Channel Crossing Brighton to Dieppe

Brighton, Channel, Dieppe, Sailing

The Italian anchor chain finally had arrived and we've hurriedly marked it with neon yellow spray paint, despite the wind blowing a force 8. To avoid getting all the paint on docked boats and none on the chain, we improvised a paint box from an Amazon parcel, some cling film and a bin bag, which worked pretty well. Unfortunately we ran out of neon yellow and the only paint left on board was some white radiator enamel, so the 70m mark is made of seven white stripes instead.

We gave away our pontoon fender (absolutely no room left onboard) and cast off very early Sunday morning, just after 3am, to catch the tide out of Brighton and have daylight for the shipping lanes as well as plenty of time to arrive before nightfall.

Everything went well, apart from the RPM counter occasionally dropping to zero (which didn’t cause any real problems - Songbird's good old MD22 engine will keep running without any electric widgets anyways). The AIS receiver was also working only intermittently, which is pretty annoying when you're about to cross the worlds busiest shipping lane. Radar however made up for that and can also give a closest point of approach (CPA) warning, although a bit less accurately. We got lucky with the westbound shipping lane and had a huge gap to sail right through. Eastbound was much more busy and we had to make several course corrections, but eventually wriggled through. By then I had plugged the emergency VHF aerial into the AIS receiver, which seemed to make it work, although not with great range.

Weather was good and we both enjoyed the sail. Elvyra prepared her first meal at sea (burgers and salad served in a tupperware box - less likely to slide onto the cockpit floor that way). Soon enough we made it into France, put up our courtesy flag, moored up on a very short french pontoon (which means it's sinking and has hoops instead of cleats) and no problems checking in - minimal paperwork.

Food and wine

Dieppe Port staff was very helpful and friendly and facilities clean, although a good walk away from the visitor pontoon. The marina is right in the middle of town, which is brilliant for shopping and restaurants. There's a small Carrefour mini-mall near the port office. Wifi was pretty wobbly though.

We soon wandered into town and despite being Sunday afternoon, we found a bakery with warm croissants. Monday we’ve explored the town and Chateau a bit, and Tuesday we walked up to the chapel on top of the cliff on the other side, followed by a bit of boat maintenance (discovering a faulty VHF antenna coupler, the likely culprit for the AIS problems). Wednesday we're planning to set off for Fécamp.