23 rd to 25 th of July 2007 - Dutch Cruise
|Andy, Pam, Brian, Paul, Hugo, Luis
|Ramsgate, Dunkirk and Middleburg.
23 rd July 2006 Shotley – Ramsgate
An early start before dawn heading for Oostende, planning to get in in the early afternoon. As we were on our way to the Sunk light ship we picked up the 0710 forecast, which was talking about strong winds and the possibility of a NE gale later. That’s not the sort of weather to be making an entrance to Oostende so we decided to divert down the Black Deep to Ramsgate.
On passage to Ramsgate the forecast was upgraded to gale 8 perhaps severe gale 9 later, which at least made us feel that diverting was the right option.
As usual when the forecast is bad Ramsgate was busy and we ended up in the east marina next to the fishing boats. On a rainy walk around town some of the crew ended up in a “Belgian” bar, so at least we found the sort of beer we were planning for.
24 th July Ramsgate – Dunkirk
The morning forecast gave a weather window for today so we decided to get over to the continent then keep an eye on the forecasts for a window to get home. Slipped just before 0900 and headed out past the East Goodwin lightship and over the TSS then north east up the French coast. We’d been considering various destinations, including Niewport and Oostende, but by the time we got to Dunkirk it was clear that carrying on would give us a late arrival so we headed in.
From the sea Dunkirk is an unappealing frontage of heavy industry but the old town is actually quite pleasant, though we were caught out in the marina not being able to find any jettons for the showers.
25 th July Dunkirk – Middleburg
An early call for some of the crew around 5:30 in the morning to let the German boat that we were rafted on leave, then back to bed for a more civilised start, slipping at 0830. A wind from the south west and a following tide gave us good speed up the coast, running with a preventer on the main and polled out genoa for most of the day.
We put the Belgian courtesy flag up as we crossed the border in the morning, and took it down again as we entered Dutch waters in the afternoon, making Vlissingen harbour by 1800.
Locking into the canals went smoothly and we decided to press on to Middleburg. All the way to the town the bridges opened as we approached, but the final bridge in Middleburg itself was on a half hourly schedule so we had to hang around waiting for that before making a very busy town harbour around 2030 and rafting up on a boat that turned out to be from Titchmarsh then heading off to the friendly yacht club for some beer and Dutch gin and a nice warm shower.
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