Waking up in Eastbourne after a good nights sleep in the quarter berths on Peridot, was a bit of a surprise. Gone were the sunny blue skies it was now overcast skies and a steady drizzle. I did a quick sprint over to the harbour facilities block for another nice hot shower followed by a good breakfast at one of the local port cafes. We called Port Control who gave us a forecast of south, South west at 30 knots with rain for the rest of the day. Not exactly what we wanted to hear.
We locked out at 9.30am, hoisted a reefed main and set off for Dungeness. Visibility was very poor not more than about 200 yards. Dick knows these water very well having sailed along the south coast both ways several times over the past few years. We took it in turns to helm the boat which needed constant attention in the strong winds.
I can't say it was much fun, in fact it was pretty miserable, we were both getting soaked and also cold. I went below took off all my wet clothes put on a dry sweat shirt and sweater and then put the wet top gear back on again. It would have to do as there was no real way to get completely dry. Thank goodness we weren't sailing round the world. We passed Dungeness about 150 yards offshore, still under reefed main and still surfing down swells at 16 knots. To our surprise we crossed a catamaran going south into these heavy seas. Dick and I were sure glad to be heading east with the wind up our stern.
Our Next major waypoint was Dover, this soon come up and we gave them a quick call on the VHF to let them know that we would be crossing the entrances to the harbour on route to Ramsgate. Once past Dover and in the shelter of the downs the wind was more on the beam and not so strong so we hosted a headsail and had a great surfing reach to the B2 buoy then up to Stonar buoy a quick jibe and a run up to Ramsgate Harbour entrance.
It was 3.30pm when we tied the boat in Ramsgate Marina. So Eastbourne to Ramsgate had taken us just 6 hours. We were pretty pleased with our journey time, but being wet through, I decided to go straight home. Theresa, my wife, came to pick me up and it was not long before I was under a nice hot shower. Dick, the hardy soul that he is, took himself off to the Royal Temple Yacht Club for a very large brandy. Well deserved I would say.
What are my conclusions.
Firstly, the boat is certainly fast off the wind and will start planning on a reach in a good breeze. We will see how she goes upwind when we start racing her.
Secondly, we were very well prepared for the trip. We both wore lifejackets , had plenty of food and water onboard as well as safety gear including plenty of flares, VHF radio and mobile phones..
Thirdly, she was the second boat I have bought without seeing her or having an independent inspection or survey. The first time was great, I purchased a Hunter 1981 Impala called 'Wisecrack' which was up in Oban, Scotland. She was every bit as good as her pictures and I was very pleased with her. Peridot, although a lot newer being built in 1996, was tired and well used. There were a lot of gelcoat stress cracks around the gunnels as well as chips and cracks all over the place and below decks needed a lot of Loving Tender Care.
So my advice is, don't get carried away with excitement. Take your time, look around and inspect the boat and get a survey.
All's well that end's well. I raced Peridot during the year 2008 and won the Royal Temple Yacht Club Autumn Series, I also enjoyed doing a lot of refurbishment work on the boat to smarten her up and sold her on to new owners who had her trucked over from Ramsgate To Dublin in Ireland. Let's hope she's still winning races.