Sunday 24th May Ref: 2015/8
These are the details of our cruise on the 24th May 2015 when we returned from Dunkirk to Ramsgate, after escorting the Dunkirk Little Ships on the 75th Anniversary of their epic efforts. This involved cruising from of the Dunkirk Bassin de la Marine, through Trystram Lock and then out and along the Rade de Dunkerque, then further along the coast via the Chenal Intermediare to the vicinity of Calais and then north-west to find the Ramsgate buoyed channel. We then left Lady Martina within the inner Marina of Ramsgate on Monday 25th for a week so that we could then travel to Wembley to see Norwich City play Middlesbrough in the Championship promotion play-off final and follow that with some well-earned shore leave!
This was a day earlier than many of the vessels plan to return but firstly the forward forecast was slightly better for this day, rather than the day after, and secondly we had those tickets for the Norwich City vs Middlesbrough Play off final at Wembley on the Bank Holiday the 25th May and we had to be there. Again my own route described here was through deep water and good for all conditions, rather than across the Channel sandbanks. The forecast was very calm and that meant that fog patches were a real possibility, but stronger winds dispelled that risk in the end.
It ended up as a passage of around 5 hours 30mins at 8-9 knots through the water for some 48nm. It started when radioed Dunkerque VTS on ch 73 and then took the series of bridges that started opening around 10:45 LT (08:45 UTC) and we then arrived at Trystram lock bridge around 11:00LT (09:00 UTC). We dropped down 4 metres into the outer harbour in an operation that took around 27mins. We then left Dunkirk around 11.45 am LT (9:45am UTC) some 6 hours before HW Dover and arrived in Ramsgate around 16:30 LT (around 1530 UTC), in good time for replenishing fuel and cruising through to the inner marina (where the access lock free flow occurs at HW Ramsgate 16:46 LT, 15:46 UTC (+/- 2hrs) so as to easily access the mooring that has been found for us for the following week.
The cruise all started as planned in ideal conditions but the weather change had come earlier than expected in the afternoon with rain and a SW breeze of up to 17 knots opposing the channel tides to give a rather uncomfortable leg approaching Ramsgate and so we cruised a knot or so faster than planned for this period, increasing our planned fuel consumption from about 90 litres to 105 litres. One benefit of this was that, although RH rose from 20 to 60% RH, and visibility became poor, the fog never materialised.
We then enjoyed our dancing at the 1940's event in Ramsgate Harbour for which we had tickets. The following day we would make our excursion to Wembley by pre-booked train (timed to finish before the planned rail strike(which was fortunately called off!))and then meet up with a family car for the match at Wembley Stadium at 3pm before returning with them to Norfolk to collect our own car (and our dog) the following day! We can then drive down to Ramsgate to re-join our cruise after a week's period of shore leave.
Weather 25degC→20 DegC ; RH 20%→66%; 1019-1016 mb falling slowly; 0.2-1m wave-height smooth/slight/mod seas; mod/v poor. visibility; and light to medium breezes, 7-17 knots wind (mainly W to S/W)
Ramsgate Note: Channel 14 is for entering Ramsgate and getting the bridge lifted for the inner marina. Channel 80 is for berthing and the Dockmaster for fuel operations but mobile 07919 211143 is a more reliable way of contacting the latter