Sunday, 27 November 2011

Late autumn repairs and modifications...

From the last post, I never did manage another trip.  So...
....the season end, and time to see to some repairwork. Firstly, I had a couple of trailer keel rollers replaced with some harder compound rubber. Hopefully these will roll and I won't have to back-winch the boat off the trailer so often.
Also, following some attention last winter, I wanted an expert to look at the centreplate and have it fully serviced. The following pictures show the removed plate before and after renovation. Apparently, there was still plenty of mileage in the plate as it was, but it's along way to Churchouse Boats at Andover, and I wanted it sorted for peace of mind...

Original centreplate strop attachment

centreplate with track, fully removed and showing rust!

regalvanised centreplate ready for return

Also, the fibreglass housing at the ends of the original mainsheet horse has crumbled once again. When I first purchased the boat, I had a repair job done on this, and it has done well since, but hasn't lasted. It didn't help that I kept treading on the blasted pole whilst at sea. I decided to have the whole thing removed and a barton track installed, and the fibreglass patched up.  This brings Daisy II in line with newer coasters, except that this retro-fit is mounted on a lovely teak plinth whereas the new ones have a fibreglass mounting built in to the deck - I think I prefer the wood...  I know that some people do this sort of thing themselves, but I'll limit my woodwork to polishing, painting and varnishing and have the experts do the fiddly bits.
A lovely job by Stewart and his crew at Churchouse Boats.

New mainsheet track following removal of the old pole!

Sunday, 30 October 2011

October 29-30 - season's swansong?

Season's swansong...?  Well it depends on weather and commitments over the coming weekends, but it might be good to go up to Rutland Water before putting covers over the boat.  We'll see.

10.7nm; Season's total 580.2nm
Travelled down to the mooring on Saturday afternoon, and had a wonderful sail up and down the Orwell (Green track) topping out at 6.8kts with the tide and including some time messing about with my 'state of the art' navigation lights.  These consist of a set of three clip-on,  battery powered, LED 'bike' lights in red, green and white - purchased on ebay.  They worked exceedingly well from my viewpoint, although it would be good to know how visible they might have been at distance.  I haven't yet found a permanent home for them; on this occasion, I clipped the Port and Starboard ones to the shrouds, and the rear light to a bungee cord tied around the mizzen.  It is certainly an easier option than drilling holes in various parts of the cabin to install permanent ones, especially as I don't currently make a habit of sailing in the dark.  However, I would like to do more of this in future seasons, so may move to a permanent solution in due course.  In the mean time, these seem to do the job.  Incidentally, I also have a white masthead anchor light, again LED, and this works from a 12V socket via the main boat battery.

On the subject of batteries, I had hoped to take some video footage.  However the camera battery had other ideas and conked out.  I'll have to see if anything has been recorded.

After a fish and chip supper, I spent a profitable hour in the Butt and Oyster sampling their beer (Adnams Broadside), whilst waiting for low water to pass so that I could get back to the boat.

On Sunday, I woke reasonably late, except that it was still early, the clocks having gone back.  I needed to wait until High Water before taking the boat out, so went for another marvellous sail up and down the Orwell - red track.  Finally, having taken down the mast, Daisy II left her mooring for the last time this season, and is now sitting on the drive.  Let's hope we can manage a little more sailing before the year is out...

Friday, 28 October 2011

October 27, penultimate trip...

4.5nm; season's total 569.5nm
 Half term, and the almost annual trip with mother.  Pleasant run upstream to a lunchtime anchorage opposite Freston Tower.  Then a return beat to base.
One more planned trip this year, and then....
At the beginning of this trip, another boat owner sailed by, calling out that he had been reading and enjoying this blog. Good to know! Drascombes forever....

Sunday, 16 October 2011

October 16th, light winds

Indian Summer conditions, light winds, lots of sunshine, and a chance to leave the mooring for some gentle sailing on a Sunday afternoon. 
4.8nm; season's total: 565.0nm

Saturday, 8 October 2011

October 8th, Orwell, Stour and Harwich Harbour

Having missed out on last weekend's balmy, unseasonal weather, this week promised a return to more typical seasonal conditions.  For once, I had company, and spent the whole day crewing (enjoying the view), which was a great pleasure!
Winds, NW,  starting off at F4 gusting F5, but gradually decreasing during the day.  There was some rain, but most of the threatening clouds passed west of us. 
We took the tide out of the Orwell, and motor sailed up the Stour to a lunchtime anchorage near Erwarton Ness.  After lunch, a pleasant run through Harwich harbour was followed by motor sailing against the last of the ebb to the mouth of the Orwell, when we raised the main, eventually unreefed, for the remainder of the trip, including a pleasant beat back up the Orwell.

19.4nm; Season's total: 560.2nm

River Stour, eastbound.

I'm not sure this lunchbreak quite went to plan...

Port tack on the Orwell, winds decreasing...
A run down the Stour...

Sunday, 25 September 2011

September 24, return to the Orwell

Daisy II launched, amongst the dawn mist, onto the mud at Pin Mill

waiting for the tide...

