Being stuck in Dover with strong winds we discuss our options. With a small weather window in three days time, followed by only one sailing day before another day sheltering from even stronger winds, the outlook is clear: we will no longer be able to sail into London and then back up the east coast in time for our planned departure back to the Netherlands at the end of September.
Enter plan B: we take the train into London where we stay for two nights. We inform Tim that we will be arriving on Wednesday instead of Friday and he lets us know that he does not need to work that day! Great! So the day takes shape starting with a good sushi lunch at Kitcho in Greenwich. After the standard trip to the Apple store at Oxford Circus we enjoy happy hour cocktails just off Oxford Street. If we were to have sailed to London we would have berthed in St Catherines Dock next to Tower bridge. Not deterred, Roland books a table at the dock in a fancy tapas restaurant Bravas Tapas. The food and ambience is excellent and well wined and dined we return to our respective homes, Tim in Greenwich and us in Earls Court.
The next day, after a very sketchy breakfast in the hotel, we set off sightseeing in London starting with coffee and pastries in Notting Hill followed by a pleasant walk along Portobello Road unperturbed by the rain. Lunch at Côte Bistro in Covent Garden and then a short walk to the National Gallery where we spend time looking at the sea-scapes by William Turner comparing his painted skies to those in the Horizon section on our site!
By the evening we are feeling bloated from all the meals we have been eating since our arrival in London. We decide to eat at Ottolenghi's on Upper Street and enjoy four small sharing dishes washed down with some very decent white wine.
The weather forecast remains unchanged as we return to Dover and we prepare for the short passage to Ramsgate the following morning. When we wake up we are pleased to hear that the wind is no longer howling through the rigging. We leave the harbour at 10:00 intimidated at how small we feel next to the ferries, but assured by the professional guidance given by Dover Port Control on our VHF radio giving us clearance to exit the eastern entrance towards Ramsgate.
Our timing is spot on and we are helped on our journey north by 3 knots of current.
No sooner do we arrive in Ramsgate than it starts to rain. The forecast is light rain in the afternoon and then increasingly heavy rain and wind for the coming 24 hours. This is the weather we have been expecting for the past few days and we use the time to make a detailed passage plan to cross the Thames Estuary.
To date we have been so incredibly lucky during our journey that we have hardly ever been stuck anywhere due to strong winds, and the rain fall has been minimal.