26. Ramsgate to Dover, 23rd June
Shipping forecast: Dover: SW 5 to 7; squally showers; mainly good
This, the final and shortest leg of the voyage, proved also to be probably the roughest.
By and large we’d chosen our weather to avoid heavy going, particularly to windward (neither of us young as we used to be!). We were however getting fed up with Ramsgate and, though there was yet another day of southwesterly five to seven in prospect, conditions seemed a touch better. The “occasionally gale eight” of previous days had been lifted, and, as it is a short and not difficult passage, though of course dead to windward once round South Foreland, we decided to push on despite the forecast.
The forecast was about right though. We departed at 11.05 to take the south going tide and as the day progressed there were some heavy squalls. A chap who came in after us, trying to get down Channel for the Round the Island race, reckoned he had 39 knots of wind at one point though we recorded not more than 33. The weather going tide kicks up a steep sea off Dover however so it was rough going once round the Foreland and heading into the full weight of the Channel sea and swell. We were pleased to get in and moor up in a completely sheltered berth close under the wall on the west side of the Granville Dock at 14.20 after the rolling and grinding in Ramsgate and the rough ride down from there.
The only problem we’ve got now is what are we going to do next!
The sky darkens under an approaching squall as we shape our final course for Dover western entrance, left of picture.
Here’s a final tip: if you are making for Dover always use the western entrance, even if approaching from the east. The eastern entrance serves the Ferry port and is in constant use by large vessels. The western entrance has little commercial traffic and you will usually get straight in without waiting, a welcome result when the weather is like this.