Humber Barge Waterdog
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The forecast on Sept 20th was NW3-4 becoming variable 2-3 with 0.5m waves.

High water would be at 15:30 in Nieuwpoort.

The harbour has a 1 nautical mile long dredged channel to the open sea so, after exiting the last lock we pushed against the incoming tide to reach the open sea by 14:00.

And so to sea with Waterdog rolling from the start in a confused swell, (the waves were in no particular direction) so we couldn’t choose a comfortable heading to steer. We settled down to 4 hour watches, but staggered, so that during your 4 hours on, you had a different partner for the first 2 hours to the second 2 hours. From mid-afternoon, you could go below and rest during your 4 hours off, so that you could be alert for your watch.

We had chosen to head straight across the North sea rather than follow the Dunkerque channel and then across to North Foreland, because the direct crossing was the shortest route and we could then avoid the busiest, or most compressed, area of shipping in the world. Our route was further complicated by the numerous TSS’s (Traffic Separation Schemes) that lay along our course.

The picture to the right is a snap shot from Marine Traffic showing our track from Nieuwpoort, to Harwich and then into the River Deben.