The fundraiser for Chiddingly Church was a great success, the 80’s music was just as annoying as I remembered it and the fancy dress was unusually well supported by the party goers. My wife (Kate Bush), myself ( Cher/Brian May), Nigel (a pirate?) and his wife Nettie (Bananrama) celebrated in a way that perhaps the £10 poms did the night before their epic voyage to Australia in the 1950’s. Tomorrow we were to leave for Ramsgate.
Those who wished to send us off from Sovereign Harbour were asked to attend by 14.00hrs for the ‘bon voyage’ at 15.00hrs. A suitable number of bemused friends turned up to enjoy a glass or two of Black Dog Hill 2013 Classic Cuvee, a wonderful award winning English sparkling wine we’re invested in.
We entered the lock at 15.00hrs to depart on time to the cheery goodbyes of friends and family. Exited the harbour entrance and set course for Dungeness , still 90° out as I had had no time to fix the plotter and auto pilot compass problem, indeed it was impossible to raise any help at all over the weekend. I still had a compass and a chart however and the visibility was excellent, in slightly choppier seas, and what was anyway a line of sight navigational exercise mostly headland to headland until the sharp turn to port, having passed Dover Harbour, on the final leg to Ramsgate itself, avoiding the famous Goodwin sands to starboard.
Having read the Reeds entry for Ramsgate we were able to call Channel 14 for permission to enter (granted) and then Channel 80 (yes 80 this time) to be allocated a berth. We had our choice of 20 pontoon fingers on Pontoon F.
The boat was hosed down, and tidied up for our first visitor, Nigel’s sister Janie who had driven from her home 30 minutes or so from Ramsgate. She cast her approving eye over Start Me Up and then complained that we hadn’t populated our blog yet? After (another) celebratory drink we then walked her back to her car (at least a mile away) for her return home and then went into town to have a delightful meal at a restaurant that I can’t remember the name of.
The weather for the next day was looking a bit dubious, but we were still hopeful of an earlyish departure.
We had cruised 60 miles to Ramsgate in 3 hours 30 minutes , from lock to pontoon finger.