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Magnetic Attraction
Roger and Margaret Pratt
Tue 12 Jul 2011 19:22

Tuesday 12 July 2011 - Magnetic Attraction: A33 Royal Clarence Marina, Gosport


1:07.341 W

Somewhat surpriingly, back on the berth at Gosport, after a 30 hour passage overnight from Breskens.  Total holiday miles, only 517!!  We’ve had the obligatory bottle of fizz (Prosecco, in this case;) and I’ve cooked pork, leek and ginger with rice for supper.  After 6 hours sleep each neither of us will be long before bed.

The plan was to go to Dunkirk on Monday.  I went early to the Plus supermarket In Breskens to get the final Dutch stores: some cheese, bread, cakes for the office etc, and got 250 euros from the hole in the wall – you never know when the next opportunity may arise!  The list for the French supermarket was ready and prepared.  Setting off from Breskens at 10.15 BST on Monday we fought the last of the adverse tide out of the Westerschelde, and carried the ebb down to Dunkirk at about half past five; mainly motorsailing in light airs.  At that point the GRIB files showed that there was merit in carrying on to be back home before the heavier NE winds forecast for overnight Tuesday.  By the time we reached Calais against the tide it was after 10pm.  The engine went off and  crossing the TSS at 90 degrees (well, almost) meant getting back into UK waters just before midnight.  I struggled to sleep in the evening, and got up for the crossing, and then stayed up for the first leg along the Kent cost.  I handed over at 3am to Roger just before Dungeness, and slept to 6am.  At that stage we were off Royal Sovereign, and I sailed on past Beachy Head until 9am, when we swapped over again.  The wind throughout was c20knots from the NE, and so it was a screaming broad reach all the way.  It’s the sort of weather that Magnetic Attraction likes best:  a virtually flat sea from the land, and a sufficient wind to get the heavy hull reaching at hull speed plus surfing.  So we creamed along maintaining an average of 5-8 knots over the ground, depending on whether the tide was fair or foul. 

The third ebb tide ended at Selsey Bill, but the adverse tide didn’t really get going until after we got across Bracklesham Bay and were in the shipping lane into Portsmouth harbour. 

Roger feels the Gods have favoured us with favourable winds on the way out and the way back!  It makes up for other years when the winds have been adverse out, and adverse back. 

The reflections on Holland: better than expected.  Not a conventional holiday, but a good experience.  Lots of excellent cycling and marinas; probably expensive, because only one night at anchor.   The weather was excellent, and better than UK.  The ancient towns – Middleberg, Goes, Brouwerhaven – were delightful.  The infrastructure was good, other than the inability to pay by card: access to fresh food wasn’t a problem, and the prices were correct.  We ate out twice, and ate lobster twice (Adolf and Vladimir.)  Language was not a problem, owing to the generosity of the Dutch education system and people’s willingness to speak in English and share.  My first words of Dutch were Fietspad (bike route )  and kreeft (lobster!)  With effort, written Dutch can be comprehensible, and we were fortunate to have been able to borrow John and Nina’s pack of charts.  I’d go again.