Boulevard de la Résistance
Arriving at Calais harbour:
A nice steady easterly breeze had taken us to Calais in just about 4 hours. Arriving at the port entrance we dropped Peregrine's sails out of the fairway and sheltered from the ebb tide just to the west of the "Jetée Ouest". A necessary formality before entering the harbour is to call up the harbour control "Calais port" on the VHF channel 12 to ask permission to enter.
Calais is a very busy ferry port and quite small inside with limited room for manoeuvre. There are IPTS signals at the harbour mouth and at the entry to the "Arriere-Port" where the yacht basin is located. These signals must be obeyed with no exemptions for small boats.
Once we had permission, we drove the boat round to the yacht basin keeping the "Jetée Ouest" close to starboard, bearing starboard round the fort (Fort Risban) to find the yellow conical visitors waiting buoys.
Yachts berth in the "Port du Plaisance", which unfortunately is only accessible for two hours before high water and one hour after, or moor on one of the waiting buoys. The lock and swing bridge open at specific times before and after high water.
We were extraordinarily lucky, because the swing bridge and lock gate into "Port du Plaisance" opened just as we arrived and we were able to drive straight in. The visitors berths are on your starboard side on entry, opposite the "Yacht Club Du Nord" clubhouse, and it is quite likely that you will have to raft up with other boats on the pontoon. There are further berths on the port side on entry, but they are a long way up and will require a very long walk to get to the facilities in the clubhouse.
The facilities in the clubhouse are very clean and modern.
It is a good deal for the €10 it cost us for a 12m boat, this low cost is most likely because of the inconvenience of the restricted access.
Calais and it's restaurants are a short walk away, and we chose one of the closest
"Le Detroit" for an excellent meal.
Lock times are displayed at the clubhouse office so that you can plan your departure. On your exit from "Port du Plaisance" be aware that there are another set of IPTS signals, on your starboard side on the quay, controlling access to the "Arriere-Port". These signals will not change to green unless you call "Calais port" on the VHF and ask for permission to leave. Harbour control are too busy shuffling ferries in and out to look out for any small boats that are waiting to leave! We stopped at Calais again on our return voyage, and arriving late and at low tide we moored to a visitors buoy and stayed the night on it. There is a pontoon in the yacht basin to enable you to come ashore and tie up your tender, but the steps up to the quay side are extremely slippery. One of our party slipped on them returning from another good night in Calais and ended up very wet indeed.
Calais Yacht Club