|Cruising upstream on the River Stour in light winds, Day 2. Fortunately, much of the very evident, rotten inland weather bypassed this part of the east coast!|
|A 'still, small voice of calm' stretched out in the Landermere Creek, Walton Backwaters|
One of the Drascombe folk at the recent Rutland Water rally commented that, when it comes to planning good weather, I had much to learn. After this week, I'm beginning to wonder whether he may have a point. In actual fact, whilst a low pressure system containing torrential rain parked itself over the East of England for the first three days, I only had a serious soaking on the first day, the remaining deluges occurring overnight. Sunshine was in short supply, however, and ominous-looking clouds continually threatened from all quarters. Oddly, however, with the exception of the final sail, wind was in short supply. Day three involved exceptionally slow and patient sailing in which, with the luxury of time on my side, I was happy to indulge.
|Total distance, 72.0nm. Day 1: yellow; Day 2: red; Day 3: white; Day 4: blue.|
Day 1: 27th May, Pin Mill to Landermere Creek, Walton Backwaters
This trip involved two enforced stops whilst heavy showers passed by. At the second of these, I watched, through the mist, the marvel of a container ship docking.
What makes a picture? Fair weather helps....
|An arriving container ship almost lost in today's drizzle.|
|What it can look like, when the weather behaves... (taken some time last year!)|
|At anchor, Landermere Creek at the upper end of Hamford Water, Walton Backwaters. Sea and sky meeting at the mouth of this delightful, sheltered sailing area.|
Yesterday's weather, together with fairly continuous overnight rain and further drizzle in the morning resulted in damp gear! I had a lazy start, taking in some reading, lots of breakfast, a bit of brunch and slow communications via an iphone with minimal signal.
Absolutely no wind this morning so, in the absence of a good pair of oars, I used the motor to explore the upper reaches of the Walton Backwaters.
an interesting history. The stones for the quay were apparently from Old London Bridge which was handily being demolished when the quay was being constructed in 1832. It's difficult to imagine this quiet, inaccessible place as a centre of trade.
|Beaumont Quay, with stones taken from Old London Bridge|
|The skeleton of an old Thames Barge, a haunting relic of the former importance of this trading outpost.|
|Sailing slowly past Parkestone Quay, Harwich|
|Intended anchorage reached around 7pm - on the west side of Wrabness.|
Day 3: 29th May, visit to Manningtree; return to Walton Backwaters
A lazy start whilst the lunchtime tide allowed access to the upper reaches of the Stour. Winds picked up from where they left off yesterday - light and easterly. Around three hours before HW, I glided round Mistley Quay, still shamefully and utterly inelegantly fenced off to prevent access to cruising boats and, in so doing, destroying any lingering charm this soulless place might once have had.
|Mistley Quay from its most flattering angle. Everything else is shamefully fenced off.|
|Railway viaducts marking the navigational limits of the River Stourr|
And, then, 'hove-to' as I prepare a little late lunch in Copperas Bay:
|A poor advert for clean shipping.|
Day 4: 30th May, return to Pin Mill in lumpy seas!
The calculated risk in returning to the Backwaters was that the forecast F4 NE winds, beginning to gust, would not prevent a return across Dovercourt Bay. These conditions create a very lumpy sea and, in the event, I just about got away with it.
Leaving the anchorage at 6am, I finally made it back to Pin Mill for a late breakfast at around 10.15am! Winds were F4 gusting F5 and the passage back to Harwich did not disappoint with its lumpiness. Daisy II behaved impeccably, of course, and I enjoyed sailing closer to the Harwich shoreline than usual.
In the earlier stages, I managed a couple of pieces of video, one on either tack. Looking back, of course, these pieces of photography never quite seem to capture the conditions.
Later on, as I approached Beacon Cliff breakwater, conditions were much gustier and rather too challenging to be both sailing and filming! I sailed the entire way - once leaving Kirby Creek, I furled the mizzen and used single reefed main and put a couple of rolls in the jib - resolutely denying the outboard any chance of involvement. With the wind on the nose for almost the entire distance, this was one of those memorably challenging sails - rather more pleasant to look back upon than to be involved in at the time - there was a palpable measure of relief once I rounded Collimer Point on the Orwell, with the wind finally on the stern quarter.
|16.2nm, 58 tacks!|