Sunday, 16 June 2019

Orwell to Walton Backwaters 15-16 June

Moonlight over Horsey Mere
A spare weekend, and an opportunity to pop down to the coast for a one-nighter.  
Launched at Woolverstone, and mostly motored over to the Backwaters almost directly into a fresh Southerly F5/6 blow.

Seals in Kirby Creek
Sanctuary in the Backwaters was found up Kirby Creek, trying not to disturb the local wildlife, including a colony of seals a little further upstream.  Conditions in Landermere Creek were too windy, but there is always more shelter to be found somewhere.

Wind over tide, departing from Hamford Water
The reward for motoring all that way was a delightful return sail with the wind behind me almost the entire way.  I left the Backwaters on the fresh flood, and sailed across Dovercourt Bay in increasingly lumpy conditions, reaching the safety of Harwich harbour before the forecast winds of 20mph arrived.


Thames barges moored on the River Orwell
Back in the Orwell, a reach past Pin Mill as always presented plenty of boats to admire.

New rope clutch replacing the previous cleats.  Still some tidying up to do.
The latest modification is a rope clutch for three halyards, replacing the two cleats that used to be there.  Works well.

White track, Saturday 15th June, 14.3nm; Red track, Sunday 16th June 16.4nm; Total length 30.7nm

Saturday, 1 June 2019

May 29-31, Walton Backwaters

Sunset over Skipper Island
Another May half term cruise.  Other commitments narrowed the window of opportunity to these three days.  Winds were S backing SW F5/6 initially, becoming F4/5 later.  Gusty conditions such as these are never my favourite, but it was good to be challenged.  Selected Walton Backwaters as a base, due to strength of winds in the forecast, and the abundance of safe anchorages.


Wednesday 29th May
Muddy slipway at HW+4, Titchmarsh Marina

Launched at Titchmarsh Marina.  Short trip down the Walton Channel, and briefly looking out into Dovercourt Bay.  Southerly F6 gusts made for rough conditions (by my standards) so retired to Landermere Creek.
Anchored in Landermere Creek

Thursday 30th May
Brief hiatus when outboard wouldn't start, so returned by sail across Horsey Mere to the Marina.  It turned out that the outboard had merely flooded.  So, returned across Horsey Mere by motor, and then by sail out of the Backwaters.  Winds had abated too F4/5 SW, so sailed across to Harwich and over to Shotley for lunch, and then up and down the Orwell.  Returned by sail to the Backwaters for an extremely pleasant anchorage/drying out opposite Honey Island (Kirby Creek).
Seals in Kirby Creek

Friday 31st May
Winds still SW gusting to F5.  Had to take the boat out at HW (10.30am) due to commitments elsewhere.  Brief sail towards Landermere Quay before returning via Hamford Water and the Walton Channel to Titchmarsh Marina.

White track: 29th May, 6.5nm; Green track: 30th May, 29.6nm; Red track: 6.4nm.  Total length: 42.5nm

Sunday, 19 May 2019

River Blackwater, 18-19 May, 2019

Peaceful anchorage in Bradwell Creek
This was the Blackwater Rally which almost didn't happen.  Plans had been abandoned due to lack of interest, and then Lugger Eileen Mary became a very late participant.   So, an informal rally was resurrected.  We agreed to use anchorages rather than marinas and the resulting adventure was just as fun, and probably with even more sailing.


Eileen Mary making the most of the vespers of wind on offer.
On Saturday, we motored with the flood tide upstream, past Osea where the wind slowly worked itself into action, and then on to Heybridge.

At last, something filling the sails...


Running down to Heybridge


Looking back towards Osea Island
Once past Heybridge, we went round Northey Island, and back downstream with the now fresh ebb.  The wind picked up as I passed Goldhanger Creek, particularly with the ebb driving us on.  Winds were SE F3 and, once past Stone (where I put some Drascombe literature in the cockpits of the moored coasters Maid of Stone and Wagtail) we had a pleasant reach at speeds of up to 6 knots, up to the power station.
Winds were spicier returning back downstream with the ebb


Late afternoon, we retired to Bradwell Creek for the evening.
Evening anchorage in Bradwell Creek.
The next morning, winds were non-existent.  In somewhat gloomy drizzle, we motored across to Tollesbury - where more literature found its way into the cockpit of Drascombe Longboat (or was it Lugger?) Aaron.  Subsequently, we paid a visit to West Mersea, before returning to Bradwell and recovering boats.

