I get married on saturday....<gulp!> and work had prevented a 'proper' stag weekend.
I bought my boat a month or so ago, been out a few times weather/work/wedding planning permitting. Got on really well and having done a channel crossing in my best man, Nelson’s 6.5 Tornado (yes, that really is his name!) a few weeks back, was pretty confident I was up to a crossing in my own, with him along in his own boat to keep an eye on me!
So, on Friday, got a few mates together for an overnight trip with both boats to Calais, leaving Friday morning. Kind of 'stag cruise' Another brilliant invention of mine along with the 'Stag year' concept that has cost me every female friend i have
Weather was vile all week, and finally broke Thursday evening, blue skies and 5mph wind on Friday morning.
What a crack! Left from Ramsgate, headed down to Dover. On route at Deal, came across a big Navy Hovercraft headed the other way. Quite a bonus considering 5 of us are Hovercraft Racers/Cruisers or Manufacturers! Lance, from Dover Sea School is a mate of ours and had set out at some god-awful hour with a two man cross-channel swimming team set on a double crossing. We found him about six miles off dover, some 7 hours after they’d left….still, the good news was that he’d boiled the kettle and six cups of tea were waiting for us. Civilized this boating lark isn’t it? We don’t usually have that luxury in the hover!
We got across to Calais without any problems tho it got very rough around Cape Gris-Nez and the run along the coast was pretty bumpy. In all honesty I *had* had enough by the time we got there but there was a small sense of achievement in wrapping up my first crossing with no problems. My 65 year old dad had had enough too! Due to the leisurely pace and tea-stop, we missed the marina gates and had to moor up on the chain moorings in Calais harbour. Nelson, being part amphibian got the job of rowing ashore in a the inflatable kids boat we’d brought ‘just in case!’ which looked like the dodgiest part of the crossing to me!
Great night out in the Yacht Club, some ‘interesting’ bars and 555 Club til 4am, and woke up to a beautiful day with almost no wind, cruised back to Dover in 65 minutes for a bit of lunch in the yacht club and headed home for 4ish.
Strangest moment came when we gave them both their head on the final run into Ramsgate. I was managing 35 knots, Nelson was leaving me for dead at 40+knots when a huge lobster leapt out of the water and flopped into the bottom of the Tornado! In no time at all, my mate (who *never* misses out on a free lunch) had it bagged up and ready for the pot! Poor bloody thing, talk about a bad day!
All in all, a brilliant cruise with good mates, great boating and something to remember. Makes a change from a weekend stag do in Puerto Banus and a good indication of what I feel confident taking on with the rib. Did really well on fuel, Nelly’s 150 Mercury drank 150 litres, my 115 4 stroke around 80-90. Cheap to run as well then! Lots more of the same to come, tho the next time I do the channel it will be by hovercraft. All 3 metres of it.... Its something I’ve wanted to do for a couple of years and I’m running out of excuses now i've got the safety boat in the driveway!
Still, wedding Saturday. Lots to do! Few pics from the weekend.