22nd – 23rd July 2013
Although we arrived by accident, Dieppe takes a bit of beating. It is a thriving town with a typical French high street heaving in shops which seem to make a living by selling such specialities as tinned sardines. It also has an easy to access pebble beach crowded with holiday makers and is surrounded by those cliffs which inspired so many impressionist painters. The harbour was crowded but we still got an alongside berth. A lovely chap called Andrew Ekert – ? from Green Ginger popped over to say hello and we met him again in town and had a beer together while Grit and I were tackling a massive trough of moules. He was one of those very experienced sailors just enjoying a modest cruise to Brittany. Having done the long distance ocean crossings he no longer had any desire for such things and he seemed very relaxed pottering from Le Treport to Dieppe to Fecamp as they slowly wandered down the coast. It was yet another of those coincidences that his second name was Ekert and Grit’s second name is Eckert. A lengthy conversation followed to see if there could be a link.
Sadly after a day pottering around lovely Dieppe we needed to make progress and had to plan our trip to Boulogne 53 nm away. The spring tide would reduce that by 10 nm and the tides run north east for more than six hours but we would need to make 4 kn to complete the trip on one tide. Well that was a shame really as the wind wasn’t quite strong enough to get 4 kn through the water so we motor sailed most of the way.
Mooring was interesting as the marina was pretty full. I called up on the marina channel and was told that someone would indicate to us where we should go. I’m not sure why they didn’t just tell me where to go but they seem very keen on lots of running around and gesticulation. We found a red clad girl waving madly and proceeded up a narrow gap. The berth I thought she was pointing to was another one and I needed to somehow extricate myself. No problem normally, but beware of strong current when they are sluicing! Yes they were sluicing merrily away generating a healthy 2 kn stream! Such is the speed of the stream that they shape their pontoons like wave piercing speed boats. The large classic yacht that I thought had moored gently alongside was actually pinned hard up against the stern gear of about five yachts held there by the current pushing against the long keel. It was very very tricky to get the good ship aligned ready to get into the berth which happened to be about 1 ft too narrow even for skinny Sumara. We did it with a little scratch which rubbed of with a wet finger.
Journey time 10.5 hr