My Dunkirk Trip - Gareth Davies

Endeavour amid other Dunkirk Little Ships 
in Dunkirk’s inner harbour

I was lucky enough to get a place on the Endeavour’s trip to Dunkirk and sailed on the Leigh to Ramsgate and Ramsgate to Dunkirk legs.
I’ve lived in Leigh all of my life, apart from a short period after I married Julia and we thought we should break free. We made it all the way to Hornchurch!  After two years of being landlocked we could bear it no longer and returned to Leigh.

I sailed dinghies as a youngster and as an adult and I have been an obsessive windsurfer for the last 35 years, so it was a great chance to try something different, and to sail on the Endeavour. I also wanted to go on this particular trip for personal reasons as my Mum’s favourite brother and my favourite uncle, Jack served in the BEF and was evacuated from Dunkirk 75 years ago.

The Leigh to Ramsgate leg was exciting as the weather was very changeable due to squally gusts and with the jib supplementing the engine we recorded a top speed of 11 knots, got up on the plane and surfed some of the waves.

We spent two nights in Ramsgate and enjoyed a splendid crews’ dinner on the first night, and an excellent Italian restaurant meal on the second night – Paul and I partook of the T bone steaks!

The Ramsgate to Dunkirk crossing saw good weather with little wind and lots of sun, so was pretty much perfect, apart from a DFDS ferry approaching Dunkirk, which had some of the smaller river boats needing to take action to try and avoid the swell.

The ceremonies and dinner in Dunkirk were very good and I was particularly impressed with the time devoted to these events by HRH Prince Michael of Kent, who was there for the whole time and told a joke at the dinner.

The Endeavour departed for Ostend on Monday but I didn’t join them and I got a lift on the Coronia
as I needed to get back home. Unfortunately it has little keel so along with many other boats from the fleet, due to the bad weather, we had to return to port and I, along with 3 other people doing the same, caught a train to Calais, P&O ferry to Dover, trains to Stratford, West Ham and finally to Leigh, which was actually quite fun.

Overall I very much enjoyed my first trip on the Endeavour .

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