Dieppe to Eastbourne – The Journey Home

We only spent a day two nights and a whole day in Dieppe, but I for one will definitely come again, as I’m sure will Paul. A wonderful town and much more to discover in and around the surrounding area. So, I’m sure another trip is on the cards.

Early morning Dieppe, Adieu

The Dieppe to New Haven ferry
Sunrise over Dieppe

The wind forecast for our return journey was clear and sunny with a North Easterly wind between 14 and 22 knts. We slipped lines at 0700 and made our way out of the marina and through the port and into open water. Raising sails once outside the harbour entrance we set our homeward bound course. I drew Pauls attention that the Genoa seemed un tensioned and so we temporarily headed up and adjusted its halyard tension, it looked and performed much better.

Mid Channel helicopter visit and fly by

As we approached the TSS and a fleet of of fishing boats, some rather large, the wind picked up, and we had 26 knts across the deck and 2 metre waves. We were already reefed in and we had a rather exhilarating sail through the fishing fleet. A lot more traffic as we crossed the TSS, than we had on the way to Dieppe. So a lot more valuable practise for Paul.

Paul has a sea water shower
Approaching the fishing fleet

After a couple of hours, the wind reduced to between 15 and 18 kts and we had a more comfortable sail all the way back. Managing to have some locally bought chicken in a fresh baguette and fish soup, Pauls share ended up on the galley floor. We managed to get a shower on the way time for when we arrived at Eastbourne.

Just as we approached the entrance to Eastbourne, we noticed a yacht behaving rather strangely very close to the entrance and harbour wall. Eventually, there was a call on CH16 from him that he had engine failure and both Paul and I were going to assist, but were beaten to it by a larger and more powerful local fishing boat that was also close by.

We continued into the lock and towards our berth, turning up at 1845 after having sailed the entire way.

After putting Izzy Wizzy to bed, Paul and I headed for the local Thai, for a well deserved meal and debrief.

A Wonderful 3 days of fun, sailing and great companionship.

Exploring Dieppe

17th September 2019

After a long sail, we had a leisurely start with a light breakfast of coffee and croissant and a visit to the marina office. The staff are very pleasant and welcoming and at €22 per night a bargain.

Jehan Ango Marina

We walked into the very picturesque town. The town has a warm feel to it and has maintained it own character of older times. Full of Fish mongers, Bakers, Butchers, and dried meat shows, all very specific to France and the French way of life. Both Paul and I felt immediately at ease and welcomed by the residents.

Fish Market near the sea front
Higher class Fishmonger in town

Eglise Saint-Jacques

We made our way through the town and towards the sea front with wonderful long and clean pebble beeches. Unbelievably, there were swimmers in the water. Taking a closer look the majority of them were pensioners exercising and all looking in extremely good conditions. We walked toward the chalk cliffs overhanging the sea shore and as we approached noticed how treacherous they were, with regular rock falls. Apparently, the cliff erode and retreat at leat 1/2 metre per year.

Eroding Chalk Cliffs

We walked back along the beach and towards and along the harbour wall, towards the entrance where we sailed through the evening before. Quite an ominous site, looking down the sea wall to the sea some 10 metres below.

One of several memorial to the fallen allies who landed in Dieppe in 1942
Port entrance, with the Port entry lights. These are clearly visible at least 4 miles off shore

The sea wall is full of locals, fishing for their lunch, some successfully with Mackerel in their storage buckets.

As we walked back towards the marina, we came across a multitude of plain, down to earth restaurants, full of locals. Although we didn’t go in, its on the list for our next visit. We choose a restaurant facing the marina and sat outside in the glorious September sunshine, with temperatures of summer. Mussels were the order of the day, one of the regional specialities.

La Marine restaurant – great sea food and mussels

Leaving for Dieppe

16th September 2019

Apart form actually getting up I love early morning starts. Once aboluted and having a strong dark coffee, its time to face the world. For me it the most wonderful feeling when you get onto deck, just before dawn, in the cool crisp early morning air. All is quite and peaceful with only a handful of souls around. There are still a couple of hours until sunrise as we slip lines and head towards the lock for our exit. It’s 0540.

