Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

16 th to 17 th of June 2014 - Over the Channel

Crew : Helen and Andy
Destinations : Boulogne.
Distance : 33 miles

Monday 16 th June

Another early start, 0530, as usual this was determined by the tide times. Our plan was to head for Boulogne so we picked a start time that gave us a SW going tide that would give us some miles towards our destinations as we crossed the TSS and a fair tide along the coast once we were on the French side.

The wind strength was quite variable but on our beam, so we were able to sail at between 4 and 6 knots, while keeping an eye on the traffic. With our heading at 90 degrees to the TSS the strong cross tide gave us a ground track that was almost directly to our destination. I think this caught the attention of Gris Nez traffic as once we were on the French side we got a message on our AIS telling us to call them (because we have an AIS transponder of course they could see who we were as well as our course and speed).

The man from the French coast guard wanted to know why our ground track was pointing to Boulogne while we were still in the TSS. I explained that our heading was a right angles to the scheme but we had a strong cross tide, which he seemed to accept, then he told us that there was a lot of traffic coming (which we knew because we could see it on our AIS). I asked him what he wanted us to do but he didn't offer any suggestions so we kept our heading and got across without incident. In fact we'd not needed to take any collision avoidance actions on this crossing.

As we cleared the TSS we passed a fishing gear float that we throwing up a substantial bow wave, confirming how strong the tidal stream was.

With a following tide we made good time along the coast and were alongside in Boulogne marina by mid-day.

Tuesday 17 th June

A day ashore exploring the town.

As we walked around the old town walls we were able to watch the French tradition of farmers protesting by blocking the streets with their tractors.

In the afternoon we noticed that Brindabella , a boat we know from the Orwell, had arrived so we popped over to say hello.

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