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It's Vince and Malcolm

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For charity of course

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Ramsgate To Queenborough 31st July 2007

I was up with the larks as usual today, and straight on deck for a quick look at the weather. There is a familiar boat moored alongside, and I soon realise the last time I saw it I was moored on The Lock Alsh Hotel am surprised to see a familiar yacht moored next to us. I said as if talking to Ron, Oh Its Rob Around Britain, who If you read the report, I had met in Kyle Scotland, and was circumnavigating the other way round. Rob must have heard me because he emerged from his saloon, and greeted me. Now you can't pass twice on opposite circumnavigations, and Rob confirmed this, as he had arrived in his home port just after midnight. Our chatter awoke Ron, and he emerged into the cockpit looking bleary eyed, and joined in Rob's celebration on completing his voyage. We are not many ports from home ourselves. but I am keen to visit London which will take a few days. I want to see the river from on board my boat, and remember the times I spent as a child playing along the south side of the river from the river police station at Erith to Greenwich Pier, taking in the Naval College, Greenwich Park, The Royal Observatory, The National Maritime Museum, and the Cutty Sark. The new sights will be the Q E 2 Bridge, the Dome, Docklands and the Thames Barrier.

Low water Dover 0656 with little difference to Ramsgate, add the hour making our departure time around 0730, so after breakfast Ron and me go to the office to pay our dues before leaving. Great! the office is closed, and not wanting to miss the tide we have to leave, so the fee will go into the Martin House charity pot. We say goodbye to Rob, and  leave Ramsgate at 0735 following the channel, altering our course after the No 3 South Cardinal on 35degT motor sailing and following the coast round to North Foreland. If you have been to a RYA school you will know where this one is. I can't keep my eye on the depth as it isn't working, so I make sure I am well clear of the shallows, and there are lots of those in the Thames estuary. As we pass Broadstairs, I am trying to remember landmarks from when I was last here. I was about 3 years old, and staying in a convalescence home overlooking the beach. Broadstairs looks much smaller than I remember, and the only building I recognise is the church, from memory the beach is pebbles? but the chart contradicts this, well it was sixty odd years ago.

Once past North Foreland the course is 343degT for the E Margate Buoy, I don't fancy going aground and sitting on Margate Sand, and having never sailed in this area before, the overland passage, and  Four fathom channel are out, although we have a rising tide, so we will play safe and use the marked channels. The wind is kind again, and we are able to sail now, so it's engine off genoa out and some peace, with the only sound being wind and water. I doubt we will be able to do any sailing when we are in the Thames proper tomorrow.

0845 and Ron puts the kettle on for a drink as we alter course, and head across Queens channel for Princes Channel. after following the buoys through Princes Channel we pass the south cardinal marking Shivering Sand off to starboard. 1120 and we leave E Redsand buoy to port, before altering course to head up the Oaze Deep for the Medway approach  course 261degT. We have lost the wind now so it's a sandwich and hot drink listening to the engine while we eat, there isn't much other traffic about, but there will probably some movement when the tide turns at around 1400hrs, but we will be arriving at Queenborough about  that time, so we shouldn't have any ships passing us on passage.    

1417hrs and we have arrived in Queenborough, and picked a buoy on the south side of the river. It's slack water and the first of the ships are leaving. Its a lovely afternoon, and with nothing looking very interesting ashore we decide to spend it, relaxing on the boat, and watching the passing traffic. There are a couple of tugs moored in the middle of the river, with a coaster further down, and it's not long before the first ship makes its way out of the river heading for who knows where. There are some late arrivals looking for spare mooring buoys or someone to raft up to, but we remain alone on our mooring with Anita 'A' being only 26ft long and not as easy to raft up to. Its different the other way round though, and I can raft up to most other vessels easily. Ron has prepared the evening meal beef casserole with rice with treacle sponge and custard to follow, which we enjoy with a glass of red wine, as we watch the sun go down over the horizon. There is no am/fm radio on the boat so no music, or flat batteries so its plan the passage to St Kathrines, read, or just enjoy the peace. The passage plan is just a matter of catching the tide right, and keeping a good lookout as we proceed up the River Thames. Sunset this evening is 2048hrs, and the wine and meal have made me feel tired, so I don't think I will be long out of bed. We plan to keep in the channel as far as the No 7 starboard buoy beyond the dangerous wreck at the end of sheerness middle sand before making our way into the Great Nore, then up through the Nore Sand Swatchway. Tomorrow we will leave an hour before low water Sheerness, 08:58, and this should see us out and into the river proper. to catch the incoming tide which will take us up into London.