Sunday 2nd July. Eastbourne to Dover at about 48 miles was always going to be our longest trip, there really is nothing in between and nowhere to go for a yacht that cannot take the ground and if we could not get into Dover then we would have to go on Ramsgate or Calais!
Our passage plan was to leave Eastbourne and at the safe water mark head towards Hastings on a bearing of 090 for 10m. At 050 47′.2N and 000 35′.8E
The second leg was to Dungeness nuclear power station on a bearing of 064 for 16 miles. The wind which had been blowing from the south east died completely and we had to motor sail. You can see the low blocks of the miles and make a surprisingly interesting land mark as there are two lighthouses on the point. Also Dungeness was the point in sailing ship days where you could pick up a channel pilot to take you into the Thames.
The last leg to Dover was on a bearing of 046 for 18 miles. About 5 miles in the wind picked and we were able to stop the motor and sail. By 1600 the tidal steam had changed in our favour and we we able to average an SOG (speed over the ground) for 4.7 knots from a boat speed of only 3.5 knots. A very satisfactory result!
There was quite a bit of sailing traffic on the way to Dover but all going the other way. A two masted schooner in the shipping lane and a nice looking yacht.
At two miles out from Dover we contacted Port Control for instructions about entry, Dover is supposed to be the UK’s busiest port and with all the ferries flying in and out it was easy to see why! We monitored the harbour vhf on ch 74 which was quite entertaining- especially with the controllers growing frustration with the yacht Noreen! In fact he sent out a patrol boat to find it and tell them off!
It was with some trepidation that I radioed them up but was pleased to be thanked for doing the right thing and told to call them up again when I was a cables distance from the the western entrance. This seems to be the one to use for cruise ships and yachts. The eastern entrance is for ferries and lost yachts called Noreen!
We got thrown about a bit going through the western entrance but had been instructed by the Marina to go straight to the Granville dock and on to berth E35, which we accomplished with remarkable style and ease! Mooring up perfectly without crunching the pontoon or the neighbouring yacht! We were safely in at 1900 after a great 11 hour sail.