The wide grey yonder - Wed 1st June
Not a very pleasant trip south today - this is not why we go sailing, although, on the bright side, at the end of it we are pleased to be in a different port.
Early forecast says "North 4 or 5 then 6 or 7 later". So instead of waiting till the afternoon for a favourable tide we decide to get moving and, after locking out and waiting (ages) for clearance to leave the port, we motor out into the swell at the harbour entrance at about 10am.
Only 10kts of wind to start with and visibility not as bad as it was in the dock. One reef in the main and both head sails until the wind picks up. Our speed through the water increases to over 7 kts so we need less sail. Howard clips on, makes his way to the foredeck, furls the jib and then wrestles another reef in. It would be easier if we hove to but we do it without changing course. Sorry - no photos of this action on the lurching deck as I need both hands for the tiller while he does it, and anyway there's too much spray.
It's quite rough all the way but perhaps a bit better once in the shelter of the sandbanks. The wind picks up even more for a bumpy ride into Dunkirk harbour entrance, then by 3pm we are safely tied up in the Grande Large Marina.
30 nm in 5 hours.
“Le Grande Large” is the French equivalent to our expression “the wide blue yonder” but the only blue to be seen here today is on the tightly secured parasols on the terrace of the restaurant.
Hey, the bar's open!