Cooking fish

The Great Escape – Ramsgate to Brighton via Eastbourne.

12th July 2011


Ramsgate to Brighton via Eastbourne.

Ramsgate to Eastbourne

Let me say from the beginning that the following writings on Ramsgate have not been influenced by my current attempt to stop smoking. The indentations around the edges of my laptop have not been left by my teeth. If anyone wants to say anything different then I am quite happy to rip your arm off and beat you with the soggy end!!!


You need to check everything before you sail.

The weather forecast today is for very light winds from the South and South West due to a high pressure area centred over England. What that means in effect is that I produced more wind after a curry and the engine is more likely to be used than the sails. On the plus side our suntan’s are liable to become deeper with a good chance of hot spots where we have forgotten to put the cream. You see there is more to this sailing lark than people realise. You have to check the engine before each journey (I don’t know why as we have always managed to find it in the same place).  You have to do some passage planning (which is not a form of colonic irrigation although in really bad weather it can be). You have to check the charts (it is important to know which Adel record is at number one) and the currants (for making scones later). For those non boatie type people it is easy to look out from shore and see a boat just bobbing around but in reality NASA does fewer checks on the shuttle than we do on our boat.


 Ramsgate. The great escape.

Now you have been put right on the finer points of sailing let me update you with events to date. We had grave doubts about my navigation in our last port of call. Initially we believed we were in Ramsgate Kent, but after an hour ashore we were convinced we had made a wrong turning and ended up in Poland. The indigenous population appeared to be a mixture of Eastern Europeans and those who had failed the interviews for an approved school.

Ramsgate home for smack boys

Ramsgate Smack Home

I mean where else would you find a building called “The Smack Home for boys”. I kid you not

Ramsgate was not my favourite place so we hatched a plan to escape before the sun rose knowing there would be no one else up until at least 3pm, unless it was signing on day. We were unsure if the searchlight in the lighthouse on the harbour wall was to warn shipping or capture anyone trying to escape. We decided to avoid its beam just to be sure. Just when we thought our plans had come to fruition we were stopped in our tracks by the camp commandant (Harbour control). He would not let us go until the early morning Poland to Ramsgate ferry had berthed. We got an idea of who was aboard when most of the passengers were either hung over the side painting it or were holding up direction signs for the housing office. You might get a slight undertone here on my feelings of Ramsgate but I haven’t even mentioned all the ‘Cloggies’ (Dutch) with flags bigger than their boats. Then there was the fishing fleet whose sole purpose in life is to pass as close as possible to you at break neck speed leaving a wave to bounce the boat up and down. Not even a page three girl, naked on a trampoline bounced as much as we did.


Escaping Ramsgate

Entrance to Ramsgate Harbour

Ramsgate Harbour Entrance

The only redeeming factor in Ramsgate’s favour was a sandbank just under the water in the middle of the harbour. We spent a good few hours on deck, beer in hand, watching all the visiting boats coming in and going aground throwing their crews all over as they did so.

Before I leave Ramsgate far behind Angelina said she would like to totally disassociate herself with any of the above comments.

We did manage to escape and with the winds we had an absolute cracking sail past the White Cliffs of Dover and dodged a fair few ferries along the way. I did do a Vera Lynn rendition but as usual my audience was asleep with hands over their ears.

Approaching Eastbourne

White cliffs of Dover

White cliffs of Dover

About seven hours later the wind really got up and the seas began to deepen and break. We did try sailing for a while but it would have meant tacking as the wind was on the nose. With the increasing seas and wind it was pretty uncomfortable with waves breaking over Cygnus’s decks. I was getting pretty tired by this time after a long sail with two crew members who slept the whole way (no names Jordan and Aiden) and a mad woman who was not to be trifled with on that particular day of the month. I put the sails away, turned the engine on and made for Eastbourne through the mounting seas.


Retire to Eastbourne

Eastbourne did not come soon enough and the sheltered estuary to the lock gates gave us some relief. The large lock was pretty full but we managed to raft alongside a “Cloggy” who was having propeller problems. (He later dived down and after six attempts managed to cut away a pair of trousers from around his propeller). I know the Dutch are renowned for their frugal ways but I do think there are better ways to get your washing done.

Eastbourne Lock

Eastbourne marina lock

Eastbourne is, I have to say, an excellent purpose-built marina surrounded by luxury flats, bars and eating establishment. The walk into town along the sea front is a bit of an obstacle course through the Zimmer frames and trails of leaking colostomy bags but I really like it. It is well-kept, gardens everywhere and the only thing more plentiful than the retirement population are benches with remembrance plaques on. The only downside is the habitual smoke in the air from the local crematorium.


Love is in the air in Eastbourne

On our first day in Eastbourne Aiden spotted a very attractive girl his age on another boat. I don’t know just how many times he walked past her but it became a bit of an hourly ritual. Eventually one night he managed to pluck up the courage to speak to her and very quickly they were going for a walk together. Unfortunately she was leaving the next morning. We waved good-bye and since then Clara, who is Swedish and Aiden have been in contact via phones. Her birthday is on the 12th of this month when they are returning to Brighton. Aiden desperately wants to see her again on this date but it may be we will have moved on by then.

We have enjoyed the rest in Eastbourne and it is a place I would recommend. Our journey is not about staying in one place but seeing as much of life, cultures and the world as we can. Just to kick start the culture thing we decided to make the short hop around Beachy Head to Brighton.

It was a four-hour sail, well I say sail but the wind was again in the wrong direction so we motored most of the way to Brighton.


Liveaboards in Brighton


Brighton Marina

The Brighton marina is huge and very well used. Within an hour of being there we had been given homemade Chilli bread and made arrangements for Angelina’s relatives to visit. We intend to stay here for a few days to give Cygnus a good clean and service before we decide between the Solent and sailing for France. I think we are leaning towards onions, He Haw, He Haw and French food rather than the curry houses, golly gosh and blazer clad population of the Solent. We will I suppose have to make a decision but that can be left until tomorrow, or the day after.


How to cook Mullet.

Before I do go we found a wonderful recipe for the huge Mullets (fish) we have seen in the marina.

Take the Mullet, gut and remove any bone, stuff with garlic butter and herbs.  Add a little lemon, put two bricks on either side of the fish and put in a steamer for two hours. When cooked throw away the fish and eat the bricks. It tastes better.



Other posts we think you will enjoy

1 comment

  1. “When cooked throw away the fish and eat the bricks. It tastes better.” …Priceless. I laughed out loud!! not good as I`m in work!

Leave a comment