We had a fairly vigorous sail from Whitehaven to Piel Island, with heavy showers, and squalls up to 36kts apparent. The wind hardly dropped below a force 6 all day, and after a rather worrying time at Piel ( dragging the anchor in strong wind and tide ), decided to make a run for Fleetwood. We didn't expect to arrive in time for the marina lock, but it was a bit deflating to miss it by about 10 minutes ( at 0300 in the morning ! ). Having picked up the stern of a small training lifeboat which was moored in the river, and been yanked around for another 3 hours, we decided to put 'NJ' on the beach. We dried out at 0630, so we knew that we would have about 4 hours before floating off again, so at least we could put our heads down for a while. Later in the next morning the small lifeboat we had moored to was driven off to the training facility just down river, and we were visited by one of the staff who were just checking that we were OK. We picked up a free mooring, which we hadn't seen in the dark of the early hours, and waited until the lock gates opened. Once through the lock NJ was moored alongside where she had been previously, and we then retired to catch up on sleep. Later in the day we went to see the marina office, and booked in for the winter. Over the next few days the sails were removed, along with the stack pack, which needed a few minor repairs, and the dinghy was packed away. We then moved to the pontoon berth which we had chosen, and secured 'NJ' for the winter. Every month or so we will drive over to Fleetwood and check that all is well, and take the opportunity to finish a few jobs, but for now the season is over.
Norman James out.