Wednesday, 30 June 2010

June 27th Orwell

Took a trip downstream into a South Easterly.  Welcome sail in F3-4 wind, balmy conditions.  Infinitely better than watching England lose to Germany...  Fortunately, many fellow sailors seemed to have disagreed and the river was pleasantly devoid of traffic.

Reefed main, at first, then shook out reef until close to Levington, where the wind picked up towards F5.  Picnic off Levington, and then a pleasant run back to the mooring.  Sister-in-law, Gilly, helmed all of the way except for the final stretch back to the mooring - her first time helming a Drascombe, which goes to show what a wonderful boat Daisy II is to learn to sail on.

6.8nm.  Season's total now stands at 154.6nm.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

June 12th - Orwell day sail

14.7nm, and a pleasant rehearsal for the forthcoming Drascombe association rally based at Levington marina in July.  Wind was F4 northerly with some interesting gusts.  Sailed against the tide from mooring to an early lunchtime anchorage opposite Trinity container terminal.  Then, continued around Shotley point, and down the Stour.  Then, taking the ebb out through Harwich harbour, resorted to engine for the first time, returning to the Orwell.  Motored up to Collimer Point, and then sailed most of the way back against the tide.
Total distance for season, now 147.8nm.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

June 2nd-4th early summer cruise

The half term holiday granted a perfect opportunity to set sail for a couple of nights.  The original plan was to head SE to the Blackwater estuary.  However, prevailing NE winds left a generally loppy sea state, so such a trip has had to be postponed.  Instead, I stuck to local waters and did a little 'scouting' of the potential routes for a Drascombe Rally which I am organising in July. 

The tracks show the various legs of the trip.  In red, the outward bound leg took me to a favourite anchorage in the Walton Backwaters, just to the west of Honey Island.  From here land can easily be reached using my latest toy, an inflatable kayak.  A 1.5mile sea wall walk took me past Kirby Quay (pictured) to the curiously named village of Kirby le Soken, where a handy pub provided some liquid refreshment.

On the following day, a (for me) restrictive sea state led to the definitive abandonment of any hopes of reaching Brightlinsea, so I headed back across Dovercourt Bay and up the Stour (yellow line).  I briefly called in at Halfpenny pier, but all the berths were taken, so I kept going.  Lunch in Holbrook Bay was followed by an inspection of the landing points off Wrabness, and then a long series of tacks against the tide (green line).  Initially, in a fresh and rather gusty F4 breeze, I used just jib and mizzen but, by about the 6th tack a reefed main was added, and progress was steady against the flood.  By the time I was adjacent to the Harwich ferry terminals, high tide had been reached, the reef was shaken out and I was able to round Shotley point and then sail back against the tide up to my mooring for a second night on board.  A curious rig has been placed in the middle of the River Stour, adjacent to the Harwich ferry terminals.  Can't help wondering what that is for...!

Chris, skipper of Abana (and son Jonty) invited me aboard for evening drinks - a few too many, I fear. 
Up early on the last day, the white track shows a series of exhilarating tacks with the ebbing tide (for a change) back down the Orwell and across Harwich harbour for a second, more successful assault on Halfpenny pier.  The final blue track took me back across the harbour and up the Orwell, with the new flood tide, for a late lunchtime anchorage opposite Freston, and then a brief motor back to the mooring.
Total track was 60.2nm, and the total for the season now stands at 133.1nm (as measured by GPS - there seem to have been a few rounding errors in previous calculations...).