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Saturday, 19th March 2016 – Trying To Sell Kate & Other Things.

Two weekends running we have had someone come and look at Kate. Last Saturday (well Friday actually) a woman drove down from Essex, but said she thought Kate needed more work than she was prepared to do. She said she would think about it and let us know one way or another. Needless to say, we’ve heard nothing since. Today a chap from Medway came over with his brother and he appeared more promising, but said he would think about it. So, we must wait and see. It is certainly more interest than we had this time last year, so that’s encouraging.

Next weekend is Easter and we have a crossing booked with P & O! Yes, we are off to recommission Emjaytoo. The winter layup is over! Kim has spent this afternoon in the conservatory applying Fabsil waterproofing to the sail cover…

…and stinking the house out!

Friday, 25th March 2016 – Recommissioning.

Yet again the weekend did not get off to a very good start. We were booked on the 08:25 ferry (P & O) and had been advised to leave extra time for the check in due to heightened security following some major terrorist attacks in Belgium a few days earlier. So after loading up the car

we left home at 07:00, a good half an hour earlier than would normally have been necessary, and promptly got stuck in a massive traffic jam going into Dover. Of course Good Friday was always going to be really busy, so it was hardly surprising but by the time we got in to the port at Dover our 08:25 ferry had long departed and we were put on the 09:30 departure which was delayed till 09:45 due to the chaos in and around Dover. In fact it was so packed that as one of the last cars on, we were parked on one of the steep access ramps up to the car decks.

Needless to say the ferry was packed, although we did manage to find somewhere to sit, trying hard to ignore the noise and screaming children. We finally got to Kortgene at getting on for 14:30. Wendy said it was precisely this sort of thing that was likely to put an end to our Dutch experience. Our first trip back in February was not without delays and we certainly had plenty last year. This is the reason that we will avoid the short weekends. A delay like this morning when we come over for a Saturday/Sunday would just kill the weekend. If we are coming over for a week or longer then we can cope with a delay better. Sadly, with the migrants, the terrorists and other delays it is difficult to see things returning to the way they were a few years ago.

The afternoon was very sunny with a fresh northerly wind and we decided to brave the wind and go for lunch in the cockpit!

After we had got most of the gear back on board

the wind eased a bit and so we took the opportunity to get the genoa back on. But by the time we had done that it was getting pretty chilly so we retired down below and got the fan heater going.

We had a cosy evening and even managed to watch an episode of Sherlock which we had bought with us on DVD.

Sunday, 27th March 2016 – In Spite Of The Weather.

Saturday was a bright and blustery day, dry but chilly and we didn't really get much done on the boat. In fact we didn't get anything done! We were going to put the main up but decided it was too windy so went for a walk instead. We spent the afternoon “relaxing”, Wendy watched some Dutch TV and Kim tried to hand wash a small rope that is used to hoist the Dutch courtesy flag and which having never been washed, was absolutely black. He managed, on and off, to occupy about an hour and a half and in the end it did look pretty clean. But not as clean as the washing machine at home would have done.

In the evening we went to the Trattoria La Barca (the “Italian” bistro in the marina) for a meal and then watched the final episode of Sherlock.

Sunday morning was much as Saturday, but after breakfast (full fry-up!) Kim decided that he would get the jetwash from the car and get on with cleaning the boat. This seemed to kick start him and although the afternoon became very blustery with some heavy showers, we got the main back on and the spray hood back, although the latter was done in pouring rain with full foulies on! The end result was that Emjaytoo looks all set for the coming season.

The weather in the latter part of the day careered from howling wind and pouring rain to no wind and brilliant sunshine – and then back again.

The one thing all the weather forecasts are agreed on, however, is that we are in for some pretty wet and windy weather from about 4 am tomorrow until early afternoon. The local TV forecast predicted gusts of over 100 km/h along the coast, so it could be an interesting night/morning. We are booked on a ferry at 17:15 BST but will aim to leave here by about 12:30 in order to leave ourselves extra time for all the potential delays. Better to be home early than late, given that we both have work on Tuesday morning.

Monday, 28th March 2016 – Storm Katie.

The blustery weather of the last few days has been the prelude to Storm Katie which hit last night with gusto! We had a very lively night with high winds and lashing rain. With the wind coming from the south and no boats parked behind us we had the “slappers” all night, so not much sleep. We had left the instruments on overnight and first thing this morning we recorded 41 knots which is getting on for 50mph! Needless to say, the noise outside was phenomenal.

Before we left the marina Kim doubled up the aft windward mooring line which was showing signs of wear. This is disappointing as it was only replaced in February of last year and with an expensive quality rope from the marina!

After packing away and having a clean up, we were ready to leave at 11:30 (BST). Our crossing was booked for 17:15, but what with the increased security, busy time of the year and more particularly, the bad weather in the Channel we decided to leave early. We stopped at Sas Van Gent for lunch and arrived at Calais at 14:50.We had seen on the internet in the morning that the Port of Dover had been shut due to the bad weather, but when we arrived at Calais the customs & security process was really quite efficient and we were lulled into a false sense of security. There were no queues at the check-in, but we were advised that due to the bad weather the earliest crossing available was at 17:50, so a wait of 2 hours or so. This was annoying but given the circumstances it was the best outcome we could hope for. As it was we drove past literally hundreds of rows of waiting vehicles before taking up our spot in lane 426, somewhere on the outer edges of the port complex!

Emjaytoo is being lifted out for anti-fouling on Friday and we will be going over on the Shuttle on Thursday night so we can see her come out. The following week we will be back again for cleaning if the weather is right and we can be bothered. The current thinking, however, is that we will be using the Shuttle as often as possible from now on.

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