Saturday, 23 July 2016

Return to Pin Mill - trailer woes - End of term cruise to Southwold

Pin Mill Barge Match, 16th July 
It's been a busy old month not least due to various end of term activities.  Last weekend finally saw a clear day and an opportunity for Daisy II to wet her hull in the Orwell - strangely, for the first time this season.  The visit happened to coincide with Pin Mill Barge Match which is always a real spectacle.

It was made all the more enjoyable due to the opportunity for a rendezvous with coasters Bounty and Pamela.

Later, the skipper of Pamela kindly took some lovely photos of Daisy II beating up the Orwell.

I had no need to head for home early so enjoyed watching the barges gather at Pin Mill...

...before a final trip to the Orwell Bridge and back.  For reasons which become apparent below, Daisy II spent the next few days on the pontoon at Pin Mill.

Trailer woes
The visit also heralded trailer problems which eventually resulted in the boat being left on the pontoon at Pin Mill and a return inland with the trailer.  The problem eventually turns out to be the brakes which needed replacing and was probably self-induced.
Earlier last month, I replaced the breakaway cable.  It seemed to be slightly shorter than the old and, as a result, was set too tightly.  This tripped the trailer brakes to act whilst driving.  Even though I stopped fairly soon afterwards, the damage had been done.  I'm now due to pick up the mended trailer on Monday and Daisy II will return to dry land forthwith.
Whilst this is annoying and, most likely, expensive, the silver lining enveloping this cloud is that I was forced to leave Daisy II on the pontoon at Pin Mill, by kind agreement of the proprietors of Kings Boatyard.  This left her rigged and ready to access for my planned end of term cruise.

End of term cruise: 20-23rd July
And so, term finally ended and I charged down to the coast for a celebratory mini-cruise.
red track - Wednesday evening through to early Friday morning; yellow track - Friday; white track - Saturday

20-21 July - Pin Mill to Southwold, night sail return trip 
Mindful of the famous Ransome book title: 'We didn't mean to go to sea', I really didn't mean to go to Southwold.  It really was a case of seeing what the wind and tide were doing and then taking advantage of what was on offer.
Casting off from the pontoon in the late evening on Wednesday 20th, after a splendid pint of Broadside at the Butt and Oyster...well, the pint was essential since I had to wait for the tide...

... I found a welcome dusk-time anchorage in the shelter of The Cliff off Pin Mill.  This set things up nicely for the next morning where a mixture of sailing and motoring in light winds saw me to Languard Point where a gentle SE wind and an ebbing tide enabled a trip up the coast.
Initially, I thought Woodbridge would be an option but passed the mouth of the Deben and headed on to Orford Haven.  I then considered a trip up to Snape, but imagined there would be insufficient time to reach the head of the Alde by HW.  So I found myself pressing on north east for the first time and rather impulsively.

Orford Ness passed by... was interesting to see the various architectural features of the River Ore from the other side of the extensive spit of land - the military buildings, the castle, the communications masts and the seemingly non-functioning Orford Ness lighthouse.
After Orford Ness, the coast takes a significant turn to the north, passing Aldeburgh...

...and then Thorpe Ness after which a further northerly turn brings the huge dome of Sizewell, the treelined nature reserve of Minsmere and Dunwich and then finally the harbour and welcome of Southwold.

I should have stopped at Southwold for the night but, having reached this point on a whim, the prospect of a night return sail beckoned in increasingly benign conditions.  The tide had now turned and I would have the flood with me - just as well since there was little wind until Orford Ness was back in view.  On the way back, was it sunset over Sizewell, or are we in the throes of an apocalyptic nightmare...!?

At this point, the engine was dispensed with and night sailing truly happened, more or less all the way back to Languard Point.  It made sense to motor in through the still exceptionally busy commercial port before finding a suitable place to drop anchor in the shelter of Crane's Hill on the west shore of Lower Reach at 2.10am.

Mad trip to Southwold with night time return sail: 68.5nm

21st July - Halfpenny Pier - refueling at Harwich - River Stour to Walton Backwaters
After yesterday's mad antics, today demanded more leisurely arrangements.  
I was also somewhat taken aback to have dried out in a bit of a boating graveyard...

There was a welcome berth at Halfpenny Pier and a 20 minute walk each way to refuel, both in terms of petrol for the boat and for the skipper.

An easterly wind had set in so I took the last of the flood up the Stour just short of Wrabness, and then had a pleasant beat back downstream, rounding Harwich and then crossing Dovercourt Bay to the Walton Backwaters and my usual anchorage in Landermere Creek.

Halfpenny Pier, River Stour to Landermere Creek: 17.6nm
 21st July - Landermere Creek to Pin Mill
Landermere is my favourite anchorage and didn't disappoint - a tranquil evening with beer, wine and a couple of films to watch.  The next morning brought in a familiar return to 'base' - a trip I've done many times before.  Winds were NE and light.  I motored from the anchorage past Crabknowe Spit and then hoisted sails for a pleasant reach across Dovercourt Bay.  The wind turned more northerly as I approached Harwich so I had to put in a tack to round the pier at Blackman's Head but then sailed uninterrupted across the harbour, into the Orwell and back to Pin Mill.  Daisy II is now once again on the pontoon there and I will hopefully return with trailer early next week to bring her home.

Return to Pin Mill - 10.8nm