Home from Dunkirk (part 3 of 3) – successful

The day after our aborted trip to Ramsgate doesn’t start well from a weather perspective. We check a couple of weather forecasts and also speak to the harbour master.  The morning is a write off but there is an eight hour weather window with a little wind that we will be heading towards. This is followed by another nasty weather front coming in.

Having tested the engine the previous night we start the engine again and it is purring. We decide we will try to make the weather window rather than return to the UK by train and try to work out how we get the boat back – other friends of ours have not been so lucky in the past and it is a nightmare and costs a lot getting the boat back.
We’re making excellent progress motor sailing and the engine is running really well. It is quite an uneventful trip mist of the way home. We turn past Rough Towers, the old WW2 gun platform that is now a principality in its own right. The wind is now perfect and so I decide to have an hour with the engine off, thinking I didn’t want to push my luck.  This was a mistake.
We are now just outside Felixstowe where there are big ships moving around all the time. I decide it is time to switch the engine back on to turn into the wind and head up the river Orwell to home…..nothing. The starter is working fine but the engine won’t catch, I try five times and still nothing. Eventually, I decide to put the gearbox into neutral and start the engine with some revs. It starts but dies in seconds. I try again and it catches. Maria looks at me – this is not the “you’re my hero” look that i was hoping for bit more of I “told you not to switch the engine off” look. Needless to say the engine stayed on until we were back in our home berth!
We head up the river and it is a nice evening but yDSC_0287ou can start to see the first signs of the bad weather coming in. We race up the river at the speed limit (6 knots) trying to get in before the wind picks up. As we approach the lock, Maria takes over so that I can help Lisa prepare the boat. We come into the lock and Clive the lock – keeper is friendly as always. “You wouldn’t believe our weekend, we didn’t think we were going to get back!”. We tie up on B pontoon and everything is tidied up. Five minutes before the heavens opened. This was always a talent that the Dufour had, she could get in just before the rain. Every time.
As we walked away that night, Mariadz got a little tap and a thank you for seeing us safe all weekend. It had opened ours eyes to the dangers out there and given us a few extra things to check as part of our preparation to sail.
but it did get Maria thinking…..
dunkirk route

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