Tuesday, 30 May 2017

End of May cruise

Rocna 6 doing its job!
Half term wouldn't be half term without a cruise.  This one has often been done but is no less enjoyable for it.  Exploring the three estuaries comprising Harwich Haven presents plenty of variety both in terms of sailing and scenery.

28-30th May; Rivers Orwell, Stour and Walton Backwaters: 52.0nm
Sunday 28th May: Orwell to Walton Backwaters
Woolverstone Marina did their best to make life unpleasant.  Apparently, it isn't allowable to launch from there and then return three days later - one can only do day trips.  When questioned about this, the gentleman offered no explanation but merely repeated that it wasn't allowed.  I'd like to abide by the rules, but wasn't being helped on this occasion.  Maybe I should launch over at Titchmarsh where they are far more welcoming.  It's a shame, because Woolverstone for me is the most convenient albeit rather pricey option.

Once Daisy II was set up, I sailed with the ebb against the SE breeze out of the Orwell and into Harwich harbour.  Somewhere off Harwich shelf, the breeze diminished so the engine was employed for the trip across Pennyhole Bay to Landermere Creek in the Walton Backwaters.

The forecast was for thunderstorms and some wind.  After dark, the wind turned into a NE, so I moved anchorage further on round the corner, in the lea of Skipper Island.  That night, I was awoken by lashing rain, thunder and lightning and a flogging mainsail which I carelessly hadn't lashed down sufficiently well.  You live and learn.  This was not a comfortable night at anchor...

On departing the next morning, another yacht had dragged its anchor from Hamford Water and ended up aground against Skipper Island - and had to wait until HW in the afternoon to refloat.

Storm clouds gathering over Felixstowe

28th May: River Orwell to Walton Backwaters: 17.1nm
Monday 29th May
An early start heralded calmer seas.  The night's storm had passed through leaving a dwindling NE breeze.  I punched out of the Backwaters under motor, bound for the Stour.  Once I had rounded Harwich Shelf, sails were deployed and the outboard was rested.  Winds were exceptionally light as I drifted upstream with the flood.   
I stopped briefly off Sutton Ness to catch up on some kip, and also to check out the new oars, Daisy II's latest kit acquisition.  These are 270cm in length and work exceptionally well.  I know of some coaster owners who prefer the 10ft variety, but stowage is so much more difficult and I was very happy with the way these 9ft ones behaved.

Daisy II waiting patiently off Sutton Ness on the River Stour.  Note the new oars.

View towards Wrabness
 After a few snaps, I continued to Manningtree, and then turned round against the continuing flood for the long return beat to Harwich.  At some point, flood turned to ebb which made for a larger tacking angle.  Three other Drascombes joined in the fun - as described below.  Winds had turned to more of a SE direction.

Three other Drascombes came out to play: this Dabber, a lugger pictured above and a Drifter which is moored at Wrabness but which I didn't manage to picture.
Once I was round Shotley point, and entering the Orwell, the wind became less helpful and, although I persisted under sail for most of the trip up Lower Reach, and then motored briefly around to Colton Creek for then night.
River Stour: 32.5nm
Anchored (at this point dried out) for the night off Colton Creek on the River Orwell
Tuesday 30th May
Rising at 4am, I had to return to Woolverstone to pull out before water left the slip.  By 7.30am, I was towing Daisy II on her trailer, out of the marina for the long trip home.
30th May: return to base; 2.4nm