James Stevens weighs up the op­tions:

Yachting Monthly - - SAILING SKILLS -

They'd have a crack­ing sail across, a broad reach in sun­shine, in a Force 4-5 – fast, and easy to en­sure a le­gal and sim­ple tran­sit of the ship­ping lanes.

How­ever, the pas­sage home is very dif­fer­ent. Although the vis­i­bil­ity is good, a strong head­wind means a long and tir­ing beat home. Cross­ing the ship­ping lane is le­gal un­der sail but bet­ter at right an­gles un­der power – un­com­fort­able and dif­fi­cult against a head sea. With only two on board, fa­tigue is go­ing to take its toll even with the au­topi­lot.

There is clearly pres­sure to leave on such a fine day and for the so­cial ac­tiv­i­ties in Os­tend, but there is a heavy price to pay on the way back. Bet­ter to stay on the English side and go on a coastal cruise on the weather shore. If it was re­ally im­por­tant to get across then the only sen­si­ble op­tion would be to come back via ferry and leave the yacht there, which is never very sat­is­fac­tory. Look­ing at GRIBs to get an­other view is a good idea but don’t fall into the trap of trawl­ing web­sites un­til you find one that gives you the fore­cast you want.

The Bavaria 40 is a spa­cious boat be­low decks. She’s cer­tainly no stripped-out speed­ster but she’s not a heavy off­shore cruiser ei­ther. Both main and genoa are furl­ing and she has no in­ner stay for a blade jib

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