Tuesday 3rd September – Dover to Newhaven
The day dawns bright and sunny. We are up and off by 0830, obtaining Port Control’s permission to leave as we depart from Granville Dock. Two more cruise ships have appeared overnight and are moored up at the Western Docks. Dover must get a large share of the cruise ship business, presumably as an embarkation port for their customers.
There is very little wind so we turn west and motor sail along the coast, passing the white Shakespeare Cliffs and then Folkestone. There is a large area of grassed over spoil in front of Shakespeare Cliff, which we think is from when the channel tunnel was dug. We can’t see the Chunnel from the sea as it comes out of the ground inland at Cheriton behind the chalk cliffs.
Folkestone passes by. Once this was a ferry port, being the port used for trains such as the Golden Arrow. Now it is no longer used, its harbour being a drying one, it holds little interest for passing yachtsmen.
We pass on along the coast past Hythe and Camber Sands. Janet and John both remember coming to Camber Sands as children as it is one of the few good sandy beaches along this stretch of coast –we think that the next stretch of decent sand is at Chichester and that all the other beaches are largely shingle and pebbles with the odd patch of sand at low tide. We both remember the excruciating pain on young feet of walking over pebbly beaches to swim!
Dungeness looms in the distance with its lighthouse and nuclear power stations. However, before we get there the sea mist rolls in so we pass this headland shrouded in a white cocoon, using our electronic navigation aids. Later, the mist clears a bit so we can see Hastings, St. Leonards–on-Sea and Bexhill.
Hastings is one of the original Cinque Ports. It still has a small fleet of fishing boats that are launched and recovered over the shingle beach. The old town is at the east end where there are huts selling cockles and whelks. Bexhill is probably best known for the De la Warr Pavilion which is held as one of the finest modernist buildings around. Constructed in 1935, it was restored in 2005 and is now a leading contemporary arts centre.
We decide to push on to Newhaven as the marina at Eastbourne holds no great attraction.
As we near Beachy Head the sea mist rolls in again, depriving us of a view of the magnificent cliffs of Beachy Head and the Seven Sisters. We pass them by and find our way into the entrance of Newhaven harbour, which looms out of the mist after what seems to be a very long time. We radio to permission to enter harbour (there is a big ferry that operates out of this little river) and chug into harbour.
The marina is opposite the ferry terminal and also a coaster loading up with scrap metal – not the best of sights! The marina manager helpfully comes to take our lines.
Within ten minutes the fog clears so we can see Newhaven. It has been a rather long and frustrating day. We relax with a good supper of bean chilli and a glass of red wine.
Later in the evening the French ferry comes in. it only just seems to fit up the River Ouse and dwarfs us and the rest of the boats. It stays two hours, and then backs out to sea, making quite a noise. Relative peace and quiet descends, although the scrap metal ship continues to load. We won’t be staying long at Newhaven!
Day’s run: 56.2 nm
Total miles to date: 2394.5 nm
Engine hours: 10.4 hours
Total engine hours: 294.2 hours
Hours sailed: 10.4 Hours
Total hours sailed; 524.6 hours
Wednesday 4th September – Newhaven to Brighton
We awake after a rather noisy night as the scrap metal was loaded all night! The Dieppe ferry comes in again whilst we have breakfast. After breakfast, Janet decides to explore the headland above us and discovers an old fort and look out station. John does the routine engine checks and Yvonne sorts out the boat.
We leave at 1030 on the west going tide. It is a lovely morning, albeit a little misty. In the distance we can see Beachy Head and take a distant photo of what we missed yesterday.
There is a little wind so we hoist the spinnaker and make our way slowly to Brighton Marina. It is only 6 miles away so we arrive mid-morning. We have noticed a small tear in the spinnaker at a former patch so we discover the local sail maker who collects the sail from us and promises to have it done by morning. Formalities done, we decide to go into Brighton after lunch.
Brighton Marina is the largest marina in Europe and has been created from scratch since the 1970’s. It fulfils a significant need for an all weather harbour along this stretch of coast and has been developed into a major centre to the east of Brighton. It is well served by the corporation buses and we soon reach the centre of Brighton.
We are spoilt for choice so we wander past the Royal Pavilion and into the Lanes. These are busy as the sun is shining brightly and the café society is in full swing. After browsing a couple of shops, we decide an ice cream is called for and find some splendid locally made ones which we eat on the beach. Things never really change – there are all sorts of people sitting on the pebbly beach enjoying the summer weather, some are swimming but most just sunbathe.
Ice creams enjoyed we wander back into town. Brighton seems to have a “buzz” like London. We decide to visit the Royal Pavilion. At £8.50 a go (with concession) we wonder if it will be worthwhile but in the event it definitely proves to be so. The Pavilion was the fantasy building of the Prince Regent and has been wonderfully restored to most of its former glory by the Brighton Corporation and the Trust who run it. It really should be a “must” for any visitor to Brighton.
Photos are not allowed in the Pavilion but you can see some of the official images at this link: Brighton Royal Pavilion Pictures
We return to Sundart rather weary. The Belgian dive boat next to us blots out the evening sun so we enjoy veggie lasagna and a glass of wine down below.
Day’s run: 6.3 nm
Total miles to date: 2400.8 nm
Engine hours: 0.7 hours
Total engine: 294.9 hours
Hours sailed: 2.5 Hours
Total hours sailed: 527.1 hours
Thursday 5th September – Brighton to Chichester Harbour
We awake to a sunny but windless morning. Breakfast done and the spinnaker recovered (the charge seemed very reasonable by Nicky’s Sail makers), we set off for Chichester Harbour. We motor out and set the main sail and “George” as we chug westwards along the coast. Worthing, Shoreham and Littlehampton pass by. John checks his phone and to his surprise gets a message from David Allison, our former neighbour at Blanchcroft in Melbourne. David and his family moved away to a village in Northamptonshire some years ago but always hankered after living near to Chichester Harbour. David and Lisa now own a boat at Chichester. David invites us a supper at the Ship Inn at Itchenor which we happily accept. It will be good to see him and catch up with the Allison family.
Once past Littlehampton, the wind starts to set in from south-west so we can sail – peace at last! We venture near Bognor Regis to take a photo to send to our friends Maggie and Phil Dobby (Maggie’s mother lives nearby and they have a flat there). We then beat out to get past Selsey Bill.
The wind continues to build and we set the first reef – how the weather can change in a short time in our maritime environment! There is an inshore passage past Selsey Bill which is helpfully marked by two buoys through the Owers which we take. Soon we are fetching down the coast past East Wittering to the entrance to Chichester harbour.
ChichesterHarbour is a huge area of salt marshes and rivers and is an Area of Natural Beauty. The entry is via a long channel through the sand banks that are constantly shifting. We have checked our tidal heights and confirmed that we can get in at low tide but even so there is very little water under the keel as we cross the Chichester Bar.
Once in we turn east and sail up the Chichester River through a fleet of Sunbeam racing boats. Sails dropped, we find a mooring immediately opposite the village of Itchenor and spy David waving to us from the quay. We need no second bidding: the dinghy is soon inflated and sails stowed and we row ashore for what promises to be a pleasant evening in good company.
Day’s run: 41.6 nm
Total miles to date: 2442.4 nm
Engine hours: 3.1 hours
Total engine hours: 298.0 hours
Hours sailed: 9.0 Hours
Total hours sailed; 536.1 hours
A following wind and fair weather to you all.
Yvonne and John