We raised the anchor at the much more civilised time of 0930 and prepared to sail in company with Tom to the Swale. We motored out of the Medway and raised the sail for the voyage round the top of the Isle of Sheppey, over an area known as the Cant. Once clear of the shipping lane and the Montgomery, the wreck of the WWII ship full of explosives, we raised sail again.
The wind continued to blow south westerly so we were able to sail all the way to the end of Columbine spit, with Tom and Monica in sight ahead of us.
As the day wore on the wind grew in strength and we made good progress, arriving at the mouth of the Swale at low water ready to take the flood tide in to the anchorage at Harty Ferry.
As we approached the end of Sheppey we passed the Thames sailing barge Greta with a charter party on board. They won’t have been expecting to see a Humber Keel under sail, but I am sure Greta’s skipper Steve explained who we were. Greta is based in Whitstable and seemed to be motor sailing out, no doubt looking forward to a good sail back.
As we only had Steve with us, who was new to sailing keels, and the wind was getting stronger all the time, we decided not to try tacking in. As we lowered the sail one of the tack chains came loose from the roller and we had a few exciting moments getting the mainsail under control. Eventually we got it made up to the yard and were able to finish motoring in. Heading in to the wind, we were getting spray over the bows that reached as far as the aft deck.
We dropped the hook closer to the Sheppey bank of the Swale, where the holding is better and within a short distance from the causeway that leads to the Ferry Inn. After making sure the anchor was holding and everything was made secure we launched the inflatable and we all went ashore to eat. I was pleased to be able to find a seat where I could keep an eye on Daybreak whilst we ate. After the meal we introduced Steve to the pleasures of east coast mud as we carried the inflatables down to the water for the trip back to our anchored vessels.