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Helaba from Belgium


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Kingfisher & Kiki left Shotley at 1030 yesterday and were moored at Mercator Marina in Ostend at 1830 which included an hour and a half transiting two locks and three road bridges. Mercator is in the centre of Ostend and an altogether better location with Pontoon berths.

We eat at Royal North Sea Yacht club last night which was as far removed from the othe RNSYC we know.... not an armchair admiral in sight :naughty:

The easier first point of call for berths would have been Montgomery dock but it is rammed with yachties rafted up to 8 out :o The Hardy 50 from Royal Norfolk (Lysthia or something like is there and surrounded!

Passage over was a strange mix of chop, 'sloptastic' and glassy calm on the Belgium side but with a big swell.

Passage was: Languard, North Cork Sands, North Roughs, Long Sand Head, North Kentish Knock, South Galloper, West Hinder a bit of jinking the sand banks and in to Ostend.

Crossing two TSS meant dodging around some serously big stuff as ever moving deceptivly quickly but thanks to the Radar it was pretty straight forward to take a target bearing and assess course of action.

Plan at present is to spend a few days here, then move to Niewpoort and on to Blankenberge where we will meet out Yacht Club

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Hi,

Good to hear all went to plan and the trip over was good, even in the marina us rag and stick types get in the way :naughty:

I trust the lazarette will be filled with new types of consumable ballast cheersbar

The weather looks like it is holding for you so have a brilliant holiday!

Ian :Sailing

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As I said earlier Wi Fi is a bit sporadic but can report we made Neiwpoort by unconventional means.

While Ostend to Niewpoort presented a fairly straight forward 9 mile blat down the coast David had a 'cunning plan' to liven things up. He had seen their was a canal running from Ostend to Niewpoort and after seeking the advice of the Harbour Master both ships decided this was an altogether more interesting test.

We locked out of the Marina into the harbour om Monday lunch time and proceeded to lock into the canal but not before having to hold station for half an hour next to a cross channel ferry that was about to depart. After getting the sea lock side out of our way the canal staff had indicated we needed to make Niewpoort lock by the half tide before the basin dried out. Allbridges opened on approach (BA learn how to treat paying boaters) of which there were around twelve. Each bridge keeper knew we were coming and urged us to get a move on to get to the Niewpoort Lock, who were we to argue :)

Even Fishermen who we indavertantly caused wet feet waived merrily, they really do have a different approach to boating here!

We arraived at Niewpoort locked through and got berthed in KYCN Marina after topping up with fuel.

In the evening we sampled the Yacht Club the seafood once again was out of this world, the Mussels without doubt are the best I have ever had. If you don't like seafood you don't know what you are missing.

Today we got off down to Bruges what a really classic place this is, I can thouroughly reccomend a stop here.

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It is the third time of asking to Belgium, yes Ian.

Not sure luck had much of a part to play in prior years it was all down to the weather the vaguries of which we accept as part of being Coastal based.

I am just glad we have no bridges :naughty:

We are having a great time thanks and so far so good all has gone to plan.

Look forward to updates from your trip and hope all goes OK.

A few more random snaps attached

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Hi Col,

They had run out when we were in there earlier in the week :cry otherwise I could have tested them....

The ones in Niewpoort are certainly the best I have ever tasted.

Which are the best Mussels Ostend or Niewpoort....... only one way to find out :grin:

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Hi Col,

They had run out when we were in there earlier in the week :cry otherwise I could have tested them....

The ones in Niewpoort are certainly the best I have ever tasted.

Which are the best Mussels Ostend or Niewpoort....... only one way to find out :grin:

I'm sure you will Perry :lol:

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Being nosey in preparation for a possible assault abroad next year, Do you speak any Flemish or Dutch? if not what language is used to converse through Belgium and Holland and hoping that it is English is it necessary to make the first call in a different language?

Hope the weather holds for you Perry, all I can say is as you get within 12 miles the sun will be shining, there will be a flat calm sea and not a breath of wind, I know because I have ordered it for 2 weeks starting Saturday.

Enjoy yourself nd keep posting pictures. cheersbar

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We have several languages between us including classical Greek and Japanese but Rachel's German has proved the most useful, surprisingly its best to pretend not to have any French as its a bit of a no no. :naughty:

Radio comms with ports and marinas is in English and most people that you would need to talk to speak English, Flemish is much like Dutch which is not far off German which is not far off English so most signs are dechipherable with a little effort. :)

Niewpoort has petrol if you need to fill up too Ian.

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Talking of fuel both Mr Volvo and Mr Yanmar have been pretty frugal :clap

Kingfisher using a shade over 200 litres (the thing runs on fresh air) and Kiki 250 litres which considering it's 7 tonnes I am very pleased with. We were full leaving Shotley and topped up at Niewpoort meaning the usage above was a near 80 mile trip to Ostend and the trip down to Niewpoort.

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As most days here so far it has followed a pattern of overcast early on with the sun burning through to leave a very warm sunny day, today is no exception.

It is Rachel's Birthday today - Happy Birthday Rachel - Tina crept up this morning to add some decoration to Kingfisher.

This was followed by an entertaining hour playing Crazy Golf and an afternoon Crepe and Coffee/Hot Chocolate, very civilised.

A few random snaps; apologies for the quality but as the bandwidth is pretty poor I am having to compress.

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Well here we are in Blankenberge :grin:

We had a short 20 mile hop down the coast with a beam sea due to a onshore breeze, a shade under 2 hours from slipping lines at Niewpoort to being tied up in Blankenberge. The weather continues to be a real bonus today was 29c :dance

We are moored in Scarphort Marina in the centre of Blankenberge which is a great location in the centre of town and close to the beaches.

We have again had Mussels yet another way; well when in Rome..................

We are sat on our ships having a sundowner it really is a very pleasant warm evening.

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Back in the UK as we saw a weather window today so left Blankenberge at 0600 this morning and were back in Shotley by 1215. A bonus for us with good conditions both ways.

As a last test I had to strap a Yottie to the side of Kiki and get it into Shotley as it was drifting in the channel with engine failure. :Sailing

Total fuel consumption for the 200 miles or so we have done was 450 litres.

Now have the rest of the week to potter around our local area.

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The decision to head had after 10 days has certainly been vindicated given the North Sea forecast for the rest of this week. We have learnt in the past that it is better to 'bank' what you have had and head back rather than trying to run to the very end of your holiday and risking the weather stranding you. While car shuffling trains and public transport can be done OK Belgium would be more of a clat but clearly possible if neccesary.

The crossing was very good returning and at one point around West Hinder it was flat calm save for a swell :)

We are Orwell based at present and the weather enjoyed in Belgium has disappeared over here.

Good to learn that the lady Yachtsman I towed into Shotley yesterday is OK and to boot was a diabetic and starting to 'feel funny'. She has recovered and Shotley have sorted her engine, she dashed to the lock as we exited today to say thanks again.

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Thanks Jim,

Yes had a great time everything went to plan.

Jill - good to be back OK and still having some time to potter around locally.

At Rough's some 6 miles away from home the typical east coast chop was there to welcome just as if to say welcome back!!

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definately fuel for thought,

Is that a Freudian slip Ian :naughty:

Glad you got up there OK.

I regularly used to fish the edge of the swatch off Grain Spit where at even a MLWS there was 2 metres dropping off to 6 meters it was a good spot.

For fuel economy you might want to look at the Swin Spitway for your return trip.

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