Sunday, 10 June 2012

June 10th, calm after the storm...

11.5nm; season's total 144.8nm

Following several days of high winds and rain - a 'European Monsoon', we are told - it was time to get back to some sailing.
 This was a strange track!  I had nowhere in particular to go, and a whole afternoon in which to achieve it.  Winds were light - F2-3, and the tide was against me, but I decided to see how far I could go tacking my way against wind and tide, and experimenting with both short and long tacks.

As ever, something decided not to work: on this occasion, the echo sounder was not playing.  When I inspected it, the device normally sits in a pot of oil but this was empty and seemed to have leaked itself dry.  I'm not really in a position to fix this until later in the summer.  I have temporarily refilled it, and it now works, but will have to monitor this over the coming weeks.

Winds were so light, I was able to leave the helm and take a few snaps from strange positions.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Early June trips

June 2nd, 8.2nm 

June 4 Red track 10.7nm; June 5 green, 12.9nm
The season's total now stands at 133.3nm.

A half term holiday, and a chance to catch up on some sailing.  June 2nd (purple track) was a quick trip to check Daisy II was still afloat.  Fortunately, she was - last week's leak seems to have stopped - presumably whichever 'gap' has clogged  up with a bit of silt, a bit more of salt and some general hull expansion in the water!

Then, on June 4-5, I took a trip over to the Backwaters.  Looking at the forecast for the next few days, this may be my only window for an overnighter for a while.On June 4th, I arrived at the boat early afternoon, and sailed all afternoon (red track) arriving at Landemere Creek at around 5pm.  
Deben Lugger Debutante
On the way, I saw Rachel and Charles in what I gathered at the time, from our passing conversation, is their new boat.  Since then, following some email correspondence, I understand their lugger Cutty Stark, which looked a real picture last year on the Norfolk Broads rally with its white sails, is still going to be sailed by Rachel, and that Debutante is Charles's birthday present.
I took the ebb out of the Orwell, initially sailing with jib and mizzen; wind was northerly.  Somewhere before Harwich harbour, I raised a reefed main and, at various points thereafter, fiddled with various combinations of main with (occasionally reefed) jib and mizzen.  All good fun!
Porthole view 1
At anchor in Landemere Creek,  I tried some shots through the various porthole windows from the cabin - having first cleaned the windows inside and out.  It's difficult to make my point and shoot camera focus on the view, and not the frame, or the glass itself!  However, I rather enjoyed these pictures which capture something of the atmosphere of this magical place.
Porthole view 2

Porthole view 3 - other boats at anchor
Of course, I was not alone.  By the beginning of the next day, I counted 9 other boats at anchor in Hamford Water, but none was able to reach my secluded and much shallower anchorage.  It was a real pleasure watching the wildlife, somewhat less of a pleasure listening to the incessant sound of roosting gulls which continued throughout the night!!
Inside out - organised chaos...

Midnight sun.
The intention was to get some sleep but, having gone to bed at 9pm, I gave up at midnight and took some snaps.  This picture does not really do justice to the light which was very 'blue'. I was sorely tempted to go for a night sail but this will have to wait until another time.  There was virtually no wind, and the tides weren't quite right - plus I wasn't certain of the state of the batteries in my portable navigation lights...
Seals very active!
 A trip to the Walton Backwaters usually yields at least one view of a seal.  On this trip, there were several, including this one having an early morning mud-bath!

The return trip (green track above) began at 7am with engine since there was no wind.  I thought about calling in at Stone Point, but the early flood was racing around here, and there was little room for a landing at this low state of tide.  The forecast was for F3-4 southerly winds, and these duly arrived at some point in Dovercourt Bay.  So, I switched off the engine, and sailed with reefed main, jib and mizzen back through Harwich, into the Orwell, and then anchored briefly opposite Woolverstone Marina prior to returning to the mooring.  As forecast, winds by then had topped F5 and were increasing, so, being a cautious sailor, I very much had the best of the conditions I prefer.
Mizzen masthead extension.
Following comments on a thread concerning mizzen mast extensions on the Drascombe Forum, I took a picture of my effort.  All I can say is that it works...!