Change of plan - leaving early

Sunday 28th May

Can you have a change of plan if you haven't really got a plan? Interesting question.
But we did think we would stay to the end of the Festival.
Sunday was supposed to be another full day with more live music and more quirky street displays.
There would be hooters and whistles at 6pm to mark the close, and then we had booked a table at a favourite restaurant Den Artiest for Sunday evening, for our first proper meal out since Calais.

We had called in to Den Artiest a couple of days before to make the booking. As we sat supping a quiet beer there the barmaid ribbed us relentlessly about what a hard life it must be participating in a boozy festival in the sunshine instead of working. She reckoned we'd be needing a holiday when we got home, to recover. Then "ping" went Howard's phone: an email from Howard's on/off wind farm employer (it's Howard who is on/off, not the employer, I should say) asking if he could help them through a start-up-of-new-contract-not-quite-got-all-the-skippers-sorted-out-yet situation.
This coming week.
In Finland.

Yes, we know you're on holiday - we wouldn't ask unless we were really stuck.
Yes, Sue can come too.
The accommodation is a really nice spa hotel on the beach.
And the work is not too taxing either.
And the pay's a bit better than usual.
Er, not too sure how long for - we'll try and get you replaced as soon as possible.

Which is how it comes to be that Sunday's log is not a tale of more dockside debauchery but of goodbyes and a voyage. (Not to Finland!)

A fine sight as we set off from Ostend - the festival is still in full swing

Gaffer friends introduced us a few years ago to a little club in a side canal near Middelburg (Netherlands) where we can leave Bonify for a week (or two?) relatively cheaply while we fly north. It's a well kept secret - I can't tell you where it is or I'd have to kill you.

So we sailed up the coast on Sunday with the aim of getting at least as far as Vlissingen (Flushing).
As we motor-sailed up the coast we met Lady Chris coming the other way which was our first clue that the Blankenberg Festival was over and its participants heading homewards.

Paul sailing Lady Chris home to Nieuwpoort (Chris herself must be below making tea)

Chris back on station

We knew we had got our tides right when we saw the number of boats leaving Blankenberg as we passed and turning right.
I only photographed our gaffer chums as plastic white yachts don't have the same charm.

Dutch Colin Archer Cum Annexis (CA) overhauling Dirk in Anemone

Erik sailing Grace - it's a long way for a little boat so he won't be using his bucket brakes today

Leaving Zeebrugge behind - that's Gwylan behind Grace and Anemone. Sorry Flo and Flo - we never seemed to get close enough for a good photo

I've left Morgaine till last as she's not a gaffer - but a fine steel bermudan. Fred's credentials on gaffers are top notch but there's no denying that Morgaine really flies along. We overtook her whilst we were motor-sailing with just the main up but once the wind improved we put headsails up and cut the engine and she soon stormed past again.

Can't believe they haven't heard us coming (though I have used some zoom here). 

Now we've been spotted

I've chosen one with her top missing so we can pretend...

We wondered whether Frits had gone below for his camera at this point and he may well have done as he posted this picture on Facebook later:

Taken by Frits from Morgaine - the motoring cone gives us away even if the lack of headsails and the puffs and splutters of exhaust don't

Thank you to Frits for letting me use that photo - somehow we both managed to avoid the typical problem in such situations where the photos you take feature people on the other boat taking photos of you.


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