Friday, 25 July 2014

End of term mini-cruise: 23-24 July

Free at last...(from term time...)
Such is the lot of a teacher, summer holidays lead to cruising opportunities the like of which other working-folk could possibly only dream...
On Wednesday, the boss let us out at lunchtime and, by 4.30pm, I was at Pin Mill, rowing to the boat with 40 litres of freshly filled water cans, a 5 litre top up can of petrol and sufficient equipment and provisions for an overnight stop somewhere.  In truth, the water and fuel is in preparation for the big cruise starting on Monday.  It also acts as ballast in that I arrange the water on the cabin floor around the centre case; it certainly helps stiffen up the boat given that I usually sail single-handed.

Winds were NE F4 and, as is often the case, I began tentatively.  Using jib and mizzen I sailed close-hauled, against the flood and initially with the outboard ticking over, down the Orwell.  I switched off the outboard opposite Levington and it wasn't troubled again for the entire trip.  Sailing around Shotley point the tide was now in my favour as Daisy II reached up the Stour.  One can be certain that jib and mizzen will do when speed tops out at 6.5kts in such conditions.

In winds of this direction, I calculated correctly on a smoothish night at anchor in Holbrook bay close to the eastern side.
Overnight victuals...
Sunset over Holbrook School
The sail back on 24th July, again, was characterised by NE winds, F3 initially, more like F4 as I reached Harwich harbour.  It was a wonderful beat up the Stour against the remaining flood under full sail.  As I returned to the Orwell, I hove-to briefly to furl the mizzen and put a few furls in the jib since some stronger gusts were coming across.  Once around Collimer Point, mizzen was unfurled and I had a lovely run back to the mooring.  Along the way, there a Drascombe was sighted - not sure which one but wonder if it is the longboat kept up at Woolverstone?  Happy for anyone to let me know!
Unidentified Drascombe (sailing too fast for me to catch up...)!
I also spotted my next trailer-sailing option, although I do worry about coping with the roping!

Tall ship with copious rope!
20.1nm, top speed 6.5kts

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Summer cruise prep

Cruising recently has been foiled by a combination of scheduled concerts and bad weather.  Last week's window of opportunity looked like this:
Mirror Dinghy in still wind, rowing through a thunderstorm off Manningtree.
It wasn't only the rain: there was virtually no wind.  Several slow moving thunderstorms funnelled through Essex and Suffolk, successful in their bid to call a stop to sailing.  Still, having for the first time taken the opportunity to view the Stour from 'dry' land, the weather did eventually clear sufficiently for this panoramic view of Dovercourt Bay, often crossed by Daisy II as she sails between Harwich and Walton Backwaters.
Panoramic view of Dovercourt Bay
July 28th is the scheduled departure date for the summer cruise.  Today there was a welcome opportunity not only to sail but also to service some key pieces of kit, not least amongst them being the battery which hasn't been charged since the last launching at the end of May.  I also keep a number of 5 litre bottles of water, together with a 25 litre water tank; these needed to be cleaned through and refilled with fresh water.  The contents are only ever used for boiling in cooking and cleaning.  Fresh water comes from smaller bottles purchased in supermarkets.  All bottles have the handy second function of providing ballast, since they are arranged around - or, in the case of the large tank, forward of - the centre case.

Otherwise, today's sail was all about being afloat, sailing with no particular plan in mind and for as long as conditions allowed.  In the event, the forecast mid-afternoon rain failed to materialise and I sailed non-stop from mid morning until 5.30pm.
Key highlight of the day was seeing the latest Drascombe arrivals on the Orwell.  Coaster: Swift Tern in its unusual shade of pale blue has joined others at RHYC.
Coaster: Swift Tern
Meanwhile, lugger Millie has returned to her mooring at Pin Mill.
Lugger Millie
On 21st June, I wrote:
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.
So, to that list we can now add a sixth coaster and a third lugger!

I also met coaster Pamela Jean returning to the Orwell from an adventure somewhere.
Coaster Pamela Jean returning to the Orwell

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Sunday 7th July - specs overboard!

Wet morning, dry afternoon.  Winds F3 SW at most.

Today's 'event' was the loss of a good pair of spectacles once I had returned to the mooring.  A flapping mainsail whipped them overboard.  Every good sea scout should have a reserve pair - I promised to do my best but obviously can still do better!  Perhaps the next pair will need one of those headbands to hold them in place...

Container ship drill - let's hope they never use it in anger...
I missed yesterday's annual Pin Mill Thames Barge Match but plenty were still out playing today!  Ever a splendid sight.

Coaster Valentine and happy family out for a gentle afternoon's sail.
13.1nm, top speed 6.1knts

Saturday, 5 July 2014


Look what arrived today... 
Always a great read for any Drascombe enthusiast.  With thanks to those who make it possible.