May 21st Royal Ramsgate Marina to Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club

It was fun to have a day in Ramsgate which is a very attractive harbour and you get the sense that the place is on the up.

There was nobody able to help us with the plotter software and autopilot compass problem. Then I remembered that when I had my first boat, a Princess 45 in 1989, we put our freestanding 12 volt television on the bed in the guest cabin in expectation of bumpy weather. As I engaged the auto pilot the boat immediately veered off course and decided to head up the beach. I immediately turned it off and took control of the helm. I headed back to Brighton where we used to keep that boat. We got the boat electronics people in and it transpired that we had plonked the TV directly above the autopilot compass, fixed under the guest bed, causing it to veer.

Was this our problem. We searched unsuccessfully for the autopilot compass. I phoned the people who sold me the boat to see if they could help, they would get back to me……

The forecast was better and from the very high inner harbour wall we could see a completely different (smooth to slight) sea state was evident. We left our berth immediately.

Outside the harbour I advanced the revs to 3500 and we cruised vey comfortably at 20 knots.

We eventually lost sight of land and became irritated by the plotter (boat shown going sideways) and where it thought north was east. Even though the pilot held the course the plotter would decide to create a destination ‘mark’ and the ‘stop panning’ button would appear. I learnt subsequently that this is called ‘ghost panning’ and is probably as a result of the operating software needing updating to facilitate the huge number of chart files and operational capabilities that needed managing. 

We did have accurate GPS latitude/longitude and were able to note our position on the paper charts thus maintaining a safe course avoiding the very shallow water and around the numerous and vast wind farms. 

We had about an hours run time to Lowestoft when the weather suddenly picked up, then picked up a bit more. This resulted in us reducing to displacement speed for the final 10 miles or so. A long hour passed by when at last we reached Lowestoft, called Channel14 for permission to enter (granted) and Channel 80 for a berth at the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, Britain’s most easterly. 

Arriving at Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club
The Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club itself

The marina manager was there to greet us and we were glad to have arrived. We hosed down the boat and tidied up all of the paperwork. I phone the boat dealer again who said that the electronics guy, who did his work, would talk me through the set up wizard. He didn’t phone but texted me the numbers and names of support staff at Garmin who would help me. I phone them and they are helpful in so far as they confirmed that the software need updating and you couldn’t fix the problem against the pontoon.They had two dealers in Lowestoft , who by now were closed. I’ll ring them first thing.  

Prior to setting off on this trip my personal plumber ( Urologist) had noted we were visiting Lowestoft where his son Geoff lived, he would love to see the boat and introduce us to his favourite Chinese restaurant. 

We phoned Geoff who lived very near by. He came to look over the boat and have a beer. One problem though the Chinese was closed on Tuesdays. No problem, we went to The Jolly Sailors instead and had an epic meal .

A great evening with Geoff (an optometrist) and confirmation that ‘all’s well that end’s well’.