Dunkerque been my last port before crossing the English channel. We (the other boat form Norderney, which by now had three crew and me with my boat) been uncertain about the weather and how it would be “everyone” says OH! The English Channel its one of the busiest shipping lines of the world (I really wonder how many busiest shipping lines of the world are there). We wondered if this busiest shipping line of the world would be as busy as the Elbe – Weser – Area or Imuiden or Rotterdam or Zeebrugge?
Well I have not been worried about the shipping lines on the sea there is space – just keep your eyes open. But the tidal current around Dover made me worry. It would be difficult to time it. And the weather and daytimes of the tides not really been good for some days. And I did not like to have radio – call the harbour control. My worry turned out to be on the point. Dover has two harbour entrances one easterly (usually for the ferries) and one westerly entrance. I been a little slow and winds been weak. Still I made it well to the eastern entrance. But I had not been given permission to enter, I tried for more than one hour to make it to the western entrance as told but the current picked up and the wind died down. I never made that last mile, being so close. Asking again for the entrance by the eastern entrance with the argument that the current it’s too strong for my engine I got the permission. The current took me after I stopped fighting against it and I had to watch that it would not wash me past the entrance. I been happy to have arrived late at night. And been ready to leave early in the morning. After the short night I had a 16.5 hours trip to Brighton where a massive thunder just before Brighten made me have thoughts about lightning and small boats on the sea. I been really tired and felt as if there is no energy left with all the thunder and rain but when manoeuvring my little boat in to the harbour there been lots of reserve energy and I been happy to land easily next to my friends boat. Just then it started to rain as if the world would drown. But my friends had stayed awake and had some nice midnight dinner for me.
We made it further west the south coast of UK Chichester been nice, finally not in a City, not in a marina, just a pontoon in the green. That’s what I been missing the green, I wanted to have a walk in a forest Dartmouth gave me a great chance for that. And it’s been finally time to give my 14″ Indiana Stand Up Paddel a try. Its been great to sup aorund but when you use it to actually go somewhere – go a shore or your to your friends boat its a fantastic way of going. I am skipping some stories here – having had a friend visit me for week and sailing the Solent area. Where I learned what a bad co-sailor I am not beeing able to say what goes which way. But we had a great time. Having seen a horizon with 1400 Sailboat of the “Round the Isle of Wight Race” been another highlight of the days around there.
Weymouth, Dartmouth, Salcombe been great place I really enjoyed and can advice to viste. Here I slowly realized that I will need to have a another longer stop to fix up my jip, check my keel and rudder before crossing bay of Biscay. I had to say Good By to my friends from Norderney. They headed towords Falmouth, I went for Plymouth where I knew another sailor at the multihull centre who advised me a mariner close by. After having my boat on the dry again I realized that there is more work than expected – the stringer on top the end of the keel had a major crack. And all stringers had wet plywood inside. And I needed a new jib or genoa. It took a bit too long to figure out which sail maker would make me the best sail at good price. While doing it quick. On that “shook” of having so much work ahead I decided to cross bay of Biscay with my friends from Falmouth and come back after for fixing and waiting for the sail. Time pushed me while leaving Falmouth and mobile reception within a time limit and waiting for reply of all sail makers I had decide not well to get a new genoa. So I ended up with maybe the second best and not very cheap genoa (Mmmhm! Impatience is defiantly one of my down sides) with a UV strip sewed on by a friendly but unwell skilled salesman who wanted to keep his promise or only delay it by a day (looks homemade – like the intern did it ; ( .
I enjoyed the crossing of Biscay and the “sailing” (there been no wind) with a crew. Dolphins and whales and a swim in “reallly blue water” in the middle of Biscay made it a great experience. But the three day journey I been surprised about all the traffic!! When crossing from Falmouth to A Coruna one goes near parallel to most big ships crossing their rout in an flat angle. And realizing that my idea of crossing Biscay from Ireland might be less busy.
It took too long to fix up my planed to do’s (a story by itself) and I wanted to meet friends up north to manage their holyday schedule and squeezing in a crossing of the Biscay. So finally I left Plymouth and heading towards Landsend after a night at a ruff anchorage of Penzance I sailed on to Milford Haven. That been a sick 27 hours ride. I don’t know if it’s been due to wrong food I ate or just normal seasickness. Well of the 27 hours I been 24 hours seasick. Throwing up after many uncomfortable hours made it less bad. I been thankful for the steady good wind at night where I could sleep well in my first night 10 or 15min rhythm. I had to force my selfe to get up give it a quick check for other vessels and the course and back to sleep. In the morning I felt kind of well rested which surprised me. Barely having had eaten for 24hours I been happy to see the harbour entrance. But been lazy to VHF call the lock, it still is difficult having the VHF inside and staying on the tiller outside when in narrow places. There been another two vessels in front of me, the lights been green so I went to the lock. And I still don’t get what is so difficult about it – red light = don’t get in to the lock or green light = vessels may enter the look. Well that look keeper seemed to have had a very important …. coming out shouting to me ant pointing to the VHF sign but where had been no additional info, I been allowed to go in to the lock and tied up to a bigger sailing vessel how been very helpful and friendly. Then I been surprised about the way they flooded the lock, just by opening the doors on the high side which created crazy currents within the lock. But I would say another trip which ended with a safe landing. And I made it 24 hours before my friends would arrive.