The French Adventure (Dover to Boulogne)

It's summer holiday time and the Good Ship Brimble rightly won the competition of where we spend our 2 weeks family holiday ... there's nothing wrong with the Med' but with the much maligned Global Warming kicking in the temperature in northern Europe is pretty much the same as the south but with quieter beaches and a luxury yacht readily available for use. A no-brainer to stock up with Factor 50, stay home and sail Brim?

The plan in my mind was a simple one ... 'France'. However, it is possible that I might have confused the team by saying 'The Channel Islands'. So a few valuable minutes were spent explaining that we would be heading towards the Channel Islands but via France rather than spending 2 weeks in the Channel Islands. I sensed that the crew felt they had been miss-sold their holiday so this was a useful clarification.

With the help of Rob and Tom we had safely secured the good ship at Dover ready to set sail for Northern France. Ella and I went down on the Friday to do some early prep' work and then the next day Jack and Selma arrived.

Selma had arranged for a Tesco delivery; a stroke of genius. STOP PRESS - Supermarket delivery to the marina is the way to go. Tesco even delivered it to the boat pontoon ... how fab is that? And, when the young chap found out we were sailing to France he kindly gave me (FOC) a detailed account of the holiday he had in Paris 10 years earlier when he was 12.

As well as victualling we also gave the bottom a good clean. One of many advantages of a small boat is that you can scrub the bottom with the boat in the water, especially when you have an abundance of teenage labour.

Young Jack working his magic

We fully utilised the free berth next to us!
So, with a sparkling bottom, the addition of a few litres of fuel, water tanks topped up, enough food to sail twice around the world we were ready to go.

That night we explored Dover. The Harbour is having a massive rebuild with a new marina. It will be amazing and give a much-needed injection of investment in what is a surprisingly poor part of the country.

Jack and I are additions to this amazing Banksy on a wall of a derelict house in Dover

Sunday rolled out and we left at 0800 and made the short hop over to Boulogne. Weather was lovely, wind favourable. All well.

Because Boulogne is 10 miles or so west of a straight course across the shipping lanes I planned our departure time to give us a tide that set us off to cover that difference. It worked out fine and we enjoyed a nice lift as we sailed south towards Boulogne. We arrived at Boulogne at 1330 BST.

Jack at the helm with Ella relaxing hard

Approach to Boulogne - lovely

As we approached the French Coast we raised our courtesy flag accompanied by appropriate music.

The approach to Boulogne is straightforward

The Good Ship snugged up ... she's the one with the pink radar reflector. The marina had good facilities and was very welcoming. The only thing to watch out for is the sluicing of the harbour which sets up a fair current through the marina. It's not a problem if you have a weather eye open for it.

Boulogne has a lovely beach

Boulogne is a working fishing port and visitors to the marina are able to enjoy a faint smell of fish. 
Boulogne has an excellent aquarium ... arguably the biggest in the world. Well, it could be the biggest, or the deepest, or the largest surface area, or the most type of fish or something. Anyway, it seemed very good to us.

We think in hindsight this was aimed at younger kids ... well the queue behind us suggested that anyway.

Next stop Dieppe ...

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