Saturday, 28 June 2014

Orwell in the rain...

Slow moving thunderstorms dominating the day...
...and, by all accounts, things could have been worse....much worse.  The drive back home along the A14 was manic and, on returning home, St Ives had developed multiple mini-floods.  As it happens on today's short boat trip, rain was forecast and, whilst it didn't disappoint, I certainly had the best of the day.

In a light F3 southerly breeze, Daisy II eased down the Orwell, through a couple of showers as far as the turn.  A few tacks later, it made sense to stop for lunch as another shower came through.  Looking back towards Pin Mill, though, things looked much worse.
The forecast was for worsening conditions in the afternoon although the wind had, by now, dwindled to nothing.  So, in becalmed conditions, I motored back to the mooring and was pleased that the outboard, for once, behaved impeccably.

Last week's poppies still in bloom, almost changing the colour of the water
No wind.  By the return to Pin Mill, further storm clouds had gathered.
It was wonderful, later that day, to receive some pictures of Daisy II as I was motoring back to the mooring, captured from shore by Dave who is skipper of coaster Pamela Jean.
becalmed return to the mooring captured from shore
And, whilst on the subject, he also sent this picture of my return from another recent cruise.  Another day, very different conditions!
Return from a cruise a few weeks ago.
Storms then saw me off the river and, judging by the drive home, timing was just about right.
The next three weekends will feature limited day sailing since concerts have been booked for the skipper at various points.  So much for my objective not to make music during summer months...

Saturday, 21 June 2014

June 21st: longest day...

...and also the skipper's birthday weekend.  So, perfect excuses, with pleasant, warm weather, to undertake a long day-sail.

Winds were variable F3/4, westerly for the first part of the day, swinging round to north westerly for my return to Harwich later in the day and then north easterly, sailing back towards Collimer Point on the Orwell.
Camera action was decidedly wayward, today - just couldn't get decent focus and picture quality.  Maybe time for an upgrade.  This feast of poppies was a delight, sadly not well represented in the picture...
For the first time in a few years, I called in at Halfpenny Pier, Harwich and had an early lunch.
Daisy II moored at Halfpenny Pier
Panorama of Harwich harbour - doesn't quite work...!
birthday lunch...
After lunch, I had no plans but plenty of time to sail.  So, with westerly winds, the Walton Backwaters seemed a reasonable target.  After reaching Hamford Water, I turned back for home, reducing my rig to full main with a couple of rolls in the jib and furled mizzen.  This made for much more relaxing cruising.

Whilst sailing out of the Walton Channel, I met Daisy II's twin sister Valentine and crew making their first trip into this delightful corner of the east coast, bound for Titchmarsh Marina.  Lucky them!
Coaster Valentine approaching the Walton Backwaters
Coaster Valentine with excited young crew!
I well remember my first trip across Dovercourt Bay to the Walton Backwaters - the first real bit of navigation I ever did.  This was my second ever sail in Daisy II, Easter 2007.  I sailed out of Harwich harbour for the first time, found the Pye End marker and then turned west towards the Walton Channel.  Very few other boats were about and, just as Ransome described in his book Secret Water, the Walton Backwaters, almost by magic, opened out; I sailed into Kirby Creek and picked up a vacant mooring for the night and, as I recall, endured a very, very cold night!  
Since then, I've enjoyed many such trips across Dovercourt Bay: this particular destination, even as today for the briefest of visits, remains my favourite.

Beating back into Harwich harbour, it was fun sailing close to the container ships!
Latest addition to Drascombes at Pin Mill: coaster Bounty
It really does seem that the local Drascombe population is approaching 'fleet' proportions.  At the latest count, we have no fewer than 5 coasters (Daisy II, Pamela Jean, Windsong, Valentine, Bounty), 2 luggers and 2 longboats at Pin Mill or just upstream at Royal Harwich Yacht Club/Woolverstone Marina.  Dinghy classes aside, I doubt if there is another more popular boat make.

21.8nm, top speed 6.9 knots

Sunday, 15 June 2014

No sailing this weekend...

...but, nonetheless, always on the mind!  Yesterday's picture posted on Facebook by the skipper of Coaster Valentine.
Looking forward to more action next weekend; fingers crossed for fair winds!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Saturday 7th June, late afternoon sail

June looks very much as though it is going to be a frustrating month, in terms of other commitments marginalising sailing opportunities.  Knowing that next weekend will be busy and that a concert is planned for tomorrow, it was important to take advantage of Saturday's evening tide, despite a lousy forecast which was talking in terms of 'monsoon rains' - fortunately over-hyped as ever.
Winds were F3 SW, initially with some stronger gusts, but dwindling to nothing beyond 6pm.  There was plenty of time for a gentle sail upstream with the neap tide towards the Orwell Bridge, and then returning.

Whilst on the water, there was a welcome and surprisingly rare opportunity for a good look at a Bayraider in action - couldn't really tell the length, possibly 17 foot?  She looked like a splendid boat - not quite the graceful lines of a Drascombe, but very much in the same spirit and, I understand, with some very compelling safety features - 'rightability' paramount amongst these.  I prefer the cabined 'Baycruiser' versions but much enjoyed seeing this boat today.

Bayraider on the Orwell
 Other things of note include the return of Lugger Morwenna to her mooring at RHYC, a companion for coaster Valentine, whose new cockpit cover was seen and admired.  A replacement for Daisy II's cover is being planned.
Lugger Morwenna has returned to her mooring opposite RHYC, a companion for Valentine
Whilst I have enjoyed this sail on countless occasions, this stretch of water never fails to disappoint and, even for a couple of hours on the water, is always worth the lengthy road trip either side.  Three sails hoisted in all their glory.
Regretfully, no sailing next weekend but planned sailing on the 'longest day' the following week!