Red Panda - The last post
Greetings to any readers still following our news aboard “Red Panda”. Actually it’s more hello and goodbye as we our on the move! We had six surprisingly enjoyable months in our winter berth in Lymington marina whilst RP was on the market. We were lucky with the mild winter this year and our boat was always cosy. Of course there was the odd morning when we woke to ice on the inside of our cabin hatches, and clothes, shoes and other things at the back of cupboards inevitably got a bit mouldy. The pontoon was quite slippery sometimes too, but Lymington is a great little town to spend some time in and David was so happy to have the New Forest close by once again for his favourite runs. In February we thought we had a buyer, but after messing us about for several weeks he pulled out. Meanwhile we had cleared out the boat and decamped to a holiday let in nearby Milford on Sea for 5 weeks. It was wonderful to have a washing machine for those weeks but otherwise we missed our floating home!
Time was slipping away so David then made enquiries to see if anyone would be interested in a part exchange deal for RP and we were offered one with a Dutch boat, a Contest 48CS. We drove out to view her and liked what we saw enough to go ahead. She wouldn’t have been our first choice, although she was on our list of larger, more comfortable yachts for ocean passages and it was either her or wait around for maybe another year. So we moved back onto RP and in mid April sailed her across to this little spot on the south west coast of The Netherlands. It is a sleepy little harbour in Zeeland called Sint Annaland and we took 5 days over the passage. We motored most of the way in minimal winds and had overnight stops in Brighton, Dover, Dunkirk in France and Vlissingen (“Flushing” to the Brits) just beyond the Belgian border. Our last day, the shortest in distance (30 miles), was also the most challenging as we entered the Dutch waterway system and found ourselves motoring into strong headwinds. This made it tricky to negotiate the 3 locks and 4 opening bridges en route in the restricted water room and, after all that, we had some unexpectedly rough water on the last stretch. Extra stress was caused by low fuel supplies as we were trying to run them low because of different European laws on diesel (Britain allows red diesel for cruisers which is illegal on the continent). As a result, skipper was pretty tired by the time we arrived late on Sunday April 15th.
We are writing this whilst looking out onto a very typical Dutch landscape of engineered waterways, dykes and polders (the reclaimed fields) and waiting for the sale process to be completed. Dutch thoroughness is in a different league and both boats have been surveyed to within an inch of their lives. Final money issues are being thrashed out and with luck the Contest will be ours by Friday. At the moment David is happier with the purchase than Lindsay who finds it all rather big in scale for her at the moment and, for a larger boat, not that hot on kitchen storage. No doubt she will make the adjustment and maybe even come to love her like she did “Red Panda”!
We have decided to name our new home “Goldcrest” (for several reasons, including a close encounter with one the day before we first viewed her and the gold stripe along the top of the dark blue hull). Our blog address will be WWW.INWOODS.ORG
The plan now is to head back to the UK as soon as possible after completion and take her round to a suitable yard in the Solent to have the inevitable work done on her before she is ocean ready. Then we plan a month in London in St Katherine’s Dock in early summer before setting sail for the next stage of our adventure in late July/August.