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It's Vince and Malcolm

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Eastbourne to Dover/Ramsgate 30 July 2007

Its 07:00 as we enter the lock to leave Eastbourne for Dover/Ramsgate depending on our progress. We are hoping to make the tidal gate at Dungeness, and gain the new tidal flow which will be still going East. Once out into the open waters of Pevensey Bay, I set course for a point off Dungeness, checking the chart for any dangers en route. and there is only one yellow buoy off St Leonards which we will pass close by, so we will have to keep a lookout as we approach.

Several yachts left Eastbourne at the same time as us, four of which are going east. I guess we all have the same idea. One of the other yachts 40 plus ft  heads further out and is soon well ahead. We are on a broad reach and making good progress but the wind speed is variable so I will keep a watch on the time, as I don't want to miss the tide change at Dungeness. The NE going flood starts at HW Dover -1hr which makes it 11:51, so we need to make nearly 6kn over the ground, which means staying in the faster tidal flow, or trying to. Its just two days before springs which helps.

08:35 and the yellow buoy is off the port beam, and I check our progress over the ground, which is just about fast enough. Ron has put the kettle on, and we have a mug of tea with a bacon sandwich, which goes down very well. The wind is still fickle so the sails need a lot of trimming. Ron doesn't agree with keeping on trimming the sails, he thinks it's a waste of time and doesn't make much difference. Ron's philosophy is if you want to go faster, use the donk, which is all very well but if you have tried the engine on when sailing is reasonable there is little difference in speed gained, well not on this boat there isn't. and anyway the wind is free and quieter too, although I am sure the government would tax it if they could figure a way of how to.

09:17 and we are off Hastings, 1066 and all that. I spent a holiday with my parents three brothers and baby sister in a four berth caravan in Hastings. I was about five and with my two older brothers used to go down to the caves in the cliffs and crawl through the smallest of tunnels further into the caves. I shudder to think now, what could have happened to us!! They have now been turned into a tourist attraction http://www.visit1066country.com/hastings/attractions/default.aspx We also used to go by the fish stall next to the Victorian net shops close to The Stade (shingle beach)  http://www.hastingsfish.co.uk/index.htm where the owner had a variety of specimens preserved in glass jars, including an Octopus, and a flat fish, I can't remember what type, showing the underside, with lipstick on, and with a cigarette in it's mouth Ugh!

With about 14 miles to Dungeness, we are still on track to make it past the headland at Dungeness before the tide turns, so concentrate on trimming to gain another six hours of fair tidal stream. Missing the tide around Dungeness would mean stopping off at Rye or anchoring close in, and avoiding Lydd firing range. Course 074 deg Wind NNE F4 speed over the ground 5/6kn so it may be a bit tight. As we close the wind drops slowing progress, so I have to agree with Ron and use the engine just to get past

Its 1612, and we have managed to pass the east entrance 0f Dover harbour with only once having to do one 360 to keep clear of a ferry entering, and we head on around South Foreland and pass the Deal Bank, Downs & South Break port buoys to port, and join the entrance to Ramsgate between the No 4 & No 2 port buoys. With the engine on we motored into Ramsgate and found a spare pontoon berth, and secured Anita 'A' before going to the office to book in. There were a couple youths manning the desk who said we were OK to stay where we were moored, and to pay the next day. We said that we were leaving early, so should pay now, but they said they didn't take payments, so we left it at that, and returned to the boat.

I telephoned someone who had emailed me and asked if we could meet if I visited Ramsgate, he said he would be right down as he didn't live too far away and duly arrived on the pontoon within half an hour. After the introductions it was up to the club bar for a drink, and to discuss our voyage so far, and to hear his plans to organise a sail around the UK in a Corribee for the Sea Cadets. The plan was to use volunteer skippers, and Sea Cadets from various units around the country, which is no mean task ,and I wish him luck. After a very pleasant evening he kindly drove us to a late night mini-market for provisions, before returning us to the marina.