Lowestoft to Dover

0115 hrs
Awake and the kettle is on for mugs of coffee before heading across the Thames Estuary.

0130 hrs
I called up Lowestoft Control, they were awake and answered in about 10 seconds! Requested permission to put to sea, duly granted as nobody else was a wake. Slipped out lines and departed Lowestoft after a pleasant stay.

We left the pier heads into a two metre swell and the next half an hour was a 'bumpy' ride out to deeper water as there is a sand bank that we should have had enough water to safely pass over, but on several occasions I read depth under the keel as 0.00 metres! Fingers crossed a trough would not dump us on the seabed!

Thankfully, after taking our 'shortcut' we were in the buoyed channel and unfurled the genoa as the wind was still with us. I looked out for the comforting flash of Southwold light and let Morris take the watch 0300 to 0600 watch.

0730 hrs
On a rather grey morning I looked behind us to see a huge container ship about two miles behind us on the port side. I activated the ship on the chart plotter AIS screen to find it was the One Manhattan, a 153453 tonne container ship making her way towards one of the London Ports. As we were in quite a narrow channel and I was the stand on vessel I kept my course and speed. On AIS I could see that she had made a 2° turn to port and quietly passed us before resuming her old course.

The rest of the day was quite uneventful. A few changes of course as we weaved our way across the Thames Estuary. It felt a lot less daunting that the trip north.

Entering Dover was something that I had dreaded, there are significant numbers of ferry movements and other craft that buzz about the port so had studied the pilotage information carefully.

1730 hrs
On arriving 2nm off Dover Harbour I called Port Control as instructed in the pilot books. After a cheery hello I informed them that I'd not been into Dover before. The response from them was fantastic. Clear instructions and a smooth entry into the east entrance, behind one of the cross channel ferries, then follow the breakwater round to the western entrance where I should see another vessel coming in and follow that into the marina.

We called the marina and asked for a berth for the night and were directed to a pontoon through a maze of large concrete basins. After tying up I popped up to the very new and modern marina office. Asked where there was a decent pub for a quick meal and a beer.

Walking back to the boat if became apparent that all modernisation had stopped as European Funding had been withdrawn, the irony of the reality of leaving the European Union.

Finding the boat, Morris and I headed off to the pub and were less than impressed with the beer, the meal and the service, but it refueled us and we had an early night before the next short hop to Brighton.

Crew: Sandy Garrity, Morris Abbot

Trip Stats: Distance: 91 nm, Under way: 16 h 20 m, Avg speed: 6.00 knots, Max speed: 8.00 knots.

Weather: Inshore waters forecast to 12 miles offshore 01:00 (UTC+1) on Thu 2 Sep 2021 to 01:00 (UTC+1) on Fri 3 Sep 2021

Gibraltar Point to North Foreland

24 hour forecast: Northerly or northeasterly 4 or 5, becoming variable 2 to 4 in north. Slight or moderate, becoming slight. Mainly fair. Good.

North Foreland to Selsey Bill - Strong wind warning

24 hour forecast: Easterly or northeasterly 4 to 6. Slight. Mainly fair. Good.

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