Thursday 20th August 2015 - Goes
The day was spend with visits to museums, a steam train ride through pear orchards and the Goes Yacht Club. Beer at the club was served from the cellar by lifting the hatch in the floor then putting money into the honesty box. It was a perfect evening to sit in the cockpit with a selection of fish dishes followed by Fish and Chips ending with Strawberry Pie and ice cream purchased from a quayside shop..
19th August 2015 Antwerp to Goes
Leaving Antwerp from the Willemdok we all agreed that a re-visit to this wonderful city was a must. We joined the parade of yachts motoring in an orderly BRITISH fashion into the Lock ready for our passage to Goes.
Motor sailing towards Goes was very pleasant and we entered the Kanaal door Zuid Beverland at about low water. Having passed along the canal and through two lifing bridges with little waiting we entered the Oosterschelde briefly before locking into the Goes canal. At last we saw the beautiful open countryside dotted with traditional Dutch buildings, green fields and people cycling along the canal.
Tuesday 18th August 2015 - Antwerp, the City of Art
History, Architecture, Diamonds, Design, Art and Fashion. From the Willemdok to the city centre was about a five minute walk. The MAS Museum is one of Antwerp’s new buildings which overlooks the Willemdok marina and provided panoramic views over the city and the extensive docks.
A free day in Antwerp enabled some crew to visit a number of the museums, galleries, historic churches and the Cathedral. Others spent the day exploring the numerous bars selling the finest Belgian beers. We had dinner at KathedraalCafe, otherwise known as The Eleventh Commandment There were more than 400 religious statues in the restaurant, more than in most churches! and almost as many the number of Belgian beers available.
Monday 17th August 2015 - Breskens to Antwerp
Leaving Breskens to catch the tide we had bacon butties en route. The river Schelde was very busy. Huge container ships, and barges along with a number of yachts gathered in close proximity to take the flood tide to Antwerp. In these sort of conditions it is important to make sure that a good lookout is maintained at all times. Arriving at Antwerp we were lucky to find the lock gate open and the bridge over the Kattendijksluis was opened for us as we approached. Once inside we went into the Willemdok where we were to spend two nights. For the first time since leaving Ramsgate it rained. Always something to spoil a beautiful day.
Sunday 16th August 2015 - Ostend to Breskens
After breakfast and a walk around Ostend in the morning we left at 12:20 for Breskens. With the wind now in the north east we motor sailed until past Zebrugge and then had a fine beat all the way to Breskens.
Breskens is situated at the entrance of the River Schelde and is ideally placed fot an overnight stop before catching the morning flood tide to Antwerp. The marina has over a thousand berths and a good yacht club.
Saturday 15th August 2015 - Ramsgate to Ostend.
Early morning start 05:30. Flat sea and light winds Avventura and Blustery Day set sail towards Ostend. Rain was forecast. There were some black clouds hovering around but it did not rain. We motored up to Goodwin Knoll when the breeze filled in. Sails were hoisted and off we sailed across the North Sea, crossing the shipping lanes and dodging the ships. Good progress was made with a steady wind 8-15 knots. Arrived in Ostend at 16:30 for a well-earned Belgian Beer at the Royal North Sea Yacht club. Later that evening we visited Cafe Botteltje for dinner accompanied by a few of the many hundreds of beers that were available.
We turned into the Bosphorus from the north around noon, a half built bridge towering above us. As we approached from the east, monitoring channel 16 and channel 11 (which controls the north sector)we had heard requests from commercial shipping for “permission to commence drifting”. So we knew there were ships waiting to enter the straits. However, as we passed the two small fishing villages on either side and slipped between the steep cliffs covered in green vegetation, there was no sign.
Saturday 15th August 2015 - ‘Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to Littlehampton’
Oxygen’s crew arrived late Friday evening so after a boat cooked curry we all retired to bed.
The lines were slipped from Southampton Town Quay at 07.30 hours. We motored down Southampton Water, by the time we reached the Solent the skipper decided to hoist the spinnaker, we sailed until we neared the Looe Channel then the winds were too light to maintain a satisfactory speed to the passage plan and entrance to Littlehampton so Oxygen motored around Selsey Bill and the lobster pots. Windhover was spotted in the distance.
We soon arrived at Littlehampton and met up with the other boats, Windhover, Ronhilda, Kioni and Mary Lunn.
In recent times it has been a real treat to get together with Maldon Little Ship Club after the separation which occurred back in the inter-war years.
The Bradwell Marina Rally was the latest in several joint events over the past four or so years and which have seen meets at Brightlingsea, and Heybridge Basin. Two LSC yachts and eight MLSC yachts and motor yachts gathered in the delightful surroundings of Bradwell on a blustery but sunny afternoon, some already based at the marina and others coming from Maldon, Heybridge, West Mersea, Brightlingsea and Ramsholt. A number of LSC and MLSC members also attended by road and our West Mersea HPO – John Davison with partner Sara Turnbull – tacked up in a van with built-in overnight interior! They moored in the car park for the night but failed to hoist his HPO flag……..