Cruise – Part 4
Wed 9th April
There was no wind as 'Faith' left the western entrance to Dover Harbour at 0630; there was a clear sky and the tide was against us. None of this would have been possible with the Honda 2.3 which I've named Sherpa because of its hard work without complaint. To starboard the famous white cliffs looked gleaming white as the sun's rays were reflected towards me. Apart from the usual ferries there were no other boats in sight. Nigel said he would be leaving at 0800 and I knew for sure his 'Nancy Rye' would arrive at Sovereign Yacht Harbour before 'Faith'.
The visibility was so good that I could see the huge nuclear power station at Dungeness 15 miles away on a heading 230. Our speed at 0840 was 5 knots and the white buildings of Folkstone were to starboard about 2 miles.
By 1030 we were rounding the tip of Dungeness. There were many fisherman by the water's edge at the base of a steeply sloping pebbly beach and just as it would be there was a squall and a heavy downpour which made the boat heel more than she had done for a while. A mile further on I was intercepted by the gun range launch who gave instructions that I should stick to a course of 240 to be clear of the firing. The launch took up station to the point where I was to sail and when I reached it a member of the crew requested permission to take photos of my boat.
Late afternoon the sun was dead ahead and as I could not find my sunglasses I had difficulty in seeing where I should be going. As I suspected 'Nancy Rye' overtook 'Faith' about 7 miles before Sovereign Yacht Harbour. It was of no advantage because he stayed in the lock until until I arrived. That was a first for me, as I had never experienced being in a lock before. The yacht harbour is one of those showpieces for the very rich and the cost of staying there for one day is nearly £20.00, irrespective that my yacht is only 4.2 metres!
I didn't fancy exploring Eastbourne, the local town for the Marina, and therefore I determined to set off on Thursday for Brighton Marina.
Thu 10th April
After buying petrol for the next leg I set sail at 0800. Nigel wanted to stay at Eastbourne for a least a day and therefore we may not see each other again on this cruise, although his intention is similar to mine, i.e., sail west.
Rounding Beachy Head against the spring tide brought excitement as my boat raced the overflows close to the impressive white cliffs; at that crucial spot we could only manage just over a knot while a coastguard helicopter hover overhead. I think it was doing its normal morning routine and was not there to make sure I would be OK. I was so close to the red and white lighthouse that I could take some fabulous phots.
Just off Newhaven I was refilling the tank and lost the tank cap and had to improvise with a piece of plastic and a bit of cord. I could not allow sea water spray get into the petrol, neither did I want the petrol spilled by the motion of the boat.
Off Brighton there was an agitated sea caused by the tide against the west wind and the contrast inside the Marina was welcome. The fees for a day there were similar to the previous marina and therefore the sooner I can reach the Solent where I can tuck in on a beach the better, and to make matters worse, the visitors' pontoon has a fault with the electric supply because it was damaged during 'the big storm'.
The forecast for tomorrow does not look too inviting, but whatever happens I have to stay in the marina until the new petrol tank cap arrives.