We set off just after 5.00 am – 3 hours before HW – which would ensure that we would have a favourable tide when we arrived at North Foreland. The day was sunny and calm, and the sea pretty smooth. We did put up the sails when we had a bit of breeze early on, but it was mostly just motoring. I had been a bit apprehensive about this trip, but all the possible problems – choppy seas, fog, commercial shipping – were non-existent, and navigation was straightforward. We took the ‘outside route’ around Longsand Head and down past the Thanet array.
We arrived at Ramsgate mid afternoon, and Andy (my brother) was on the harbour wall to welcome us in. Not every day your family arrives by boat! Andy and Eudu came to sit in the cockpit in the sun, and we had a good meal in the bistro at the end of the north wall of the harbour that evening.
With hindsight, I think perhaps we could have left Harwich a bit later and taken the favourable tide earlier on the leg south from Longsand.
Mike, previous owner, and the marine engineer who was coming to look over the engine, both arrived around 9. Mike’s help in getting set up was invaluable, particularly in bending on the sails, and pointing out that the water in the bilges was because his patent drain plug had not been put back in the water system! After lunch in the pub with Mike, I set off to motor down the Orwell to Harwich. First impression – easily driven at 6 knots by the Yanmar diesel, more manoeuvrable than I had expected with her long keel, but even so, the bowthruster is a wonderful thing, especially single-handed. The motor down the river was very pleasant.
It was quite breezy, and when I reached the confluence with the Stour, there was quite a steep chop fetching down the river. I plunged up and down towards the town quay at Harwich and made for the inside of the pontoon. A near perfect approach, but as soon as I jumped off with the lines, the wind took the bow off again, and because I had only taken a line from amidships, I could not hold it in. Luckily, the harbour ferry arrived at that moment, and a couple of guys helped me retrieve Chime – otherwise she would have blown onto a fishing boat on the adjacent pontoon. Lesson – always take the bow rope! I like Harwich old town, which has some interesting buildings and pubs. I met Dan from Harwich International in a taxi, having also gone to Asda to buy some bottled water, as the water pump was not working.
Sitting on the train to London on my way to Ipswich to rendezvous with Chime. First time I will see her in the water! Mike, previous owner, is visiting tomorrow to show me the ropes, and Travis from Diesel Marine will be checking the engine over. Then I will be taking her down the Orwell to Harwich. The plan had been to cross the Thames estuary on Thursday, but a forecast of strong winds has meant we have had to bring it forward a day. Dan (crew), is now meeting me in Harwich.