Summer Cruise: Day 2 (motoring - boring)
24 August 2014 | Ostend, North Sea
DEPARTURE of ship: GUAPA
Time: 2014-08-24 06:11 (UTC)
Another early departure. Forecast said we were going to have SW 4-5. Decided to err on the side of caution and leave the reef in the main. I could always shake it out later. Swift departure from Ramsgate - so much easier now that there's no longer a ferry service running. Hoisted the main in the harbour and ventured out.
Once outside we encountered maybe 10kts of wind from the NW. Oh, well... let's at least unfurl the genoa. Progress was good, but nothing to write home about. Decided to wait till the TSS before making a decision on the mainsail. Things did indeed change by the TSS: the wind dropped altogether. Nothing, nada, ... adrift with rags up. Furled the genoa and started the engine, you don't want to be drifting in the TSS for long. Uneventful TSS crossing (the way I like them) and once we made a beeline for Ostend the tide turned our way as well. Eight knots over the ground - Dunkerque came and went and we were in Belgian water before long.
Between Nieuwpoort and Ostend the sea got very crowded very quickly: all the weekend sailors out in force for the last hurray of the year (some people enjoy drifting with sails up; it's their idea of sailing). It seemed that knowledge of the rules of the road was entirely optional. Still, two can play at this game. When in doubt, biggest boat has right of way. And we were the biggest thing afloat for miles around. Let's just say it was 'entertaining'.
Off Ostend I got all the lines ready to pick up a buoy at the RNSYC. Preparation is half the battle and at the RNSYC it certainly pays to be prepared. You don't want to make a mass off your boat parking there as there's always an audience. But we're old hands at this and suffice it to say that everything went very smoothly. All done and dusted in less than five minutes. High five. Today's crossing one word summary: boring.
Sought out the Harbour Master to obtain access codes for the showers and the entry gates. Much to my surprise I was not met by the expected booming voice of Robert - sarcasm at the ready. It seems Robert, whom we have known for over 13 years, has left the club. His replacement seemed a lot more timid, but friendly none the less. Well, nothing lasts forever.
Decided to stay in Ostend till at least Wednesday. Even though today's forecast had been spectacularly wrong, all sources agreed that Monday and Tuesday were going to be 'not nice'. Ostend is as good a port as any to wait out a bit of rough weather. Perhaps even better than most.
Dinner aboard (fish pie procured at the Ramsgate Waitrose) and a leisurely stroll around town. I am a man of simple pleasures.
ARRIVAL of ship: GUAPA
Time: 2014-08-24 15:08 (UTC)