So we’re back. Back on board and back ready to tackle the last leg (Leg 5) round onto the South Coast and the Channel Islands.
Allan has gone AWOL, at least until Ramsgate and we’ll pick him up there. We have a new crew member, Vera Tschoep, who has flown in from Germany and joins us to ‘prep’ for the Yatchmaster’s exam, along with Neil and I, over the next few weeks. And we have, of course, that RNLI legend, from Salcombe, Symon Cater – a.k.a. ‘Tank’ , ‘coz he’s built like one – as our mentor and guide for the next 2 weeks or so.
The journey to Ramsgate began at 2pm on Sunday when we made our way out of St Katharine’s Dock and into the River Thames (a very busy Thames by the way) and headed east and out of the river and out of the estuary. I am still amazed at how built up the eastern side of London is, certainly along the river’s edge and up the creeks, comprising mostly, it seems, of genteel waterside apartments in areas where, only a few years ago, even policemen went around in threes.
The tide, having turned early, and fast, seemed to be squirting us out of the river as fast as it seemed able. (It did cross my mind that it – the river – maybe expunging us as if we were some form of toxic waste to be projectile vomited out into the wastes of north Kent. Dark thoughts? No, just practicing my imaginative prose for my forthcoming novella, that’s all. )
Be that as it may, we made very good progress sailing into the night and south, around Margate and down into its sister port, Ramsgate, arriving around 1.0am. Berthed on the outside of the Western breakwater, and pinched onto the pontoon by the wind, we have spent a night and most of the day listening to the creaks of the fenders as they battle the wooden edges of said pontoon.
Ramsgate is, well, Ramsgate. A fishing port and a seaside holiday home for Londoners, and others in the South East, that is now benefiting from the heavy investment in green technology in the form of the massive wind-farms being erected offshore. They all need servicing and maintaining, after planting, to ensure that they produce the finest green energy. That emerging industry is providing year-round employment in an otherwise seasonal town. Blow wind, blow.
The afternoon has been spent in some revision of ColRegs and Secondary Port calculations.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, we head for Eastbourne and then on to Chichester. Later in the week we will attempt to get down to the Channel Islands and , possibly, a port or two on the French coast.
On the back of a lovely card from Edd was a quote of GBS as follows:
we don’t stop playing because we grow old..
we grow old because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
I’m off to play..
June 17th Day 73