July 12 – Dover to Eastbourne

By | July 12, 2012

We made it to Eastbourne somewhat battered after a 10 hour motor-sail beat against wind and tide and are 50 NM nearer to Dartmouth. Arrived at 17:00 after leving Dover at 07:00.

Thursday morning started fine, sunny and with a light SW wind. Our weather window was open, just was we had hoped. Permission to leave Dover marina was obtained at 07:00 but no sooner were we outside the marina when were asked to hold position in the outer harbour for 30 mins whilst an enormous cruise liner docked. Valuable time lost as the tide was a critical part of the success of this passage.

Outside the main harbour the swell off the entrance was fierce but fell away as we got further off. The tide was 2.5 KT against us but would weaken its grip nearer the shore. It did, and we made a series of motor-sail tacks into tide towards Folkestone.

Dungeness point, with its power stations, was visible 15 miles away which was were the tide was due to turn in our favour. After that it would be a further 20 miles to Eastbourne. All into wind and swell!

Dungeness Point - with the false Beachy Head in the distance

Dungeness Point - with the false Beachy Head in the distance

Reaching Dungeness the wind swung round to head us again, and increased in strength. This was concerning as the bad weather should not be arriving until later that evening. As we rounded Dungeness, a big headland appeared which we optimistically thought was Beachy Head, and Eastbourne. It wasn't – Eastbourne was 15 NM beyond it. Cruel when the sea and wind are building.

There is a firing range off Beachy Head and we decided to transit across the outer range, even though the red flags were flying. The weather was such that if we were to tack off out to sea, we would waste time and tide, and the weather was worsening. There is no law saying you must keep out of a range but it is good practice to do so. In this case we risked worsening our situation and were prepared to be chased out!

The wind piped up and we reefed down and increased engine revs to punch through the waves. As we passed Hastings and Bexhill, we saw all of the the local fishing boats up on the beach. Sensible people these fishermen, not being out in this weather!

Eastbourne loomed up in the murk and the heavens opened. It was time to prepare to lock into the Sovereign Marina. It's a huge, brand new, development which is surrounded by high rise flats and designer shops and caf├ęs. We are here until Saturday at least, when we plan to break out for Brighton.

The delights of Eastbourne from the sea

The delights of Eastbourne from the sea

There is a new crew member, John, joining us in Brighton so a change in conversation (some new jokes) as well some additional help on the last few longer passages to Dartmouth.

Todays Passage stats

  • Dover to Eastbourne: 60NM with tide (lots of tacking and tide)
  • 10 hours, all motor- sailed
  • Total distance run since start: 1739 NM
  • Distance to do to Dartmouth: 185 NM

See Details of whole journey plus a spreadsheet of the daily passage stats

Dover to Eastbourne



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1 Comment

David Barrett on July 14, 2012 at 6:12 am.

Can I have your stereo? Epic!


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