Day 31 of Summer Trip 2014 – Dover to Boulogne

The weather forecast for our crossing was foggy, with poor visibility at first, freshening up later.

Truth be told I can’t stand fog, especially when we’re about to cross the busiest shipping channel in the world. I tried to gleam some information/opinions from the marina staff, but it was pointless.

High water was at 03:08, and from reading up on forums and cross referencing what had been advised, we left 4 hours after high water at 7am.

Ruth double checked my calcs just to be on the safe side 🙂

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Crossing the channel basically consists of crossing a motorway for large ships at a right angle, also known as a Traffic Separation Scheme (TSS). Failure to cross at a right angle would result in a large fine, and probably an entry into the next national yachting magazines for everyone to tut at.

We timed our crossing like everyone else. For a few hours we were pushed north, and then for the remainder we were pushed south down the coast to Boulogne.

Once again a good wind avoided us. The sea was like glass, and the fog appeared to always be ahead of us. We approached the edge of the first lane we needed to cross, and hung around for about 15 minutes and let a group of tankers pass before making a break for it.

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There’s a small section between the two lanes I call no mans land where we could wait for another gap to cross the traffic coming the other way. No waiting was needed, it was time to raise the French courtesy flag and then carry on.

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There was only one tanker coming our way and he had plenty of time to alter his course, so it was pretty stress free. No fuss.

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Ruth was then violently sea sick. Joke. She was just dipping her elbow in the water to see how hot it was, 18 degrees!

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As we left the TSS and headed south the fog appeared to close in. Battles stations were readied, fog horn, log entries, but then the fog subsided and before we knew it we were at the entrance of Boulogne.

For what is now a reoccurring theme, the marina didn’t answer our VHF calls so we took the nearest pontoon. I headed straight for the marina office and paid up and was told someone had already gone down to show us where to move the boat. After returning to the boat, we slipped our lines and I chose another berth as we still hadn’t been directed to anywhere.

After we moored up I noticed it was a berth for boats over 10m (Excalibur is 8.99m), we were in the big boys side of the marina.

We downed a celebratory shot of rum (cheers Guardian peps!), and closed up the boat and went for dinner before anyone could tell us to move.

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The trip took a mere 5 hours for a 30 mile journey. Good times.

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Trip Stats
Miles: 30
Total Miles: 221
Expenses
Lunch £20.00
Marina fees £15.59
Summer trip total expenditure £1585.18
Author: Tim Butler

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