Sunday, 5 February 2017

New sprayhood and other things

It's been a busy few months since I troubled these pages - busy on plenty of non-boating things.  Drascombing activities have been happening, however.  The first was the arrival last week of my  Christmas present of a new sprayhood.
New sprayhood
The original canvas sprayhood was made by a company called Cover2cover in West Sussex.  When I tried to contact them before the yuletide season, their website seemed to be non-functioning.  So, I ordered one from Churchouse Boats.  Mine had to be slightly made slightly differently since it had to incorporate a zip fastening arrangement to attach to my existing cockpit tent, rather different from most Drascombes which use velcro. I don't really use the cockpit tent but, you never know, I may do in future.
The new sprayhood is made from a material called 'weathermax'.  It is altogether lighter and feels less sturdy than the original canvas, but I hope that is just a perception and that it withstands the ravages of usage. Time will tell.  It seems to fit reasonably well.  I may have a go at adjusting the frame just to see if I can achieve slightly more tension in the window area.
And, yes, it's a change in colour scheme from the previous pale cream colour.  Hopefully, this one will look cleaner for longer...!

I've also been busy on association business, organising rallies for the fiftieth anniversary of the first Drascombe.  The East Coast version for this will be held at Suffolk Yacht Harbour on the River Orwell, 9-11 June.
Also, we held our inaugural east coast winter gathering at Southwold on the first Saturday in January.  I thought no-one would turn up but, in the event, it was a merry throng!  We met at Southwold harbour and ate in the Harbour Inn who served us exceptionally well!  It looks as though this will have to be added to the calendar as an annual fixture...
East coast Drascombe gathering, Saturday 7th January, Harbour Inn, Southwold
I'm also selling my old BIC 245 tender on ebay since I doubt very much if I'll ever use it again.  This year, as last, I'll continue to 'trailer-sail' Daisy II rather than use a mooring so I can't see the need for another tender for the foreseeable future.  In the mean time, I still have the Seahopper and an inflatable kayak if I ever need some sort of means of accessing shore.  The thing about Drascombes is that they tend to pull up ashore quite nicely themselves without the need for a tender.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

October half term cruise

Sunrise over Trinity Terminal docks
It's always a noble aim to go cruising during October half term, more often than not thwarted by inclement weather or the holiday lurgy.  This year, the stars seemed to align enabling a three day trip to the old haunts in and around the River Orwell.

44.1nm.  Red track: Wednesday; White track: Thursday; Green track: Friday
Wednesday 26th October - Orwell to Walton Backwaters

'Slippery' way at Woolverstone Marina
The slipway at Woolverstone doesn't improve.  It's still ridiculously expensive and poorly maintained.  At these prices, they could at least scrub the slope free of the slippery algae which sadly makes it a treacherous place under foot.  It's a pity since it is an ideal location with plenty of laying up space.
There was no particular cruising plan this week - just a desire to drift with wind and tide.  Morning tides meant that much of the cruise involved sailing downstream.  Today, this involved sailing into Harwich harbour, the first of two visits to Halfpenny Pier in Old Harwich and then a trip across Dovercourt Bay to Hamford Water - an ever-splendid destination!
Calm conditions in the Orwell

The first of two visits to Halfpenny Pier, Old Harwich
 The SW F3/4 winds lead to a very enjoyable beat into the Walton Backwaters.  Once in Hamford Water, the wind dropped and I motored to a favourite anchorage in Landermere Creek.


Thursday 27th October - Landermere Creek, River Stour, return to the Orwell

Cruises at this time of the year are necessarily curtailed by a shortage of daylight hours, unless one is inclined to sail at night.  I took the daylight option, making good use of the darkness for sleeping!  It also helps to have some programmes downloaded on BBC's iPlayer!

The day began with a trip up to Beaumont Quay, making good use of the remainder of the flood.  I then returned to Harwich for an early lunch at Halfpenny Pier - it makes sense to enjoy this location at this time of the year since it's always far too busy and inaccessible in season.
After lunch, I spent some time beating against both a fickle wind and more predictably solid tide up the Stour before giving up on the wind and resorting to motor for a trip up to Holbrooke.  A glorious return run with the last of the ebb was the reward, prior to anchoring in the Orwell opposite Trinity Terminal docks.
Commercial traffic on the Orwell


Friday 28th October - Orwell cruise

Friday began with a glorious sunrise (pictured above).  I needed to pull the boat out at Woolverstone at HW (11am).  So, the westerly breeze gave me a chance to beat up the Orwell, and enjoy a brief trip past Freston before returning to Woolverstone.  It was great to see Dave in his now much modified coaster Pamela.  His latest additions are metal mast and spars, and a lovely staysail inside the jib.  It's great to see another skipper enjoying the almost limitless sail and rigging possibilities afforded by these brilliant boats.
Coaster Pamela looking resplendent with its much changed rig.


