The cruise started at Teddington where Ginista meet up with Enterprise 111on Sunday 22 May. The two boats made their way to Chatham the following day and meet up with Lockdown Dream.
We spent the day preparing our boats for the trip to Ramsgate and departed on the next stage to Ramsgate on Wednesday 25th. The forecast was not good, with warnings of 25mph winds and gusts up to 30mph and meter high waves. The crews discussed the situation and agreed to go ahead, on reflection we should have waited an extra day, because as we rounded North Foreland, we found the bad weather. At Ramsgate we all agreed it was a mistake and would not do a crossing like that again. It was a good lesson learned, but it was good to see that the crews and boat could handle the situation, should we ever get caught out in weather like that again.
We spent two days relaxing in Ramsgate and on the 27th Lockdown Dream and Enterprise 111 left for Dunkerque. Ginista however stayed at Ramsgate as negotiating French customs rules for getting their dogs into France was too problematic.
The journey across the channel was not too bad with a little on beam sea and only a slight choppy, and we managed to maintain an average speed of about 12 knots. Our waypoints worked well and it was good to see the Red mid channel Sandete light ship, the crossing took about 4hr and we had a good mooring at Marina de Nord in Dunkerque yacht club.
The Commodore however to use his medical skills not long after our arrival as a woman who just arrived on a sailing boat suffered an open fracture ankle. Assistance was given with the help of the French dock master who translated between myself while we waited for the ambulance crew.
The next four days were spent exploring and we were lucky enough to see the Operation Dynamo commemorations day with dignitaries and the town band march along the promenade to the memorial where floral tributes were laid. We were later greeted by two RAF Spitfires doing a flypast along the beach.
The operation Dynamo Museum was enlightening and so was the British War Graves we visited, a ceremony was being held there led by the Royal British Legion, which was very moving. It was very moving as we walked around Dunkirque to see many British flags flying on many buildings, which made us all very proud.
On the down side was the price of diesel in France and at EU 2.30 per litre, and then the exchange rate made for an expensive return trip.
The weather for our trip back to Ramsgate was very good with excellent visibility, it was amazing to see both the French coast and the White Cliffs of Dover at the same time. On our arrival at Ramsgate, we meet up with Ginista and spent the next two days walking around the area. Also while we were there the Enterprise crew meet up with a number of Dunkirk Little Ships and their crews, later some of them joined us in our favourite Italian in the evening.
On the 2nd June we made our cruise back to Chatham, the conditions were fine as we approached North Foreland and the Princess Channel route back to the Medway. We were able to have a close-up view of the Red Sands Towers as we approached the route passing the Montgomery wreck.
On Friday 3rd we returned to Teddington we had a fine meal at the Tide End Cottage. The following day all three boats made it safely back to Penton Hook Marina.
Sadly however, the trip was planned by one of our members, who was not able to join us as he suffered a stroke shortly before the cruise. In his name we made sure that the cruise took place.