Passage 54, Ramsgate to Burnham
My last passage and there wasn't any wind. I left before dawn as I needed to be at Ray sands by 12:30, no later. This is because I was taking a short cut into the River Crouch from the Thames estuary by crossing the "sands" that are well above water for most of the time. Only at high tide precisely can you cross them.
So I motored off in the darkness and saw the red sun rise over partly cloudy skies which was nice. After 3 hours of motoring I'd made enough time to afford to idle for a bit under sail. So off went the motor and I managed 7 miles in an hour and a half. Half due to tide and half due to an imperceptible amount of wind. But it was not enough and so I motored across the estuary when the coast was clear (no ships coming up or down) and gingerly started over the now flooded sands. It quickly went down to 3 meters depth. I had my keel wound up so I could afford to go to only 1 meter depth (usually I draw 2 meters). As it turned out I only got to 1.7m depth, so plenty of room. By this time the rain had set in, which made the approach rather dreary.
To get in you have to pass through a bridge which an operator lifts to make room for your mast. This was duly done at 1pm and, together with one other boat that was doing the same thing, I past under and into the river system. I was now in very familiar waters.
Once in the river Roach, I raised my sails for the last time as there was a little more wind and sailed the rest of the way home in the drizzle.
My family had come down to greet me together with Mary and co. who has followed me throughout and offered much appreciated encouragement. They even had a little shot of something strong and sweet which I managed to swallow eventually. Very kind. So I was home. It felt good and I was ready to call it a day. All good. Of course, I also felt a great sense of achievement and I write about all that elsewhere on my site. Not going to get all excited here. It's done. High Five.
Mostly motoring for a 10 hour passage of 41 miles in very light winds. Drizzled for some of the way, but the thought of reaching the finish line was enough to satisfy me.