David and Goliath

Sculling into position at Bradwell Marina.

Red track: Saturday 18th May, 22.2nm; White track: Sunday 19th May, 10.4nm.  Total trip length: 32.6nm

Monday, 6 May 2019

May Bank Holiday Norfolk Broads cruise, 5-6 May

Launched at Whispering Reeds boatyard

Jimbo on the River Bure

Creeping along Meadow Dyke

Jimbo rounding Pleasure Island, Hickling Broad

Rita-Mae rounding Pleasure Island, Hickling Broad

Rita-Mae on Hickling Broad

Jimbo on Hickling Broad



Overnight moorings on Womack Water, Ludham

Jimbo beating a passage along the River Bure

St Benet's Abbey, entrance gate, later converted into a mill

Mast-raising/lowering at Potter Heigham

Jimbo on Hickling Broad

Rita Mae on the River Bure

Jimbo on Hickling Broad


This cruise was intended as a re-run of last year's Lowestoft Loop rally.  However, inclement conditions on the Saturday forced a postponement by one day, and a general change of plan which didn't involve sea passages.  Hence, we launched from Hickling Broad, cruising along the River Thurne to the River Bure.
We took in St Benet's Abbey before retiring to a peaceful mooring just inside Womack Water leading to Ludham.
The following day, we returned along the Thurne, back under the bridge at Potter Heigham, once again to the peace and tranquility of Horsey Mere for lunch, and then returning to base at Hickling.
Winds were northerly F4, veering north-westerly (F3/4) on the second day.
Participating boats:
Luggers: Rita-Mae, Jimbo
Coaster: Daisy II


Day 1: red/yellow tracks (11.4nm); Day 2: white/green tracks (10.5nm).  Total trip length 21.9nm
[Note on Google track.  I'm beginning to get the hang of the new, slightly less user-friendly interface between the Garmin software and Google Earth.  It involves exporting the Garmin file, and then reimporting it into Google Earth.]

Monday, 22 April 2019

Bank holiday sail at Rutland Water

Seizing the moment - and before the,‘ Aqua-park' season - this was an enjoyable sail in F4 easterly conditions.


13.0 nm

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

2019 Shakedown cruise

Back on the water.  This is the Blackwater with F5, gusting F6 easterly winds.  So, going upstream against the tide, the jib worked well enough. 

Daisy II
 has been quiet for several months, but things have been happening and, at last, it was good to be back on the water.

Monday 15th April - White track (6.7nm); Tuesday 16th April - red track (30.9nm); Wednesday 17th April (9.0nm).  Total track length 46.6nm
I've been having issues getting the Garmin software to work with Google Maps.  The above is a compromise for now, whilst working a better way round the various barriers which seem to be in the way.

Log summary:  
Monday 15th April.  Launched at Bradwell Marina.  Winds F5/6 easterly.  Tide receding.  Left the Marina at noon, mid-tide, set full jib and worked a way upstream.  Conditions were awkward with big 'wind-over-tide' waves midstream.  Stuck to the edges of the channel where the water was calmer.  Worked upstream to Lawling Creek for anchorage.
Tuesday 16th April.  Winds F3/4 easterly backing north-easterly.  Took the tide down to Heybridge and then turned with the fresh ebb to work downstream.  Lunch at anchor off Bradwell Power Station.  The seas had calmed down sufficiently to sail across to the Colne for evening anchorage in Pyefleet Channel.
Wednesday 17th April.  Becalmed.  Motored back to Bradwell Marina, pulling the boat out at 12 noon.

Daisy II waiting patiently on the jetty at Bradwell Marina


Bradwell Marina continues to offer an excellent slipway, and remains a great place from which to cruise this wonderful sailing area.

So much better than the oval windows on other Drascombe coasters

Sunset on Pyefleet

The exciting repair is a new rudder/mizzen capping since the old one was completely warped and in danger of falling apart.  This new one is from Churchouse Boats - they made it specifically to fit since the old one seemed to be slightly different in size from their standard fitting.