Saturday, 6 August 2016

Dunkerque

We left Ostend at 8am; the beginning of the west going tide. We were helped in this process by a gentle shove from the harbourmaster's inflatable dinghy to assist Bonita in turning to port under motor. It was bright and sunny but with a wind slightly North of west. However by the time the tide was finished we were in Dunkerque. This makes France the sixth country of Bonita's 2016 North European tour.

We were fascinated to find the Shtandart in port. She was built in Russia and is a reproduction of a 1703 frigate built for Peter the Great. Peter was keen to establish the Russian navy and came to Deptford to learn about shipbuilding.
The Shtandart seems to be a good reproduction, as faithful as is compatible with safety for a seagoing boat. 
She has an active programme, sailing many thousands of miles every year. She was attracting lots of attention today. There was a group of enthusiasts singing sea shanties - sometimes familiar tunes but with the words in French.
Bonita's 1938 Customs clearance certificate
The rather florid certificate above proves Bonita's customs clearance on her first visit to Dunkerque in June 1938. They don't make official documents like they used to. There have been many changes both to the port of Dunkerque and to La République Française since this certificate was issued.