The strong winds came on the 24th, and it felt like we were at sea – cooking tea was a challenge the crew passed on. Although it was not the best nights sleep we woke up the following morning to the tap on the hull from the Harbour Master collecting his dues, his opening remarks were ‘your brave to have slept on board’ . Things got better as he continued with ‘there is no charge for last night as conditions were horrendous’ – a sentiment Ramsgate port authorities should reflect upon. The wind continued to blow for the next few days, albeit from a better direction where the harbour offered more protection, still a dinghy trip ashore was not viable. The water taxi was doing a roaring trade – alas not from us. The wind brought with it the benefit of good power output from the wind generator – and the domestic batteries remained well charged without the engine.
The weather began to settle and boats started to leave – though it was clear the sea state was still angry and we felt privileged not to be on a tight timetable. Dinghy trips ashore were now viable – and gave the opportunity to stock up with fresh food. It was interesting to note the locals timetable their shopping around the arrival of the ship that brings fresh provisions – which arrived the day before yesterday. The crew was happy to see the high street with its offerings – and modest purchases were made.
The Alderney Yacht club has an open door policy which allows for use of the internet, and the bar is open every day between 18.00 and 20.00. In the club they also have copies of practical boat owner magazines, in which there was an article about old pilot books. It was encouraging to note others acknowledge how ‘sailing’ has
changed and there is now the expectation to achieve an average speed of 6 knots which allows passages between ports to be made in a single tide and mostly in daylight. Whilst this strategy affords a very ‘comfortable / easy life’ it also brings with it raised expectations and many anchorages in the new pilot books are dismissed as being ‘uncomfortable’. The 6 knot strategy is not an option for Cariad-Y-Mor as she would struggle to make 4 – 5 knots under engine – she will of course rise to the occasion with a stronger wind, and when the wind is stronger she offers a more comfortable sail than the modern yacht. The point of interest being that old pilot books often have anchorages that maybe of interest to those taking a more traditional route.
The weather is now being watched for a fair wind to take us to Portland, its time to think about making our way back.