Ramsgate to Dover

We had planned to catch the tide the next day for the long run down past Dungeness Point to Eastbourne, a distance of about 70 NM, leaving around 0800. However, once again, the fog intervened, and at the planned time of departure we found ourselves hardly able to see the boat next to us. We had a leisurely breakfast wondering whether it would lift, and sure enough around midday it did. It was too late to reach Eastbourne in reasonable time by this stage, so we decided to go for Dover, and do Eastbourne the next day, so that at least we would shorten the leg by about 20 NM.

Off we went, and we managed to catch the southward tidal flow so that we were helped on our way by a 2 knot current. Unfortunately, we found that we still couldn’t unfurl the genoa, so clearly something was stuck at the top. We would have to have it looked at when we arrived in Dover. We tried sailing with the mainsail only, and made reasonably progress, particularly with the following wind and favourable tide, before eventually switching to the engine.

Sailing from Ramsgate to Dover.

Before long we were passing the White Cliffs of Dover, and called Dover Port Control on the VHF to tell them of our impending arrival. We were instructed to wait in a holding area just outside the eastern entrance to the harbour until there was a gap in the many ferries arriving and leaving. Eventually it was our turn, and we were given a route to follow through the ferry area until the Prince of Wales dock, then into the Granville Marina which, although we didn’t know at the time, was to be our home for the next few days.

Passing the White Cliffs of Dover.

After completing the formalities, we found the local rigger, and told him of our problem with the foresail. A hour later, he was at the top of the mast to investigate. The news wasn’t good – the swivel had seized – they only have a life of ten years, and ours was already eleven years old, so it perhaps wasn’t surprising, particularly as the boat hadn’t been used very much in the last few years. The part would have to be ordered, and he would then have to fit it. It could be three or four days before we could get going again. Disappointing as it was, there wasn’t much we could do but plan what we wanted to see in Dover.

Checking the foresail furler.

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