The wind was planned to come from the north and heading to Calais from Dunkirk that was a good thing so we cut the moorings right before breakfast. Initially we had to motor but an hour or so later we started to feel the wind so we set sail with one reef in our main just to be sure in case if the dark clouds that was closing in brought the promised 25-30 knots of wind. They did…
Log date: 29 aug. 2020
Route: Dunkirk – Calais
Time: 08:00 – 13:29 ( 5h 29min )
Distance: 25,5 nm
Average speed: 4,6 knots (Max 11,8 knots)
Wind: 30-35 knots
Weather: [X] Rain, [ ] Fog, [ ] Sunshine, [X] Cloudy
Since we always monitor the VHF to get the latest weather reports in the area we are sailing we picked up the notice about the “Strong breeze” that was about to pick up “quickly” we were well prepared when the weather changed. With our main- and head-sail reefed the boat picked up speed pretty quick and we soon did above amazing 7 knots with about 15-20° heeling with Mia at the helm.
But the weather had other plans and the wind slowly increased and so did the waves and we had to reef our headsail again, it now felt that we were sailing with a large handkerchief. When Mia handed over the helm to me the wind was on a reach and the waves was sometimes more on top of the boat than next to it, the sailing was great and at one point we did almost 12 knots surfing down one of the bigger waves but the waves kept building.
Our initial plan was to head down to Boulonge-sur Mer depending on the weather but when we closed up on Calais we were happy to call it a day.
Especially since the waves had built up to about 4 meters at the time of our approach of Calais at that time it was “kind of wet” in the cockpit as well since some of the more “playful” waves decided to visit us in there as well.
– Calais port control, Calais port control, Calais port control this is S/V Trull, Trull, Trull calling on channel 17
– S/V Trull this is Calais port control
– We are approaching the harbour and we got one ferry inbound and one outbound freight vessel, how would you like us to proceed?
– S/V Trull, please pass aft of the freight vessel and hold, there is another ferry that is about to leave the harbour.
“More silence and more 4 meter waves”……
– Calais port control this is S/V Trull, it’s not possible for us to wait…
– S/V Trull, please stand by.
“More wait and some radio chatter between the ferry and port control about an inbound sailboat”
– S/V Trull, please cross the fairway and enter the harbour, call us again when you reach the breakers.
“A few minutes later”
– S/V Trull this is Calais port control, can you please increase the speed..
“Seriously? We are doing almost 7 knots against the wave breakers and they ask us to increase the speed, haven’t they checked our AIS and seen the size of our boat..”
– Calais port control, we’ll do our best…A part of the VHF conversation when we approached Calais
To reach the inner marina there’s a small bridge that have to be opened and according to the time table we were 20 minutes late so we started to prepare ourselves to spend the next 9 hours on a buoy just next to the bridge when Calais port control called us that the bridge was open and that we could enter the marina right away. That totally made our day, cudos to the guys!
After the mooring was complete we had a walk and found a really nice place called Le Chill in the center of Calais that had great food, in our case fondue, and of course great dirt cheap wine.
The plate of cheese for “dessert” for sure made Mia happy!
Myself? I’m just happy with a glass of red…
When mooring in this place of the world it’s kind of important to know what and how you are doing things so that you don’t end up like this with a boat like ours, that would be a bummer to end the day…