Saturday, 29 June 2013

Pin Mill Barge Match, and a trip to Roughs Tower

Today was the annual Pin Mill Barge Match.  I didn't quite arrive in time for the start, but found plenty of action in Harwich harbour.
looking south east out of Harwich harbour
The barges are a majestic sight, especially as they mix with their modern day equivalents - container ships!
Trinity docks as a backdrop

Harwich and the entrance to the Stour 

Barges at play, out at sea

towards Landguard point

entering Harwich harbour

Walton on the Naze in the background
For me, this was a pleasing warm-up for the main event, which was a trip to Roughs Tower.  (It doesn't get an apostrophe on the map either).
Roughs Tower, half-way there, looking east, with approaching container ship in the further distance

End elevation, from the south

front view (Felixstowe Docks in the distance)

Other end elevation (from the north)
  I'll leave wikipedia to chart this history of this strange edifice, firstly by detailing its original purpose and then its bizarre recent history.  Situated 8 miles east of Harwich, out at sea, this place needs a calm day and little wind to entice me, which is why I nearly always end up motoring there and back.  On this occasion, both legs were achieved by 'motor-sailing', but I was glad finally to be shot of the motor, back in Harwich.

Once back at the mooring, it was time to reflect on a long trip....
30.7nm; season's total: 227.1nm
.... and to marvel, once more, at the spectacle of those barges...
Barges moored at Pin Mill

Monday, 24 June 2013

Summer lows!

Typical!  A low pressure system parked over the UK all weekend.  High pressure mid-week...
Passing squall.  Photos always seem to make the sea look smoother!
The only photos to be taken today were from the safety of the cockpit at anchor...
...too busy hanging on at other times...!
The plan had been to go for a cruise this weekend, but forecast winds SW F5-7 on both Saturday and Sunday put paid to that.  In the end, I was grateful for sailing, on both days, along the Orwell anchoring off Trinity Terminal Docks for a while, and then working my way back.

Particularly on Saturday, the Orwell was deserted and conditions looked worse in Harwich harbour.  A ferry managed to collide with Parkestone Quay on Saturday and, much as I'd like to have sailed round to look, put up with a gander at the bbc report.  On both days, hanging out a scrap of jib would have been sufficient, and gave me a top speed of 6 knots running down the Orwell towards the turn at Levington.  On Sunday, I braved using both jib and mizzen, and had a fantastic, if hair-raising reach from the turn to and from Shotley Point.  It was a day, however, for keeping a careful watch on the clouds - when the squalls arrived, they packed a punch and it was no time to be sailing; thankfully, I was at anchor at such times.

7.3nm Saturday, (yellow track), 7.4nm Sunday (red track); Season's total 196.2nm
Further photos have been added to the Wells-next-the Sea rally, including a dropbox link to several hundred pictures!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Return to the Orwell, 16 June

Following a couple of hugely enjoyable Drascombe Association rallies, it was good to return to base.

Things were not entirely straightforward, however.  Firstly, neap tides meant a lack of water to launch at Pin Mill and, whilst this hasn't stopped me in the past dry-launching onto the mud, this method is not without its trials: for one, it has the potential to grind off some anti-fouling from the hull.  So, I played it safe and launched, at some expense, upstream at Woolverstone Marina.  Perfectly straightforward slip, but vastly under-used, and one can see why when I was charged £29.75 for a one-way launch.  I'm sure such steep charges are intended to put off custom and this is a real shame since they have plenty of room for laying up, sufficient space for two or three boats to launch at once.  They could make much more from this if charges were reduced and a handy jetty was built to tie up temporarily whilst removing car and trailer.  This is the first time I've used this slip and, all being well, 'twill be the last for some years...

Today's log was hampered by a boat having parked itself on my mooring which meant lumbering up and down with dinghy in tow until a message was received from the boatyard to put the boat on any vacant mooring.  At this point, it was time to go home anyway, exactly the point when the wind decided to pick up to a reasonable blow.  
However, hampered sailing is better than no sailing...  Hopefully, the weather will hold for reasonable sailing next weekend and beyond.
3.9nm; season's total 181.5nm

Sunday, 9 June 2013

Wells-next-the-Sea Drascombe Association Rally, 7-9 June, 2013

Luggers Piper and Snowgoose in Holkham Bay
Finally, I made it to a Wells-next-the-Sea rally, previous efforts being defeated by a blown turbo about 7 years ago, followed by several years of clashes with other rallies. It was well worth the wait!

