On board overnight for early-ish neap tide. Wind WSW 4; forecast said decreasing but it went the other way. Started too late to go all the way to Eastbourne so settled for Brighton. Brighton is apparently in need of a dredge: reported depths 0.5m.
WSW 3-4 for a short trip to Sovereign (Eastbourne). Nowhere convenient to get to beyond that so just a re-positioning for the next leg.
Wind variable, mostly W & light so motored all the way to Dover in an apparent head-wind. Seems there was some problem with the ferries: probably Calais & illegal immigrants/french strike. The road into Dover (from M20) is dual carriage-way, 2 lanes each way. In the slow lane there was a long line of parked lorries; in the overtaking lane, cars were crawling past. However, some lorry drivers obviously thought that they were to posh to queue and just carried on with the cars. They got to the last roundabout and were stopped 1-by-1 by the police: told to go round the roundabout and go back where they came from and join the queue properly. ‘Back’ in this case is half-way to Folkestone. When multiple rogue lorries arrived, they were sent round the roundabout 1-at-a-time which caused even more delay for the cars. Later the queue was moved forward into Dover promenade, still stationary but at least a bit nearer the docks.
The good news was that Port Control was having an easy day and was in an unusual mood: happy, chatting & calling captains by their 1st names. Even yachts were getting in-bound clearance direct from a mile off and “Out-bound eastwards, sir?” “Please do use the eastern entrance.” I don’t suppose I shall see it again but it’s nice to know that it can happen.
Variable 3-4, sails up but motor-sailed all the way to Dunkerque: the motor-cone disassembled & disappeared into the briny. I should have left a little earlier and had to push a bit to get in. The Grand Large marina has had a make-over ashore and now has a proper capitainery building with its own sanitary block (no longer sharing with the sail school). And the fuel berth has been moved down from the top of the wall onto the main pontoon.
The town itself has not had any make-over & is still devoid of food shops but the previously desolate area between the G.L. marina & the town now boasts some ‘distinguished’ architecture. (I think that’s code for expensive.)
SE 3-4 giving a nice sail along to Zeebrugge. I haven’t been in there in a long time, so thought it might be worth a check. The marina has multiplied & become 3, The new BZYC marina seems to have boats in it but I didn’t see much else. The russian submarine is still there, rusting quietly with obvious holes in its outer hull. The tiny town-centre improves on Dunkerque by having 2 (count them) mini-marts: Spar & Carrefour.
Wind initially SW 3-4 so I planned to try a new stop at Terneuzen but had an electrical failure so had to stop at the penguins nest (Breskens) for repairs. Just after I decided to shorten the trip, Ostend coastguard came on the air urgently advising small craft: yachts & fishing boats to get into harbour as there was a sudden strong wind warning. It wasn’t that bad: heavy rain, thunder & lightning and a squall for about 1/2 hour but I got hit just as I arrived in the yacht harbour and was trying to tie-up. Got all the repairs and other stuff completed quite easily when the sun re-appeared.