Calais 2018

The Calais rally was the best attended in recent years with a total of 6 claiming allegiance to the Narrow Seas Club. Blue Moon, Pax, Parana, Wind Hover, Quintet and My Haven. Despite the great attendance it was not sufficient for a shot at the title. The Pennant was retained by Benfleet and the Marinerie Cup was also retained by Conyer.

Quintet was the first to depart in the early hours of Friday morning. A dense fog meant there was very poor visibility, but Quintet was lucky enough to be guided across the channel by a pod of dolphins leading his boat, ridden by mermaids.

Parana followed soon after and had an incident free crossing until Pax tried to ram into him at the entrance to Calais port. Seemingly as a gesture of solidarity with the French Revolution Pax’s skipper then attempted to behead one of his crew with his radar reflector.

With little or no wind, the boats had to motor most of the way. My Haven ran into engine trouble before even getting out of the Crouch. The cause of the problem was quickly determined by the skipper as air in the fuel tank. Nothing else in the tank. Just air. Fortunately Namaqua passed by shortly after and was good enough to lend some fuel to continue the journey.

Most crossed the via the Southwest Sunk, using the coordinates published by Roger Gaspar in 2016. My Haven reported a depth of at least 4.5 metres crossing the sunk at low water. The total journey time ranged between 9 and 13 hours, so choosing the right departure time makes quite a difference.

We were sent good weather, praise be. And had a very pleasant weekend in Calais, enjoying the local culinary delights and excellent wine. Calais has been undergoing significant refurbishment in recent years. The seafront and beach was a pleasant way to spend Saturday afternoon.

On Sunday we had our ceremony at the war memorial, near to the Marinerie Restaurant. The owner of this restaurant kept the club’s rally book during the war and returned it to the club when the war ended. The Marinerie Cup is named in his honour. The NSC ceremony was followed by The Little Ships Club one in the marina club house, with snacks, booze and speeches by dignitaries with blow dried quiffs. The assistant Mayor was present as usual and as well as talking about the refurbishment of the town itself, he also mentioned the ongoing upgrade of the marina. They expect to add another 100 berths soon.

Including all the clubs there were about 60 boats that had travelled for the weekend, the furthest being a boat that had come from Holland in one shot.

For the trip back most NSC boats went via Ramsgate on Sunday. My Haven and Parana chose to stay on until Monday and sailed directly back to the Crouch.

Unfortunately Vic did not make it back before closing time.