5th of May 2006 - Oostende and back
|Crew :||Andy, Helen, Anita, Gerry, Sarah and Steph|
|Destinations :||Shotley - Oostende - Shotley.|
|Distance :||150 miles|
After several weeks of planning, navigation courtesy of Helen and a very complicated victualing courtesy of Anita, we finally all met at Shotley for the round trip to Oostende in Ocean Mist. It was Steph and Sarah's first stay on Ocean Mist. We had an early start, locking out at 0205, aiming to get us to the TSS just after dawn. Sadly we had to motor sail for the whole crossing as the wind was extremely light and on our bow. Steph took the helm for the first time and soon got the hang of it. At one point just before the TSS we had a brave attempt at getting the genoa up and put the engine in neutral, we ground to a gradual halt. Needless to say skipper Andy woke and we were back to cruising revs.
At around midday there was a yell as a group of dolphins were spotted. They spent a good 10 minutes playing in our bow wave, more or less the time it took for Steph to get all her clobber on and come on deck. This was the best sighting of dolphins I'd had and I never thought it would be in the North Sea.
We arrived in Oostende and got a berth at The Royal North Sea Yacht Club which was very friendly.
We had a day in Belgium. Anita and Gerry discovered the rail netwaork was highly efficient and spent the best part of the day in Bruge. Helen, Sarah, Steph and Andy went in search of Chocolate and were successful. Steph continued the shopping spree before returning to the boat with the suggestion of a swim in the sea. There were no takers and in the end Steph was satisfied with a paddle.
We left Oostende at 1705. Gerry and Anita navigating this time. After our first way-point we changed direction in order to take advantage of the wind. We had an hour or two sailing close-hauled at about 5knots. This also took us in a slightly different direction than that planned. Eventually we had to head back into wind and motor sailed. This was my first overnight passage. We had two shifts of three. Sailing past a deep water anchorage was quite eerie, especially as it wasn't marked on our paper chart. Fortunately it did come up on the chart-plotter as we got closer to it.
After a couple of shift changes we were eventually all up for porridge in the rain. The rain continued until we reached Shotley at 1040. Steph and Sarah both returned to London, Sarah on her way eventually to Bahrain. Anita and Gerry went back to Cambridge. Next stop for Helen, Andy and Ocean Mist will be The Isles of Scilly!
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