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Stuck in Dover

When we started planning our trip round Britain we were peacefully unaware of the extra energy and planning required to be at the right place at the right time to meet the lovely guests who we have invited to share our adventure with us. The reality is that directly after waving Tina goodbye we return onboard and slip the lines in Bembridge for a 44 mile passage east to Brighton to be in time for Jan and Caroline who are joining us for two days. Due to the tidal restrictions at Bembridge we are only able to depart at high water which in turn means that we have the current against us all the way to Brighton. During our trip we enjoy a lovely lamb stew Leontine has prepared in our Mr D's slow cooker.

We arrive in darkness at the entrance to Brighton at low water and have to circle outside the entrance for an hour in a choppy sea waiting for the tide to rise enough for us to enter safely. Finally at about 21:30 we tie up the boat at the visitors pontoon and treat ourselves to a big glass of whisky before crashing out for the night.

The following morning Jan and Caroline arrive and treat us to a great lunch with lovely white wine at the local restaurant in the marina. In the afternoon we go into Brighton by bus and visit the pier - in fact the pier is more of a fun-fare than a place really worth visiting. We return to the boat and Roland prepares a leg of lamb in the oven served with roast potatoes and asparagus - yummy!

As we awaken the next morning we see that the weather has taken a turn for the better with blue skies sunshine and a nice westerly breeze of 10 to 15 knots. It is an easy decision, as soon as there is enough water in the channel at the harbour entrance we can set off in an easterly direction to Eastbourne.

The conditions are excellent however poor Jan is struck by a bad case of sea-sickness. Jan's condition fortunately does not spoil for the rest of us what can only be classified as champagne sailing.

Eastbourne marina is very well situated inside a double lock gate. After tying up in our berth we treat ourselves to the ritual anchor beer and watch a procession of boats celebrating the Commodore of the local sailing club.

We catch the bus into the town centre and visit the Eastbourne pier which is certainly an improvement on the Brighton pier. After searching the internet for a Thai restaurant Leontine discovers that the best Thai restaurant is back at the marina! The restaurant is jam packed, always an excellent sign. We manage to get a table for four and enjoy a delicious dinner washed down with an ample supply of Chenin-blanc Viognier which our waitress referred to simply as "number 13"!

Jan and Caroline leave the following day after a lovely stay, and we slip quickly back into our pattern on board of just the two of us.

We are aware that our trip is drawing to its conclusion with less than two weeks to go before we have to return to our jobs. It is time to move on and we set sail to Dover. The passage is epic downwind sailing via Dungeness and then towards the white cliffs of Dover. We tie up in Dover marina and look at the weather forecast for the coming days. The forecast is very clear: Hurricane Helene - or what is left of it - is on the point of sweeping up the English channel with winds of to 50 knots or more for the coming 4 to 5 days. We are stuck here until the wind dies down.

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