Friday, May 06, 2005

Thursday 5th May

0505 Forecast: North West 3 to 4, backing Westerly 4 to 5. That was ideal for the 15 mile sail to Dover from Ramsgate.

As we couldn’t sail until mid afternoon because we needed the flood tide towards Dover, we did necessary tasks for maintaining the boat. An important item was checking the engine oil which had to be topped up. Amazingly, weed had started to grow around the waterline just above the antifouling so we scrubbed it off. Water was taken aboard and rubbish deposited ashore.

Ramsgate Marina was very full because of the arrival of a flotilla of yachts from Belgium, all from the same unidentified Yacht Club. Around mid-day a noisy party was held by their club members aboard a visiting yacht next to ours. Throughout the morning a huge dredger busily sucked up mud and gravel from the entrance to the Yacht Harbour.

Having obtained permission from Port Control to leave Ramsgate Harbour we left there for Dover at 1450. There was a south west wind of force 2 which meant we were on the wind most of the time. The computer’s navigation system came in handy as we made our way south along the Gull Stream Passage with the Brake sands to the west and the Goodwin Knoll sands to the east. Visibility was good which meant we were able to identify various buoys and have a good view of the Kent coast, including Deal, with its pier.

When were near Deal Bank red can buoy we stopped using the computer for navigation to conserve battery power and changed to the GPS. The flood current helped us along as we approached South Foreland, but we had to keep a good lookout for fishing floats. Here the wind was on the nose; therefore we started the engine. As we passed Dover Patrol Coastguard Station, Dover Harbour breakwaters came into view to the South West.

On our approach to the Harbour, one cross-channel ferry was leaving and another was entering.

After following the Fairway to the western end of the outer harbour we anchored in 12 feet of water in the North West corner of the outer harbour. Only one other yacht was there. As usual for Dover, the boat started to roll because of the swell. Gordon grilled two lovely sirloin chops, but the gas had to be changed at the halfway stage. It was a lovely evening and the Dover ladies rowing teams were out practising.

Both of us had a reasonable sleep before waking up for the early morning forecast the next day.

Friday, 6th May.

The general area forecast for Dover predicted winds up to force 8 from the West, but the inshore forecast said winds would be no more than force 5 from the South West. Prudence dictated it would be better to visit Dover Marina, where we are this morning. Hopefully we shall have a look around the environs of Dover.

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