Friday, 24 July 2009

Monday 20th July - First day of the holiday...

...well, almost. Officially, today was a 'training day' - only Cambridgeshire could have arranged the end of a school year to be on a Monday - so we have put in the hours for this during the year as twilight sessions after work.

Harwich harbour, looking East from the Stour

Took the opportunity to go for a sail, this being a day with a reasonable foreacast. Reached the boat at around 11am, the tide was already on the ebb. Wind, SW F2/3. Decided to sail down to Harwich harbour, and have a look 'round the corner' - round Shotley Point and up the Stour, for the first time this season, even though this would involve making headway against the ebb whilst going up the Stour.

Shotley point (or a giant electronic toothbrush...)

The only interruption occurred as soon as I cast off the mooring, and turned on the Clipper duet, which, for the second time this season, decided not to work. I anchored up a mile downstream from Pin Mill to investigated all electrical connections. All seemed pretty much to be in order, and, for some bizarre reason, the thing started working again after an hour. (Have subsequently acquired a reset procedure from the makers which I will try using if this reoccurs).
When I reached the Stour, the Wind had turned Westerly F3. That, combined with the strength of a tide at full ebb, meant tacking up the Stour was going to be of limited value, so following a few futile tacks, I motored the first section, up as far as what looks to be a new dock construction extending Parkeston Quay - the ferry terminal at Harwich.

Parkestone Quay, Harwich International Ferry Terminal

At this point, I reset the sails - jib, mizzen, reefed main - and spent a pleasant couple of hours tacking my way upstream. I had hoped to reach Holbrook Bay, but the aforementioned electrical interruption meant a revised target just West of Erwarton Ness. At pretty much low tide, I turned round, and made my way back home.

River Stour, looking East towards Harwich harbour

I sailed the entire way back, including a gusty sail tacking into an increasingly strong F3/4 during the final stretch of the Orwell up to the mooring.

GPS has the trip measured at 18.2 nm, including a top sailing speed, with tide of over 7 knots.

Updated total for season now 143.5 nm.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Drascombe Association Rally, Walton Backwaters, 10-12 July

Pictures accompanying this article and taken by me can be found by clicking on this link to the Rally Gallery from the Drascombe Association website. Further pictures, taken by others, and also from the DA site can be found here and here.

I had originally planned to journey by sea to last year's Walton Backwaters Rally (August 2008) but poor weather scuppered such plans. This year, the weather afforded little excuse, so I journeyed to the Walton Backwaters by sea, leaving my mooring on Friday 10th July at about 6.15pm, and arriving at Titchmarsh marina by 8.30pm. There was little wind in the Orwell estuary, but in Harwich harbour and Dovercourt Bay a pleasant F2 SW prevailed, so I motor-sailed for this part of the trip. In all, I covered a distance of 11.2 nm. The pictures on the above link show various views on this trip. Particularly memorable was the incredible welcome, as I entered Hamford Water (from Dovercourt Bay), of a seal on one of the sandbanks near Stone point. It was just as if the seal was standing guard at low water. The Backwaters provide an excellent place to sail with the seals... I also love the serenity of this picture looking south east down the Walton Channel.

In Titchmarsh marina, I arrived too late for the harbour master, so had to moor up for the night alongside a jetty, hoping that no-one would arrive during the night to claim the space as their own. A welcoming fish & chips supper in the restaurant, together with a few pints of Bombardier bitter set me up for a good night's kip.

Saturday morning enabled me to register my arrival officially with the harbour master, and motor round to my berth for the weekend. At around 10am, the rest of the fleet gathered, some of whom had yet to launch, so we eventually ventured out for a sail at around 11am. The fleet comprised 9 boats:
2 Coasters: my own Daisy II and Nonsuch
1 wooden longboat cruiser: Otter
3 luggers: name1, name2, Luwi
1 Driver: Mantra
1 longboat: Camilla Rose
1 Peterboat: Peterkin

We worked our way down the Walton Channel, and then out into Dovercourt Bay. Wind was minimal at first. At about 12pm, we turned back to tack into a slowly increasing F2 SW into Hamford Water, and up into Landermere Creek, eventually rafting up at anchor at the Western end of Landermere Creek at about 1.15pm. Three luggers ferried us up the Beaumont Cut to Beaumont Quay where our leader gave us a talk about the features of this historic site, and we settled down for lunch.

Returning to our boats, we worked our way back down Landermere Creek and turned South into Kirby Creek. By this time, the wind was pretty much Southerly and had increased to f4. Tacking against the ebb tide proved too much for all except the Driver Mantra, so most of us attempted to resort to outboard motors. That enabled Coaster Nonsuch, the wooden longboat cruiser Otter, and my boat Daisy II to negotiate our way across The Wade, which is shallow even at high tide. Later, we were told that two other boats' outboards packed up, and Jerry, our leader, in the lovely Peterboat Peterkin had to rescue them in turn as they abandoned Kirby Creek, sailed back round Horsey island, and ended up struggling their way into the Walton Channel. A fairly nail-biting experience for those involved! GPS tells me I covered 13.3 nm

Saturday evening provided a social opportunity during a Rally supper at Walton and Frinton Sailing Club.

Saturday night/Sunday morning heralded the forecast rain which we managed to see off by 10am. We set sail at around 11am. We had a fine reach down the Walton Channel, and out into Hamford Water - wind, South Westerly, f3 increasing to f4/5 in Hamford Water. I wish I had summoned up the courage to raised a reefed main sail, using, as I was, jib and mizzen, which provides for a safe single handed sail, if a little difficult to make headway when close-hauled. Finally, at about 12.30pm, most boats had worked their way back up the Walton Channel to haul out, so I put out to sea to work my way back to Pin Mill. I sailed out into Dovercourt Bay, on a wonderful run, working my way back through Harwich harbour, and into the Orwell. I took the sails down at Levington - too tired to bother to tack my way back up the final stretch - and motored for the final few nms up the Orwell to the mooring. Just before reaching the mooring, there was the slightly surreal sight of the mast of a local boat poking its way out from the surface. I haven't found out what caused this... Sunday sail amounted to 15.8nm.

So, the season's tachometer now reads: 125.3 nm

Monday, 13 July 2009

Late June/early July trips

21st June - 8.2nm Birthday cruise in the company of Tom, Sally, Gilly, Mark, James & Kris. Virtually no wind until it was time to finish. Made our way down to an anchorage adjacent to the Felixstowe container port terminal for lunch. Then motored back. Had some fun attempting to offload the crew without an outboard motor on the tender...but somehow we managed.

28th June - 6.9nm. Me and Tom. Tacked our way down to Levington marina, then had a run back.

5th July - 4.9nm. Single handing. This was really a trip to try and sort out a non-functioning echo-sounder. Once fixed, the weather was right for a short sail up and down the Orwell.