Wells-next-the-Sea, approaching from the North Sea
Sailing at Wells is governed by tidal windows which are comparatively brief.  There were two sailing opportunities on Saturday - early morning and evening.  Admiral's orders were to be ready to set sail at 06.05 on Saturday morning.  Oddly enough, this was just about the only time the sun shone!
A trio of coasters at 05:15, Saturday morning, ready for the forthcoming fleet action.
So, at 06:05 on 8 June, we set sail.  The original aim had been to make a two-tide trip to Burnham Overy, drying out over lunchtime and then sailing back in the early evening.  North-easterly winds put paid to that idea.  Instead, having motored out of Wells harbour, we had the most marvellous time reaching one way and another in Holkham Bay.  The log demonstrates a determined effort to colour in this area over the three sails (Saturday morning, evening and Sunday morning).  Google Earth's weirwolf-like image of the extensive sandbank, known as "Bob Hall's Sand," framing this shoreline shows why, despite the north-easterly wind, the bay remains fairly sheltered.  Waves were increasingly pronounced the further north west we ventured.
Google Earth image of sailing track.  The town of Wells-next-the-Sea is at the left hand foot of the image, and we were based at the pontoon next to the quay here.  The image shows the relatively new construction of the outer harbour, which is for vessels servicing various shoal wind farms springing up in the North Sea.  This has made necessary the dredging of a new channel from the outer harbour - controversial since it has made the leisure sailing area in Holkham Bay less accessible for some.  The channel from the outer harbour south to the town has also been redirected since my older chart had been published.  Fortunately, I've downloaded the new 2013 version onto my Imray ipad app - expensive but (I keep trying to convince myself) absolutely necessary!
Saturday morning (white track: 10.9nm), Saturday evening (red track: 6.1nm), Sunday morning (green track: 6.4nm); total 23.4nm: season's total 177.6nm.

Winds were a consistent north easterly F4, and the bay provided plenty of waves for fun without being overwhelming for Drascombes - in fact, perfect Drascombing weather (excepting the lack of sunshine!).  During the course of three sails, I managed to take various snaps, together with some video footage.
Various Drascombes in Holkham Bay
Lugger What-knot 
Longboat Cruiser Alouette

Lugger Jimbo heeling
Lugger Jimbo and crew!
Various Drascombe shots
Blue hulled lugger - Tamarisk
Lugger Snowgoose with majestic, dual batten-roached main and mizzen sails
Lugger Piper
Longboat cruiser Alouette
Lugger What-knot
Coaster Liberty Jane
Lugger Piper chasing Scaffie Honeysuckle Rose
Coaster Gabriel Oak
And, finally, a picture of Daisy II, kindly sent by the skipper of Jimbo.
Coaster Daisy II, (picture kindly provided by Yann, skipper of Jimbo)
Later on Saturday, I walked over to see what it all looks like at low tide...
Holkham Bay at low tide
Complimentary moorings on the pontoons were kindly provided by the harbour master at Wells.
Pontoon moorings at Wells, with the town quay beyond

What's in a name?
On Saturday evening, following a second sail, we were treated to a picnic barbecue on the beach near the bay, an area cunningly known as 'Big Gap Dunes'.
Approaching the barbecue
Barbecue at Big Gap Dunes

Beached Drascombes!
(as another contributor noted) the patent Drascombe Galley (photo courtesy of Richard and Carol Clammer)
After a third sail on Sunday morning, it was sadly time to be on our way!
Drascombe departures from the public slip, Wells-next-the-Sea.  I bided my time with this one - this is a steep slip, particularly at the top and with little room for manoeuvre, leading as it does onto a narrow road.  There is a driveway opposite which could come in handy as an escape road!   All boats were safely recovered; I still managed to shave a couple of thousand miles from the front tyres when pulling Daisy II and trailer onto the level road.
The other feature of this trip was the successful debut of the new mizzen boom!
New mizzen boom debut
Postscript (added 24th June 2013)
Since writing this post, copious quantities of other photos have come to light, gathered together in this dropbox file.
In particular, several pictures of Daisy II in action.  So few photos come to light, it is always good to share; so, here goes:
launching at Wells public slipway

Sailing in Holkham Bay


sizzling 'summer'  barbecue...