We’ve Made the South Coast

Good Morning all,

I must start by apologising for not having posted a blog for some time we have been through some major issues but we have finally come out the other side fighting.

I have made it down onto the south coast now and I am heading for Brighton and wearing shorts for the first time – not toned up in my foul gear and boots.

I left you last time making the passage to Eyemouth which was quite a stretch but was very fortunate to have good weather for the trip there, I arrived an hour after low water so I had some waiting to do outside before I could enter the harbour. I was told that I could moor up outside the entrance but when I arrived there wasn’t much room at all out side as the entrance is surrounded by rocks and I didn’t fancy drifting into them. Well I didn’t have to wait to long and I slipped down the channel and onto the wall to finally get some shuteye.

The issues I started to have began here and they weren’t with the boat but with the charity that I have been doing this voyage for and as I moved south the issue grew and grew but we’ll come to them shortly.

From Eyemouth I made the trip down the coast and pulled into Blythe. This brought me back into England for the first time since Whitehaven and a lot of very challenging sailing.

I decided to go into Blythe as there was a weather system coming in bringing high winds up to and beyond a force 8 and this was forecast for a couple of days so I made the decision to stay put and ride it out which was the right thing to do as it turned very nasty. I must say what a fantastic yacht club they have there and with a very special club house they have being an old ship at the Royal Northumberland Yacht Club and a big thank you to them for having me and some fantastic food.

From Blythe I made the trip down to Whitby, the weather was giving out 3-4 but when I was out there we had 5-6 but this wasn’t to bad as I was running with the wind and this made for a pleasant and fast trip. That was until I started the approach into Whitby and I knew that the entrance was very tight and with the sea running as it was it was going to be a fast entrance. Well I had a yacht in front of me that had come up from the south and they made the entrance only moments before I did and they made their approach and decided to go so slowly into the entrance even in neutral I was catching them up but the issue with that was that I had no steerage so I had to get back on the power and I surfed a wave in and the speedo shot up to 9 knots as I entered fortunately avoiding the other boat but some people do amaze you!

I had a very nice couple of days in the town having lots of visitors popping down to the boat and this is where we finally sorted the issue out. The charity that I was doing the trip for had gone back on what we had agreed and with sponsors and their funds and unfortunately the Chairman of the charity was very unpleasant about myself and what I was doing and why, so there were a lot of e-mails back and forth. The Chairman made the position very clear and he said he would not be supporting or endorsing the voyage so we had no choice and all connections were cut from that point on. As I am sure you can imagine how this has had a huge effect on me but I wasn’t going to let it beat me so with the help of my shore team calls were made to the charity Clic Sargent and we have agreed with them to carry the trip on for them and raise funds for their vital works which I am over the moon about and they have been fantastic.

So with all of this sorted I made plans for the next leg of the trip and I decided to go direct from Whitby to Lowestoft this was 161nm and I thought about 36 hours give or take. I left Whitby at about 11am the next morning with a good force 5 wind coming from the east and this made for some great sailing, the wind was with me until about 3 the following morning and then it dropped right down to a 2-3 so had to motor sail to keep the pace up and I arrived at Lowestoft around 8 that night so all in all it took me 30 hours which I was chuffed with. As I made my way along the coast the wind farms became more prominent and also the gas fields of the East Coast they really are something to see in the dark all light up like Christmas trees, and then the commercial traffic moving through them making their way into port.

I spent the following night in Lowestoft and was visited by brother’s mother in law and her partner which was fantastic as they were the first faces I know that I’d seen in quite some time so we had dinner and then wandered round to the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club, what a fantastic club they have there and a great little bar so it would have been rude of me not to have a cold one. As I was sat there a chap walked in and I thought I know you?? I walked up and apologised for interrupting him but are you Sam? Yes was the reply Sam Sam the micro lite man? That’s me and the penny dropped with him it was of my grandfathers great friends who use to fly with him and I haven’t seen him in must be 10 years and he and his wife were ther in the yacht which was just fantastic and great to catch up with him.

The following day I had a suprise visit from my mum as she was over from Ireland having the car MOTd so she thought I’ll come and see him which was so good as I hadn’t seen her since I departed Cardiff 3 months ago.

The following morning I slipped the moorings and made the passage to Ramsgate which was a great sail down it took around 15 hours but most of it was sailing so I was very happy. The one thing you have to watch for going down there is the wind farms they are enormous and stretch for miles. When I was en route to Ramsgate I knew that I had to make it then as we had very high winds forecast for the next 2 days so it totally wiped the weekend out for me. This time the forecast wasn’t wrong and the wind was colossal there was a solid 8 gusting 9 and looking out to sea you wouldn’t have wanted to be rounding the corner to Dover!

I made the decision to get an early start on Monday morning and head for Brighton. The wind was still at a 5-6 but was due to die down very shortly and then drop to next to nothing – hehe yeah ok! I had great sail down the coast until I reached the corner and turned to head along the south coast and was greeted by a 4m swell with huge winds the deck was awash and so was I soaked within 5 minutes. I made the decision to put into Dover and hide from the weather but it didn’t stop blowing all day and the seas didn’t calm.

I put out of Dover this morning and I’m currently on passage to Brighton where I’ll be for a night and then heading for Gosport to hopefully see Dave and the Boatshed head office.

So until next time happy sailing.

Alex