And so ended another cruise, most likely the final trip of the season.  The outboard motor is now safely stowed at Seamark Nunn.  I may well trip over to Rutland Water if time and conditions allow. Let's hope they do...!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Rutland Water, 2nd October

Traditional rig on Rutland Water
The season is fast passing by and, even before allowing for inclement October weather, precious few free days remain in a busy diary. So, it's important to seize the day with a quick Sunday trip to Rutland Water.

Dabber Serendipity from a distance
Let's enjoy the view while we can
|Looking across at the south shore

Monday, 26 September 2016

Hickling Broad, Drascombe Association Rally 23-25 September

Drascombes gather at Potter Heigham for elevenses
In the several years since I've been involved with the Drascombe Association, this remarkable corner of Eastern England has hosted rallies on seven occasions.  Hickling was the venue for the inaugural event seven years ago, and this is now our third time here.
24.4nm Overture: red (Sunday 18th September); Symphony: green (Saturday 24th September); Encore: yellow (Sunday 25th September)
Overture - Sunday 18th September
Daisy II moored at Hickling awaiting the following week's rally
It made sense to head over the Hickling a weekend early, rig and launch Daisy II, ready for the following weekend.  If it were not for work commitments, I'd gladly have spent a week cruising around the many waterways, but that pleasure will have to wait for another year.  For this year, it was good to be able to spend a couple of hours, this afternoon, reaching across the broad, exploring its nether regions.

By arrangement, Daisy II spent the week moored on the staithe adjacent to the very conveniently located Pleasureboat Inn.
Drascombe Association Rally: 23-25 September
The previous time we rallied here with 25 boats.  This time, 8 boats gathered for a rather less busy but no less enjoyable event.  The participating boats were:
Drascombe Driver: On y va
Drascombe Lugger: Rita May
Drascombe Longboat: Jenny Morgan
Drascombe Coasters: Daisy II, Blue Peter, Dottie Two
Drascombe Drifter: Damson
Winkle Brig: Cockle
The weather for this event was, as might be predicted for one of my rallies, rather testing and this made action shots almost impossible.  In addition, the lens on my camera phone was dirty so most of the fare on this blog entry is pretty poor, even by my standards.  However, Peter Waller, as ever managed some great shots which ended up on this thread on the Drascombe forum.

Symphony: Saturday 24th September
The main day always involves a return trip to Horsey Mere.  Winds were southerly F5 gusting F6, so this was a day for reefing.  Nonetheless, it was quite remarkable how well our boats stood up to the conditions.
Blue Peter guarding against F6 gusts with jib and mizzen on Hickling Broad
On y va, a Drascombe Driver - happy family preparing for sailing on Hickling Broad
Lugger Rita May and Winkle Brig Cockle easing along Meadow Dyke before it opens into Horsey Mere

Drifter Damson reaching across Horsey Mere
Cockle on Horsey Mere
Coaster Dottie Two running back to base across Hickling Broad
Daisy II, sporting a double reefed main and reduced jib, spent time reaching across Hickling Broad, waiting for the fleet to assemble.  We then sailed through to Heigham Sound where we used motors for a while, until turning into Meadow Dyke.  It was good to throw up a jib and drift along the dyke to Horsey Mere.  We then enjoyed reaching across Horsey Mere in increasingly gusty conditions prior to stopping at the staithe at Horsey Mill for lunch.
After lunch, we returned to Hickling.  Daisy II had picked up crew in the form of the in-laws!
That evening, a welcome supper was enjoyed in the pub.


Encore - Sunday 25th September
Plans for the Sunday always depend on who needs to travel where.  Dottie Two left at 7am, returning to moorings in the Stalham area. 
Drifter Damson with lowered mast ready for the bridge at Potter Heigham
Jenny Morgan and Damson departed soon after 9.30am, bound for the southern Broads. 
There are some delightful riverside properties -  I attempted a clever reflection picture but without a great deal of success.  That's Daisy II in the living room!

 The remainder of the fleet headed out into Hickling Broad, bound for Potter Heigham for elevenses, prior to returning to Whispering Reeds boatyard, intent on doing battle with its famous crooked slipway!