Sunrise at Dover
Despite the rolling of the yacht in Dover Harbour I had a refreshing sleep. My internal alarm clock had me out of the bunk at 0500 in readiness for the early shipping forecast.
Dover is a fascinating place because there are always things happening; for example, at 0600 on the dot, the cruise ship Balmoral docked at the Admiralty Pier. A tug stood by as she l did this under her own steam; first turning 180 degrees before reversing to come alongside the Pier. While that was happening a solitary rod fisherman stood motionless at the adjacent Prince of Wales Pier with his fishing line dangling into the calm water.
My departure from the Harbour was not due until 1100 when the ebb would help me on the way to Ramsgate. I expected a Force 4 from the northwest. The direction was correct, but the variation of strength was changeable, due in part to the varying speed of the current. When the water passed over shallows the speed of it increased, very much like large scale rapids on rivers where the waves increase in size. At such places like the Downs Shoal to the northwest of Deal, I needed to reduce sail, otherwise ‘Ladybird’ was overpowered.
Because of the fast-moving current and the squally wind, the sail to Ramsgate was demanding. The final positioning before reaching Ramsgate was important, because if the boat was taken too far north, getting her across the north-going ebb to the Harbour entrance may not have been possible, which would have meant a late entry, until the tide ceased running.
In the Royal Harbour the harbour master was there to show me my berth and take my warps - the only place where this has happened, and the Marina was the cheapest of them all!