And in the middle of the harbour the bunkership was refuelling a little coaster, if you look closely then.
We were allocated a berth in the Cove alongside another boat and made fast, opposite the harbour master's office.
A day in the holiday port of Weymouth was plenty for me so it was of to the next island and the pretty harbour of Yarmouth.
The Needles came.
And as we were approaching the Hurst Narrows this wee gem turns up. A proper steam ship the SS Sheildhall.
I reckon local knowledge would have made for an easier passage as other yachts seemed to avoid all the popply bits where we were getting thrown about, proper like. At last we passed the fort and it calmed down a bit.
We rushed down the coast at an astonishing rate and followed the ferry into Yarmouth. We were met by the boatman who showed us to our berth. Sweet operation and made our life simple in this busy little harbour.
Later that day a small French fast yacht came alongside and it was like the tortoise and the hare. We had a very bon soir, merci.
The next morning had us off and away passing the Spinnaker. It was calm enough for the telephoto to get us a bit closer.
The next stop was just inside Chichester harbour. A pleasant, if busy, anchorage and the sun played out all day.
Giving us a big firery ball of a sunset.
It would have been nice to explore but time was getting on. Another year maybe. Next stop along the coast was Newhaven. We did better than expexted with the tide and were able to make the breakwater at the turn.
What I had forgotton about Newhaven was the scrap metal wharf opposite the marina pontoons. They were loading scrap all night with a 360 grab. The rust dust coating not only the boat but our throats too.
And then of course there are the Dieppe ferries that seem to run far more frequently than I remember. The noise of the screws and thrusters heard through the hull of Tutak was extraordinary and kept the Steward up all night, allegedly.
We didn't dally in Newhaven and set forth for the infamouse Beachy Head shrouded in a bit of mist.
Onwards past the Royal Sovereign tower, misted up too.
And into the River Rother and Rye Harbour where one does a handbrake turn to stem the fierce tide, ferryglide accross the stream and tie up at 3/4 throttle against the harbour master's staging. Formalities done, one breaks away downstream at a rate of knots heading for the pretty town of Rye a mile or so upstream.
and Samantha were there to meet us.
It does dry out here but the bottom is soft mud, unless that is, the runoff doth meander under ones craft!
The river is trained from Rye harbour outbound and some of the walls are not visible so care is needed.
The firing ranges were not in opperation that day so we could cut the corner to Dungerness a little passing the the recent tragedies off Camber Sands.
The old ......
and new ......
Lights on the Ness.
We had a force five/six up the transom all day and covered the 46 miles in eight hours, an average of a little over six knots. A fine days sailing was had whilst larger fin keel yachts were broaching, we held our course surfing down the waves.
We turned into Ramsgate and went ashore for the bands on the Harbour Stage before the fireworks at Ten. It was the bank holiday weekend apparently. The inscriprion on the light tower is recreated in art on the opposite harbour wall.
Translating to "Refuge for those in need".
The old harbour building was pressed into service for a seventies disco venue for the night and Northern Soul rent the sky.
Enough was enough and one can only take so much northern soul (ecccy thump like). From Ramsgate we rounded the North Foreland.
And took the inshore route past Margate where we had a look. We got withing a few metres of the harbour wall before we ran out of water and shook hands with the folk paddling on the beach. We continued on, using the Copperas Channel which has changed a bit over the years. The sun set as we neared the East Swale.
There we anchored for the night before taking the tide into Faversham. We tied up alongside the Albion Inn but were asked to move as dredging operations were about to start on the ebb. We crossed to the otherside of the creek for the Town Quay to take the mud behind the tug "Joker" and the adjacent dredger.
To our horror we found we were adjacent to this.
And because of this we decided to move at midnight and avoid the swinging charges. We could find no facilites on the Town Quay.
We ended up alongside a rather nice wall with a ladder and bollards to tie to. We settled in the mud well and finished the night. The morning found us tollerably well concidering we had spent the afternoon shift at the Brent Ale House drinking Whitstable Bay Oyster Stout. Guinness it is not but we did enjoy it!
Just above us a couple hailed to ask if we needed water or electricity. Their apparment was a few feet away and they used to own a Fisher 34. A session or two later and we had had our fill of Shepherd Neame Town and its liquid wares so we took the ebb down the tortuous channel back to the Swale. From there we headed out past Shell Ness and bore left at the Columbine and took a shortcut over the Four Fathom Channel to cross the "precautionary area" into the Swin. The sands around the Whitaker have migrated to the north and west and it is a long way round to get into the Crouch. But make it we did and then took the long trek up river to reach the Fambridge Yacht Station to await the arrival of the rest of the Fishers. And they came in droves, whatever that means. Quintade, Gold Dust, Sam Steel, North Star, Panpipe, Sea Otter of Mersea, Mister Cat and last and least, good old Tutak II. With a few more arriving by road, including Compass Rose and Merrilands. My mast steps so carefully made before departure were eventually fitted and completed here, so I was able to ascend and snap the fleet. Sadly Sea Otter of Mersea was out of shot but I'm sure Rosamund and Ian won't hold it agaist me. She did steal my chips after all.
And what did we see tied up there, a Branson Katherine Class 55 aft cabin. Sister ship to my home which rather made me homesick.
From Fambridge it was a tide out to anchor in the Roach. Then across the Rays'n and into the Blackwater for home. Just under three months/1900 nautical miles and a good time round Britain, OK via the Calley, but I have done the top already. About 22 miles a day on average, so not an arduous trip by any means but the highlight had to be Rathlin Island off the island of Ireland with its wonderful Guinness. Did I mention the dolphins in the Bristol Channel, t'riffic.
Oh, and this funny cloud.....
Now is it Margaret Thatcher or a Poodle?