Saturday, 10 August 2013

August 10th: a trip along The Wallet

Today was about pushing some boundaries.  As far as day sails go, this was longer than anything else I had planned.  I had also never 'day-sailed' along The Wallet:  an inshore waters passage (swatchway) in the Thames estuary connecting the various tributaries of Harwich Haven with the Blackwater estuary.  Venture too far out to sea, and one hits the Gunfleet Sands, now one of a growing legion of windfarms.  Hit it with the tide in your favour, and enjoy the ride!

I intend cruising the Blackwater later this month, weather permitting.  Today was a sort of trial run in terms of the necessary trip along the coast.  Tides and weather were right for an early start, so I left home at 5am and was casting off the mooring soon after 7am, taking the last hour of the ebb out of the Orwell, and then picking up the fresh flood tide along The Wallet.  The incoming tide runs at a good 2 knots in places, particularly past Walton-on-the Naze and Frinton-on-Sea, so speeds in excess of 7 knots were possible even in today's calm conditions.
In the event, there was a good westerly F3-4 breeze to take me almost all of the way to the Blackwater - certainly, it was in full view - one more sequence of tacks and I could have been cruising up the River Colne towards Brightlingsea - as I reluctantly turned round for the run back home.  On the return trip, winds disappeared -as per forecast - passing Frinton, so I used the outboard for the remainder of the return trip.  All in all, 46.2nm in one day must be a record for me.
46.5nm; season's total: 455.7nm.
The Naze tower - how long before the flood defences give way?
Walton on the Naze pier plus town, highlighted by the sun
Clacton on Sea plus pier

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