We departed ROYC, Ostende 26th July, bound for Dunkerque. The passage was a disappointing motor sail the whole way. The leak from the calorifier was fixed though as there was no water in the bilge.
Dunkerque is not rated particularly highly in the pilot books, however, we have found the Grand Large Marina to be friendly and well suited for a Tradewind 35 with its easy visitors pontoon.
We found a free mini bus to the supermarket and the town center.
Met a couple and family last night on the boat moored alongside who have just bought a boat and set off today bound for the Caribbean ! The young chap had spirit and enthusiasm that seamed to overcome any nerves of the challenges that they would face.
Our next port of call was to be Calais, however, it is closed to visiting yachts …. best laid plans and all of that. There may be a weather window to cross to Ramsgate on Tuesday.
Sunset below from Ostende ……………….
Just a few memories if the past week or two. Now sat in Dunkirk grand large marina with some internet and a coffee. We have walked miles over holland, Belgium and now France, having an amazing time. Been to lots of lovely places on trains and buses as well.
We spent a lovely day walking around Brussels after getting the train from Oostende. I really enjoyed seeing all the architecture and the chocolate shops.
Now in France we walked into Dunkirk town yesterday visiting all the war memorials and then the beaches. Found s little free bus that takes you right along the beach. Staying here now to wait for the right weather to take us to UK as Calais is closed to visiting crafts. Stocked up on some wine, from local market.
Departed Breskens 05.30 local time on the 19th July, bound for Oostende. we sailed in very light winds using a ghoster sail, only motoring across the entrance to Zeebrugee. Once through the entrance of Oostende we were greeted by a very scantly dressed young lady in a dingy who endeavored to entice us into the marina she was working for – however we were bound for the upper marina the Royal Yacht Club Oostende. Our choice was rewarded with a harbour master who understood the needs of a long keel boat and gave us an easy berth to get into. To the next boat he offered even more of a welcome, and dived in to the water collect the bow line as the bow was drifting off – no where can you get service like that !!! I should perhaps mention it was 32 degrees C.
The club here is friendly and facilities good though there is no washing machine and the internet is down at the moment.
Tomorrow we plan to depart for Dunkerque if the wind becomes a little more favorable.
After a lovely meal sat watching the sun go down with a nice glass of port 🙂
Scheveningen proved an expensive stay as the chart plotter developed a fault, and whilst under the comprehensive worldwide Raymarine warranty – repair against that warranty proved difficult. Enough to say a replacement was the only way forward whilst in Holland.
Before departing Scheveningen we had the challenge of getting out of our berth, the wind was blowing quite hard and we were pressed against the walkway pontoon, and not a full boat length between us and the boat behind, so there there was only one option and that was to exit stern first. Easier said than done with a long keel yacht – so a request was made to the harbour master for a tow with his tender. He was a young lad with only a little English – but very very helpful – I shared my plan of tethering his dinghy to the boat but he was not keen and preferred just a single line …. enough to say the tow up the row of pontoons was more like a fair ground ride – at high speed. Credit to the lad we did not hit anything and found ourselves against a friendly Dutch boat for the night on a suitable berth to leave early on the morning of the 13th , bound for Breskens Marina with a fair wind.
We slipped out at first light and had to motor across the Massgeul, soon after the north westerly wind came as the promised force 3-4 then increased to 5 and then 6 – so we made good progress even when the tide was against us.
Despite the stronger than forecast wind the passage was uneventful – although the arrival at Breskens Marina brought some challenge, we were able to call the harbour master on channel 31 and he cheerfully gave us berthing instructions – but no directions. The request for further detail brought with it radio silence – fortunately a plan of the marina had been downloaded before departure – best efforts were made to attempt to make the berth but the wind was strong and the danger of causing some serious damage was too great, unable to get sufficient space to turn the boat road we had another trip stern first back to the entrance to be met by a friendly harbour master who kindly gave us an easier berth and gave us a warm welcome. When we went to pay this morning it was a different harbour master – suffice to say he was a man of few words and appeared to lack the ability to smile.
Had a very comfortable sail from Ijmuiden to Scheveningem yesterday – we were met by a friendly harbour master who kindly evaluated our length at 9m, we clarified we were nearer 11m – even so he has tucked us in on a small pontoon berth from which I have no idea how we are going to exit!
Yesterday we had a trip out to Zaandam … weather slightly better but still had heavy showers.
Today replaced starter motor as the one replaced last year fails intermittently. Also repaired leak on pipe work to calorifier … time for a beer !!!
The decision was taken to take the bus and train to Amsterdam yesterday… we have obviously led a sheltered life as they have double decker train carriages here in the Netherlands ….
Although the weather was wet and miserable, Amsterdam provided a warm welcome and the beer still tasted good in Dam square …. The crew s’ sense of humor was on top form …
The tables were turned a little this morning as I went to pay for another night two customs officers visited the crew, who was left to share the paper work and explain where the old man was 🙂
The weather remains wet and windy (wrong direction too).