Oh dear! Not a great start……leaving our berth at Brighton we clipped the stern of Coval, an 80 year old racing yacht on the pontoon next to us snapping her rudder stock. The yacht is a live-aboard that is undergoing a step by step renovation after many years of neglect. We moored up on an nearby berth…..but not nearby in lightening does strike twice and exchanged details. The owners tell me they are going to crowd fund the project to complete the restoration. It is easy to forget the amount of momentum at 8000kgs that Grace can carry, even when she is barely moving!
Getting underway, uneventfully again we were joined for the trip by one of my brothers in law, John. We departed Brighton at 1030 with our log reading 3824 nm and 689 engine hours. The tide was falling but the marina has been recently dredged so we had no concerns about when we needed to leave.
HT 0714 0658
LT 1331 1353
HT 1950 1940
At 1045 we were changed course on to 180′ for 1.5 to 2 nm. At 1055 we set both full mainsail and genoa in a nice F4 westerly, changing onto 110′ for 15 nm towards Beachy Head.
John at the helm with Brighton in the Background.
Our new MOB station with an inflatable danbuoy – just chuck it in at the casualty and it inflates to 2m with a flashing light. Then stop and deploy the floating rescue line returning in a loop back round towards the danbuoy.
Seven Sisters looking from Birling Gap
The lighthouse at Beachy Head in line with the Belle Tolle lighthouse
Throughout the morning the wind build to a F6 SW with a deep swell. We first took in the genoa, then reefed the mainsail to about 50%. Grace coped with the waves easily.
A deep following swell with waves up to 2m.
Clearing Beachy Head we changed course onto 023′ towards Sovereign Marina. Despite being heavily reefed we benefitted from a favourable tidal stream and our SOG was 6kts!
Sailing past Eastbourne, the golden dome on the ‘end of the pier’ building made a great seamark. Sovereign Marina is about two miles beyond Eastbourne Pier. The approach was easy to identify by the Martello tower. Martello towers can be found all across the former British Empire, from Canada to the West Indies. They were a standard design for a fortified gun platform. The ones at Eastbourne were build in the early 1800’s.
The Easterly Martello tower at Eastbourne
At the red and while striped Safe Water mark we contacted the marina on CH 17 and were advised that due to dredging all the buoyage had been removed. We should approach on the leading light on 258T, then follow the channel round and enter the lock. In the outer harbour there was a large Dutch dredger which we successfully avoided.
The locks are very large and took 6 boats. We rafter up against another Bavaria 32…..which was smaller than our 32!
John brought along a small GPS tracker and we could follow our actual route…..it was surprisingly close to our planned route.