A New Approach and a Foggy Start


One thing we have learned over the years is that having to be somewhere specific by a certain time can generate an enormous amount of pressure on us as the weather gods may have completely different ideas. Why then did we plan to meet Bryony , Simon and Jo and their partners in Stockholm on very specific dates so that they could book flights.
Well partly it is because we are not getting any younger and its time to grab time ( and adventures ) with our friends whilst we can, and partly a gamble that if we give ourselves a month to get there it should be achievable without too much stress. Time will tell if that assessment is ambitious or not. Its certainly a very different approach to last year when we set off with absolutely no plan at all!

When the time came for departure we had a 36 hour window before the winds turned north easterly so the spinnaker went up outside the Hamble river and off we pootled. By Selsey the wind was up to 20 knots and we were roaring along in the right direction. A good start, but would it last?

The wind disappeared with the sun leaving only a gentle breeze from dead astern. Trickling along at 3 knots in the starlight was delightful but it wasn’t going to get us far before that dreaded easterly arrived, so the engine went on and would run for 18 hours .

Warm winds in May tend to be full of moisture , and with clear skies, cold seas and cooler nights, fog is a near certainty. It came in with a vengeance in the Dover straits but with AIS and radar the crossing was straightforward. We had decided to get as much easting as possible before the wind came ahead, then theoretically we could make our way north off a weather shore ( likely to be less foggy than a direct crossing of the North sea) so we headed along the Belgian coast. Daylight and bright sun not only improved the visibility , it delivered us a gentle sea breeze so that we carried the spinnaker all the way to Oostende. The tide was now foul , the wind due to go ahead and freshen and it was likely to be foggy again at night so we headed gratefully though the Harbour entrance and tumbled into bed.

Blimey Oostende was crowded! It appeared our visit coincided with a major maritime festival and a day spent amongst some seriously interesting ships and a very fine Yorkshire shanty quartet was no hardship at all. It fellt as if we had made a very good start.

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