Our voyage from Boulogne via the English Channel to Ramsgate on a calm and pleasant day and then to moor in the inner harbour for a few days until the weather improved. I checked the weather forecasts, which had remained the same, and then started preparing Lady Martina when I caught the eye of the boat skipper next to me who had hoped to leave much earlier and was now faced with very little wind to propel his sailing boat. I felt that it was a good day to go cruising but he said that it might be for me (my motor boat) but he thought that his wind instruments had failed until he realised that there was no wind!
I managed to get us and the boat prepared to leave at 7.30am local time and we carried the tide all the way up the French coast, across the English Channel and up the English coast, past Dover and up to Ramsgate. Although I saved a little time by not crossing the sea traffic lanes strictly at right-angles, we had avoided large ships by dodging them and then the ferries which were crossing to and fro across the Channel. One interesting distraction was the crossing of at least four cross-channel swimmers accompanied by their escort vessels which passed by. Although their presence was broadcast on the Dover Coastguard VHF channel, one Dutch-flagged Broom 50/53 motorboat was obviously not aware as they sped close by one swimmer, swamping them and prompting a Ch 16 complaint by their escort! The breeze had started off at just a very few, 2 or 3, knots and then rose gradually to around 11 to 14 knots and then back to just a few as we rounded Dover; rising to 11 again as we approached Ramsgate. The direction of the wind reached just about all points of the compass and I was wondering how our companions in the sailing vessel had fared today on their quest to get to Ramsgate with such poor assistance, but we never saw them.
Upon arrival we waited aboard and then used the Ramsgate harbour fuel pontoon to take on board a total of 641 litres or red diesel costing £573.71, which we thought was very good value. I checked out the possibilities of getting more shelter and managed to arrange for us to pass through the bridge and barrier later to moor within the inner marina for a few days but this involved waiting until closer to high water, later in the afternoon. This was not a straightforward arrangement as I first spoke to Ramsgate Marina to get permission to moor there during the day, then I tried to find the key lady, ‘Julie’ in the Harbour Office who allocate the berths, and went back again when she was back from her lunch. Once that was agreed, I had to secure the cooperation of the ‘Dock-Master’ who summoned me to see him much later and then showed me how to enter the marina and where I would be mooring. Lastly, I checked with the bridge-keeper to get an estimate of when there would be enough water to open the barrier.
Later on, we got the clearance to move and made our way into the inner marina and to a quiet and protected mooring and could settle down to a beer and then a meal at the end of a successful day. My detailed study of the meteorology confirmed that we would be in Ramsgate for a few days and so the trouble was thought well worth while.
Temp 14>28 deg C, RH 87>47%RH, Pressure 1014-1015 mb steady, good viz, sm/slight/ seas with swell and breeze Sly>Ely going NWly and SWly 0 to 14 knots