Posted by: Ray | May 30, 2008

Eastbourne to Ramsgate

 Christine-Marie in the Tate & Crew boatyard

Work on Christine-Marie was completed during the two weeks at Eastbourne and proved to be worthwhile as a fuel pump that was replaced last year gave problems after the engine service and a new one was fitted. Otherwise the engine was given a good inspection report.

Whilst the yacht was in the boatyard, when aboard I was locked in from 8.30pm to 7am, so trips to the pub or local restaurants were out! πŸ™‚  But I did manage to complete many jobs on the yacht.  Whilst at Eastbourne the RNLI completed a ‘Sea safety Check’ on board.  Local lifeboat crew Paul and Gary from the RNLI spent a couple of hours with me and the session was really useful.  We discussed many safety issues and also my cruise round the UK as Paul had completed the passage a few years ago.  Christine-Marie passed the check for ‘offshore’ sailing and the RNLI guys were positive about the safety equipment on board.

                                           On way to relaunch, Eastbourne

Work completed, Christine-Marie was back in the water the Wednesday before the Bank holiday. Brian, Liz and myself were on board Friday evening ready to sail on the Saturday, but the weather had different ideas, with Force 7/8 winds from the NE forecast during Saturday we delayed sailing and enjoyed Eastbourne. The wind eased overnight and the forecast for Sunday gave us a window before winds were forecast to increase to gale force in the evening. We cleared the Sovereign Marina lock early Sunday morning and set course for Dover, a 9 hour passage.  As it turned out the weather was glorious, sunny with slight seas. A few hours into our passage the winds eased and we had to use the engine and motorsail to ensure our arrival before the weather deteriorated.


Bexhill-on-sea                                                                                 Passing Dungerness Nuclear Power Station

Using engine and wind we made good progress despite the very light winds and decided to sail on past Dover to Ramsgate whilst the weather held. The forecast was for winds to increase to gale force during the night. Ramsgate, a further 15M, meant we should arrive by 1900 before dusk. I informed Dover Harbour Control of our intentions by radio and permission to cross 1M South of the port was given. I also informed the Dover coastguard of our extended passage plan as they were tracking our progress under the CG66 safety scheme. Brian and Liz did a great job on watch whilst I completed navigation from Dover to Ramsgate inside the Goodwin Sands via the Gull Stream channel; this required some careful preparation.


Passing Dover Harbour                                                                     White Cliffs of Dover

As we approached the Goodwin channel bouys the wind started to freshen, so we cut the engine and sailed. Before long we were sailing close-hauled (as close to the wind as possible) on a starboard tack with the wind F4/5.  We reduced headsail and Brian took the helm whilst I made regular plots on the chart to ensure we cleared the shallows of Brake Sands on our port side.  As we arrived off Ramsgate several other yachts were converging on the port to shelter. By 1930 we were safely moored up, the 60M passage had taken us 11 hours. 

The discussion around the marina was about the forecast gale.  Jacqui, who is also sailing round the UK and who we met at Eastbourne, had decided to delay her passage across the Thames due to the forecast. She had left Eastbourne on the Wednenesday evening, stopping at Dover on route to Ramsgate. The storm hit later during the evening and the yachts were tossing about even inside the marina. Everyone knows how bad the weather was over the bank holiday; our planned crossing of the Thames estuary had to be delayed until a later date.


Ferry entering Ramsgate during storm Monday                                            Ramsgate Marina Tuesday

Brian’s car had been left at Eastbourne, so we travelled by taxi, then train. Lunch by the waterside at Eastbourne before driving home. A relaxing journey, so far my experience of public transport has been good with trains on time. I have also used the buses around Eastbourne!!  πŸ™‚ 

I hope to cross the Thames and sail up the East Coast to Lowestoft during early June depending on crew availability. A total passage of 80M with some challenging rivers to navigate; I should get to try out my new tender engine when moored.  πŸ™‚  I have ordered the East Coast Pilot for local knowledge of the area.

Miles completed:   170                Total Hours:   35                 Engine hours: 8              Ave speed:  5Kn                 M ax speed: 12Kn

Ports visited:    7  


       Rethink                   Marie Curie                        RNLI
Please visit my Round UK Cruise fund-raising page. Click on the link above to go straight to one of my pages. From this page you can access others by clicking on the tag ‘Christine Marie’ at the bottom of each page.



%d bloggers like this: