I’d made contact with the marina via email months in advance for a haul-out booking and a one month stay. Assured that all I need to do was show up on the specified date, I discovered that reservations are rather pointless as it’s simply first in, first served.
Good thing I won that little morning regatta (even if I did cheat a little).
After curt formalities at the reception desk, the manager was called over to deal with my (special) requirements. Expecting difficulties, I was pleasantly surprised to have everything competently sorted out in less that 5 minutes.
In the light of dawn Alexandria exhibited its curious and somewhat tumbledown nature. Visits by sailing vessels are reasonably rare since cruising the Egyptian coast is generally thought to be an expensive bureaucratic nightmare. You are much better off arriving in one place and staying put because each movement must be accompanied by a repeat of seemingly endless paperwork and fees.
Yacht Club of Egypt
Having said that, the members of the Yacht Club of Egypt were extremely helpful and made our stay most pleasant. We were able to use all the clubs facilities, have a driver assigned for a visit to Giza and to ferry my multitude of jerry cans to refuel with Diesel, which by the way is so inexpensive at 15 Euro cents a litre that I’m considering importing it ;-). It was all very easy and quite affordable.
I stayed 5 days and for 5 days Eileen of Avoca was the talk of the local sailing community. Many an enthusiast in the club came to admire her and comment on her design.
Unfortunately sailing for club members is now restricted to the Laser and to the Optimist dinghy. Only 3 larger sailing vessels belong to individual club members and none has moved in years.
I had arranged for a friend to join me for the last leg to Belgium and he arrived by train just in time to leave by the first opening of the lock at 13:28. As there was still little in the way of wind, I motored to Nieuwpoort. The complimentary tidal stream coupled with occasional use of the foresails provided a brisk 8 knots SOG giving us an approximate ETA of 19:30. Navigation was a cinch and involved little more than following the shipping channel buoys (keeping the line of red buoys to starboard). With innumerable sandbanks and accompanying shallow water, I imagine this must be a tough trip in unsettled conditions. The scenery is nothing to write home about and the only event of note other than the occasional passing freighter was a visit by the French coastguard, who seemed content to look me over before speeding off to do more important things. They probably left me alone because I wasn’t flying a British ensign.
There are no formalities when entering Nieuwpoort, just motor in and follow one of the visitor signs. While KYCN are still furiously renovating for the coming season, I chose their offering in the old harbour (keep right) and had no regrets with the decision (see http://www.kycn.be/en/home.html).