|Leaving Eastbourne at 6am|
|A great sail|
Saturday's sail was fast and furious, we generally estimate to make between 3-5 knots, meaning we cover about 3-5 miles in an hour but with strong winds and tides in the right direction for most of the sail this trip saw us making up to 8 knots. This was terrific news as then we could wave at Dover and the white cliffs, not needing to make landfall there and scoot on over to Ramsgate. Perfect, it was looking like we might actually make it to the east coast this week end. John decided as we were doing so well, we could also push the boat out (almost literally in this case) and take a cunning short cut so as to avoid the now turning tide which would slow our last bit of the sail down to possibly only 1 or 2 knots and sail on the inside of the sand banks that are notorious around Ramsgate. My heart began to palpitate as I hate sailing anywhere where it is shallow, but there was a buoyed channel so it meant it was possible.
I cannot convey to you how wrong that was, according to the chart (sea map) we were supposed to have at least 2.3 m of water under us but as we 'bumped' hard twice on the sand beneath us, I can tell you the chart is wrong or the notorious sand banks had shifted, this can actually happen but then the bouyage is usually moved. As we were the only
|Taking the inside channel, Ramsgate in the distance|
This meant we had to back track the last two miles around the sand bank and still had another 3-4 miles to sail after that. Taking the short cut had cost us about an extra two hour sail and against the tide! After twelve and a half hours we made it into Ramsgate, not helped by the harbour master who helpfully added when I called up on VHF that we could moor up in any berth on E or F pontoon if we could see it, meaning it was dark and we were silly to be out there, thanks for that!
|Moored up in Ramgate with a moody night sky|
|Yachting silver ware at Temple Yacht Club|
Bad weather and drama
Paying the friendly harbour master our berthing fees, he told us that the forecast for the next day was for rough winds and that were we going to instead enjoy time ashore and not leave the next day. 'We don't like heros here, ' he said. John mumbled something about the wind again being in the right direction and that our boat had sailed more miles than most in extremely strong winds that he was sure it would be fine. [At this point maybe I should point out that John is very qualified both in academia of sailing and in practice a sailor even winning Yachtsman of the year some years ago, presented by HRH Princess Anne, so he knows what he is about]
|See the rain in the distance?|
THE PHONE CALL!!!
At 9am my daughter rang in tears not able to get out of bed the pain was too excruciating in her back. This is not the type of call you want when at sea with no bolt hole to make landfall at. It was also quite incredible that I had mobile reception at this point. Being out at sea and more than 10 miles from land, it was quite by chance all reception was working. Calling a village friend who was on stand by for the weekend at just after 9am, I sheepishly asked her if she could pop over and see what the situation was like, telling her that I may loose mobile signal and that whatever she needed to do she had my permission!! Tense times on the boat in the high winds I can tell you.
It turns out they needed to call NHS direct, who did not like what they were hearing and sent a paramedic round immediately. I cannot fault the NHS system, all was incredible by all accounts and the paramedic stayed at our house with Ella for over an hour.
To cut a long story short she was put on a meningitis watch as she had all bar two of the symptoms! I just could not wait to get into land and home to my girl.
|At some points you could not distinguish the sky from the sea|
|Suddenly all clear now just need to dodge the wind |
farms that are scattered all overt the Thames estuary
|Muddy east coast water|
My husband has several forecast apps on his iPad and googles the weather constantly from about 10 days before we set sail and then daily until we depart. We joke in our household that he searches until he finds one that he likes. The forecasts really do vary that much!
|A good look out is always needed for other shipping, |
especially in bad weather conditions,
we are so small we might not be seen
Once safely ashore, John googled the Met Office off shore water weather page and found that there were severe wind weather warnings around much of the UK on Sunday. We sailed from area 6 to 5, so all red warnings for us. When asked why he looked now and not before we set sail on our 10 hour sailing journey, he replied that this particular forecast keeps most sailors in dock as they are nearly always scary. John asked if at anytime I felt the boat or the conditions were unsafe and I had to admit that I did not, infact I thought the boat loved the conditions. 'There you are,' he said, 'that's why I don't bother with this forecast...'
Season sailing complete
So our season of sailing has come to an end and Brimble is now safely tucked up on the east coast, waiting for her major refurbishment. She is going to be pampered and looked after and made safe to continue to be sailed hard for the next twenty or so years, she's not bad for an old girl of 44
|Sunset on the east coast|
|Blue skies in October|
|Until next season Brimble|
As to Ella, she has not got the meningitis strain, we don't think, she was not allowed to travel to Italy with her Grandfather yesterday, doctor's orders and in fact Ella admitted that she is so wiped out that it would have been impossible. Since Sunday she has spent most hours asleep in bed and not well. Today we have been told we still need to keep an eye on her and although she seems better, it could spike it's ugly head again. I'm wishing her better all the time.
Joining in with Amy today, sharing my 5 moments from last week end,
do pop over and see what others are sharing.
♥ Wishing Ella better ♥