A short 10 minute motor and we are in the lock and waiting for the 6 o’clock opening. Only one other yacht joins us, they are heading for the Solent.

Waiting in the lock with another yacht

Spot on at 6 o’clock , the lock keeper starts the process of letting us out and by 0608 we are through and heading into and across the channel.

Sails raised we mange to sail at 4 kts in the eagling morning light wind. By the time the sun rises the wind drops and on come the engine, it’s 0730.

Optimistic Paul
Approaching the shipping lanes

We cross the shipping lanes without event, but a good first experience for Paul, it’s his first Channel crossing.

The wind comes and goes as does the engine and it’s a combination of sailing and motor sailing. Homemade pea soup and Asda wraps and sandwiches on route to sustain us during our 13 hour crossing.

We sight the port entry lights of Dieppe quite some distance off shore and certainly well before the harbour entry lateral lights. 2 nm from Dieppe, we call the port authorities for permission to enter, a requirement as per the Almanac. Permission granted and we continue towards the entrance.

Approaching Dieppe, with port entry lights clearly visible
At last, the entrance to Dieppe

We enter, through the narrow entrance,on a low tide, with the harbour walls towering at least 12 metres above us. It’s dark again by this time which makes it all the more intriguing and challenging. We head the 1/2 nm through the harbour, before turning right into our destination of “Jehan Ango”. Paul reverses Izzy Wizzy , very professionally into our berth (No 9 ) and we have arrived.

Heading through the harbour and towards the marina

We put Izzy Wizzy to bed and head towards the exit in search of a meal. The harbour wall tower above us and it’s hard work climbing the 45 degrees incline to the secure exit. It’s quite eerie , looking down the many metres from whence we can. The tide is nearly 8 mtrs today and it’s a spring tide.

A 7.7 metre tide makes for a steep walk up the gangway
Izzy Wizzy, it the top right hand corner of the photo

We head for one of the nearest restaurant “Le Sully”, which has a few locals in it and looks good. Oysters as starters , which are good and steak to follow, mine was okay as I asked for it medium, whilst Paul was disappointed with his, which was rare and chewy. Nonetheless, we had a wonderful evening with a nice Muscadet sur Lie, before retiring for the night and a well worth sleep.

Paul and me having a well deserved drink at “Le Sully”
Evening Oysters

And so endeth Paul’s first cross Channel crossing.

A trip to France

14th September 2019

Paul, who I had met some two and a half years ago, had invited me to join him in Eastbourne for a planned sail to Dieppe France. So on Saturday the 14th of September I set off from Esher for Sovereign Harbour, Eastbourne. A two hour journey by car.

I was greeted by Paul and taken to “Izzy Wizzy”, his 32 foot Bavaria. Brenda, his wife welcomed me on board and after a few light refreshments we mad our way to “Pablos” a Mediterranean restaurant, one of many, within the marina complex. We were joined by Colin, a fellow berth holder at Sovereign and exchanged stories of sea and travel and yachts. We said our goodbyes to Brenda, who went back home, leaving us boys to finish off our evening.

Beautiful sunsets over Sovereign Marina

15th September 2019

The next morning Paul showed we around “Izzy Wizzy”, together with a safety brief and we planned an afternoon sail with Colin.

A quick trip to Asda, for provisioning and before we knew it we were back on Izzy Wizzy, preparing for our afternoon sail.

We motored through the marina complex and then through the lock and into the open waters of the Channel, heading towards Sovereign Light house, some five miles from the harbour entrance. A fresh breeze mad for an exhilarating sail and we managed to sail all the way back to the lock entrance.

Back on the berth, we prepared “Izzy Wizzy” and had a lovely homemade Lasanga, that Brenda had prepared for us earlier. Off to bed and an early morning start to catch the 0600 opening of the lock.

Izzy Wizzy on her moorings. A fine yacht in a fine marina.

Leaving the berth and a little radio work from Paul to lift the bridge for our exit.

Sovereign Light House – A funny looking structure
Back home and Paul reversing Izzy Wizzy back into her berth