Sunday, 29 October 2017

October half term mini-cruise

Back to Harwich
October half term wouldn't be worth it unless some sailing were involved.  Not that I have always managed it, but this year the stars were in alignment and I was able to pop down to the Orwell for a brief 'overnighter'.
Full track for both days, 31.2nm

Between other commitments and howling gales, the weather cleared and I launched at Woolverstone for what has turned out to be the final coastal sail of the season.  There may be opportunities for a day trip to somewhere like Rutland Water later next month.  We shall have to see!  However, the engine is now at Seamark Nunn for winter storage and servicing - expensive but worth it if, like me, one has little understanding of the workings of the infernal (sic.) combustion engine...
Once again, launched at Woolverstone Marina.  It doesn't get any cheaper but it is a convenient place from which to set off - plenty of room for onshore parking and a half decent slip, although I do wish they'd do something about the green algae which makes it treacherous under foot.
Winds were benign on the day of launching (26th October) and, given fading light, the best I could do was to motor downstream with the tide, and cross over to the Walton Backwaters where I anchored in a creek intriguingly known as The Dardanelles.  In all the time I've been doing this trip, this was the first time I have anchored here and it was well worth it - although I didn't get to see much of it in the lengthening hours of darkness at this time of the year!

October 26th, trip from Woolverstone to Walton Backwaters, 10.2nm
Fortunately, winds picked up overnight, so the next day, I breakfasted off Stone Point, before sailing out of the Walton Channel and over to Halfpenny Pier in Old Harwich.
Halfpenny Pier.  It's never accessible during the summer, and it is so good to have it all to one's self during the off-season.

Walton Channel to Halfpenny Pier - 6.9nm
I had the option of spending another night aboard, but the forecast was for strengthening winds - Inshore Waters projection for the next 24 hours to be F5-7 with occasional gale F8.  That put me off, so I resolved, after elevenses, to enjoy the remainder of the sail taking in a bit of The Stour, and then returning up the Orwell for a late lunch in the lea of Deer Park on the north side of the river.
Drilling jack, Paragon B391 at Harwich docks

Felixstowe was its usual, busy self.
 After food, it was a simple case of returning to base, recovering the boat and returning home.
Afternoon track - return to Woolverstone, 14.2nm

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

River Waveney - Drascombe Association rally, 22-24 September

Drascombes gathered on Saturday morning at Waveney River Centre
Nine boats, fourteen sailors and another Broads rally, the eighth edition in as many recent years and a welcome return to the River Waveney.
Participating boats were:
Luggers: Rita May, Little Egret, Duchess, Jimbo
Longboat: Jenny Morgan
Coasters: Spindrift, Kathleen, Prawnpipe, Daisy II

Wooden lugger Rita May
 The sailing plan this year was to sail from the Waveney River Centre to Geldeston Locks, spending the evening in the excellent Locks Inn pub.  We then returned to base the next day.
Departure from Waveney River Centre

Weather conditions were overcast with light winds.  Often, tree-lined banks shielded our low rigs from the wind so, as often is the case on the Broads, it was a frustrating process.  However, on Saturday we had the gentle tide in our favour and boats managed to sail a fair proportion of the way.
Lugger Jimbo

Coaster Kathleen proving a point by sailing all the way!


Ready to pass under the bridges at Beccles

Arrival at Geldeston

Drascombes rafted at Geldeston
Breakfast at Geldeston Locks

Luggers Little Egret and Duchess sharing power

Sunday morning stop at Beccles; we're between the two bridges and so all masts currently dropped.

Sailing east from Beccles until the wind dropped.
On the return trip back to base, winds were mostly on the nose so I motored on past the Waveney River Centre.  Reaching Oulton Broad, I set sail beating across the larger expanse of water before sailing with the wind back to the slipway at WRC.  This made for a pleasant sailing coda to the weekend.