Grit with her new offshore sun hat
Grit with her new offshore sun hat

21st July 2013

Log 8,915 nm

Well I’m homeless at the moment having sold my flat but not having yet moved into the new house in Rotherhithe. I have been commuting for a week from London to Brighton and staying on the Good Ship Sumara. Remind me not to commute in future! I wasn’t going to get a holiday this year with the pressure of work, house move, and broken arm all working against it, but it seemed a good opportunity to sneak off for a week across to France to avoid the dreaded train to London.

I haven’t been to Fecamp for many years and have fond memories of it. Grit and I decided to make that our first port of call. One of my less fond memories of Fecamp was waking at 3am in pouring rain and strong wind and getting myself and crew all donned up with oilies. We cast off and headed towards the lock only to watch the lock keeper turn off the lights and wander off down the stairs. We circled the inner harbour, tied up and went back to bed. Never got the hang of French time.

It has been a heat wave but the day we set off to cross the Channel the forecast was for ENE F5-7 plus fog, so not exactly ideal. My grib files were more promising so we looked on the bright side and set of at 3am. Well it would have been 3am if Grit hadn’t thought we were working to BST instead of my insistence of sticking to GMT. So at 2 am GMT we hoisted sails and shot off at 6 kn through a calm sea which was soon to roughen up as we left the shore behind. As we approached the shipping lanes the fog inconveniently came down but with broadcasting AIS onboard it is less of a worry and we pushed on. We called up a couple of ships that came close and had polite and reassuring chats that we would pass 3 cables ahead (gulp!).The wind didn’t ease up as I had expected and once we cleared the lanes the idea of getting to Fecamp need reappraising. We were sailing so fast that we would arrive at low water and the wind was onshore F4-5 maybe a bit more. Not good for entry. We decided to divert to Dieppe while I still had a good cut on the wind. We sheeted in and enjoyed a close hauled bash to Dieppe harbour. The wind did die but the entry to the harbour was surprisingly rough and with the French fisherman gesticulating to get clear of their lines, it made an interesting entrance. We were allocated a berth and had a much needed shower and rest.

Journey time 16.5 hr.

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