tide inevitably turned against us. Its unavoidable on this passage, as there is realistically only 4 1/2 hrs of supporting tide to be had.... However, with a decent wind, we were still making around 5kts over the ground, and continued to make good progress. Then the sun peeked out, and life started to look good.... Before long, the cranes of Zeebrugge appeared on the horizon, and we continued to make good progress.... finally the waypoint for Oostende popped up, and before too long we were heading towards Nieuwpoort... We had alread decided to go to the Airforce Yacht Club Marina (WSKLuM) from a recommendation.... wow... British marinas... you need to sit up a listen.... besides having a staff member meet every visiting boat to take their lines, and ensure that they found their allocated berth OK, they then presented a map (in English) with the location of every conceivable shop or facility you might need... they have on site evrything from launderette to nice bar, bicycle hire and ice delivered to the boat.... while we sorted the boat out they delivered the latest weather forecast over a tannoy (in English as well as Belgian, Dutch and French) and they charged me 39 Euros for 3 nights..... so nice to know that we get so royally ripped off in the UK..... the Belgians must gasp when they see the prices of British marinas....... So by 16h45 we were tied up.... a passage time door to door of 11 hours... not bad considering that we had to lock out of the Roompotsluis.... We're here for 3 nights now.... SWMBO wants to revisit Brugge, the kids want to hire bikes and go exploring, and me.... well I just want to relax!

Miles logged 53nm
Miles logged this trip 209nm
Miles this season 618nm
Miles since this blog started 1,401nm

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