Heading North!

By starting after noon I rode what someone described as a tidal escalator from Newhaven to Dover and then Ramsgate. Big spring tides under the boat boosted my speed over the ground (SOG) to as much as 10 knots at one point. I started on a beam reach, went to close hauled but eventually had to motor when the wind came more onto the nose.

It’s not often you can achieve that speed from that amount of wind!

Dover and Ramsgate are busy ports requiring permission to be given, over the VHF radio, to enter and leave. Port control was sharp but also very friendly and helpful to this singlehanded sailor. In Dover I went into Granville Docks Marina which was ok and the staff very helpful although a very smart new marina in Dover’s western docks looks to be virtually completed – they are obviously looking to cater more for leisure sailors – it will be much more comfortable – and probably much more expensive!

In Ramsgate I met up with another Fulmar owner (he’s just recently bought it in Dover) also sailing round Britain but preparing to take a lot more time than me! Fair winds to you Ric, we may meet again along the way!

On Saturday 2nd May, after much careful planning of routes and tides to maximise SOG and minimise distance (and to arrive in Harwich before dark) I crossed the Thames via Foulgars Gat and the Sunk sandbar approaching Harwich via the Medusa channel. I improved on my planned speed taking just 7½ hours from one harbour entrance to the other.

An impressive array!

I do seem to have an intermittent problem with one of my instruments. It seems some data is not being shared across the network. All the feeds are working and the SOG is confirmed by the iPhone: to paraphrase Eric Morecambe – I have all the right data just not necessarily in the right places! I’ll get it checked out somewhere along the way.

On Sunday I sailed and then motored up the Orwell and I’m currently sheltering from the strong winds in the well appointed Ipswich Haven Marina. Another fellow Westerly owner is living on board a very nice Oceanquest here (boat envy I’m afraid!). He sailed around Britain in 2012, clockwise, but in a previous boat. Thanks for your hospitality Ian. I’m right in the centre of Ipswich which gives me the opportunity to catch up with shopping, laundry, cleaning and rest!

Under the Orwell bridge towards Ipswich

When the winds abate, perhaps on Wednesday (?) I shall press on to Lowestoft and then, hopefully, the lovely sounding Wells-next-the-Sea where I look forward to meeting up with my brother Gordon who lives in north Norfolk.

After a short interlude there is then another low pressure system heading towards the UK. More sheltering somewhere?

In case anyone is interested, Thalmia transmits her position using the Automatic Identification System (AIS) as do the big tankers out at sea and passenger vessels (though not many of them are moving about at present). It’s very reassuring to know I can be seen by other boats who use the system – and useful for me to see them and where they are heading and at what speed. That information can also be seen on apps you can see on your computer or smart phone. Try MarineTraffic or VesselFinder and just search for Thalmia. There aren’t any other boats with that name! You’ll know exactly where I am!

Published by Derek

Having started sailing later in life I have migrated from a 14ft dinghy via a Sadler 26 to a 32ft Westerly Fulmar. I sail mostly single handed in the South West from the Solent to the Scillies or across to the Channel Islands and ajacent French coast. In 2020 I planned to sail mostly single handed around Britain. Due to Covid-19 this was unfortunately not possible. I am now hoping to embark on that challenge in April 2021. CV - Covid Volente!

6 thoughts on “Heading North!

  1. Thanks Derek – it’s really interesting tracking your progress round the coast. I’ve just found Thalmia with Vessel finder. Hope the weather warms up a bit for you.

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  2. Wow! You certainly are making good progress, although I don’t really envy you being on your own on a sailing boat if the weather is anything like it’s been here the last couple of days! Dire is all I can say! Happy sailing & even happier relaxing in between.

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    1. Yes – there are challenging bits to this “voyage”! Hoping for some pleasant relaxing sailing sometime soon!

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  3. Well done Derek, sounds like you are doing well. We will stick to sailing in the Exe I think!!

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  4. Brilliant post Derek and scary wind farm photos. I managed to go inshore of them when I crossed the estuary but you went straight through I see! Safe passage. The trick with Wells is to follow the fishermen in!

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    1. Thanks Peter, I’ve already spoke to the Wells harbourmasters office and they have been very helpful with advice on entry times. With 1.2m draft I shouldn’t (?) have any problems!

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