Following last week's Drascombe rally, a 3.30am getaway helped me tow Daisy II back down to Pin Mill for the remainder of the season.  Once they started blowing, winds were pleasant F3 and southerly, which meant that I could keep all 3 sails up, unreefed.  The short sail had to be curtailed due to evening commitments back in Cambridge.  However it was all most definitely worth it.
6.6nm, Season's total 540.8nm

Sunday, 18 September 2011

September 16-18, Drascombe Association Rally, Oulton Broad to Geldeston Locks

Weatherscape convoy
Ten Drascombes gathered for the Oulton Broad to Geldeston Locks rally, September 16-18.  The list of participating boats is:
Scaffie: Honeysuckle Rose
Dabbers: Dottie, Teal, and Baffle
Lugger: Cutty Stark
Longboat: Jenny Morgan
Coasters: Espiritu, Blue Peter, Mudskipper, Daisy II

Blue Peter arrived earlier in the week, launching at Oulton Broad.  Five other boats used the same slipway on Friday and were also joined long-term Oulton Broad resident Jenny Morgan and Mudskipper which had travelled down from Hickling Broad earlier in the week.  Scaffie Honeysuckle Rose and Lugger Cutty Stark launched at the Waveney River Centre at Burgh St Peter, where there is a convenient campsite.

On Friday evening, skippers and crew joined together for beer and conversation at the Waveney and Oulton Yacht Club bar, which kindly provided moorings for our first night.

On Saturday, boats departed from Oulton Broad, under guidance from local expert Peter Waller.  We made our way to Burgh St Peter for a late morning coffee/early lunch/both!  We then sailed further along the Waveney to Beccles.  Daisy II, GPS track shown below, managed to clock up 60 consecutive tacks on this stretch, before an unwelcome squall descended and sails were, eventually, safely stowed, the remainer of the trip being made under motor.  Winds for the day were south westerly, F4/5 but with some interesting gusts, particularly as a prelude to the afternoon storm.
At Beccles, boats convened for some general mast lowering in order to negotiate the two road bridges.  Dabber Dottie needed to fetch further fuel supplies.  Daisy II picked up additional crew for the final motor/sail to Geldeston Locks, where we convened for a meal at the wonderful Locks Inn, and moored for the night.

On Sunday, most boats departed at 10am, although Baffle made an earlier 'getaway'.  We motor-sailed in light westerly winds for the return trip.
Energy-sapping preparations...on Oulton Broad
Blue Peter on Oulton Broad

Coaster Mudskipper , Oulton Broad

Dabber Baffle

Late morning coffee/lunch/dog-walking at Burgh St Peter

Lowering of masts at Beccles, extra crew alert...

Motoring from Beccles to Geldeston

Baffle's sneaky early-morning departure

Dabber Dottie

Coaster Espiritu
Sunday sailing in light winds

strange vegetation!

Red track Saturday, yellow from Sunday. 25.2nm; season's total 534.2nm

Detail of a part of the Saturday track up the Waveney, featuring a fantastic beat including 60 tacks, finally ended by an untimely squall...

The following pictures are copyright of Richard Hudson, skipper of Teal, and do a good job of filling in some gaps!  I think, with these, all participating boats are now featured.

Dabber: Baffle

Lugger: Cutty Stark

Coaster:  Espiritu - under boom?!

Scaffie: Honeysuckle Rose

Longboat: Jenny Morgan, moored at Beccles

Yours truly...

Moorings at The Locks Inn, Geldeston

Coaster: Mudskipper

Sunset over Oulton Broad

Decisions, decisions...

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Short cruise to the River Deben, August 29-31

44.7nm; Season's total: 509nm
Following my 'how not to cruise' trip earlier this month, I thought I would go back to the Deben and try and do it properly.  I mostly managed this, except when leaving the Deben two days later, where I delayed my departure until the flood had already begun, and had to battle against a strong running tide.

On the afternoon of the 29th, I took the ebb out of the Orwell, and up towards the Deben entrance, catching the early flood and picking up a handy free mooring off Ramsholt ( red track).
The next day, winds were gentle north westerly F2/3, so I had a pleasant trip (white track) with the tide, picking my way through the various clusters of moorings, to Woodbridge where I found another mooring and headed off for a walk around town. I then motored to the upper navigational limit of the river (Wilford Bridge), and took in Martlesham Creek, before setting sail for a run with the ebb back to Ramsholt (green track), picking up another mooring.
On the last day, I left taking the last of the ebb to Felixstowe Ferry, calling in at the toilets there.  Unfortunately, he tide had already turned by the time I motored out of the Deben entrance - water was already running at a good 2 knots against me - needed the outboard at full throttle to negotiate the various tidal runs which characterise this short, treacherous stretch of water.  Finally, having managed this, I had a pleasant trip sailing whenever a breath of wind showed up, otherwise motoring back to Pin Mill (yellow track).

Sunday, 28 August 2011

August 27th, Orwell

11.6nm, season's total 464.3nm
Popped down for a quick sail.  Made my way upstream/upwind for a bite to eat.  Then, had a pleasant run with the ebb along to Parkestone Quay, turned round and sailed back to Collimer point, before motoring back to base.
Wind Westerly F4 with some pleasant gusts, weather - showers!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

August 21-22 - how not to cruise...

58.3nm; season's total: 452.8nm
This cruise was opportunistic and rather unplanned.  A couple of free days together with prospectively calm forecasts led to a quick dash to Pin Mill.  Having left the mooring, (red track) I motored against the flood until rounding Shotley Point, when I sailed along to Holbrook Bay, and popped into Holbrook Creek at, or around High Tide.  I then sailed out of the Stour, and motor sailed over to the Walton Backwaters for an evening anchorage at the far end of Hamford Water where a friendly seal stopped by for some meaningful glances - hopefully, I'll upload a video in due course.
The next day, (yellow track) it all started with such good intentions but then got out of hand...  I took the ebb and sailed out of the Backwaters against a gentle North Easterly, which then changed to South Easterly, enabling a pleasant sail along the coast to the entrance to the Deben.  Having negotiated this by motor, I sailed up the Deben, past Ramsholt, until the fickle wind fizzled out.  At this point, I motor sailed the rest of the way reaching Woodbridge at about mid-flood. 
Now, this is the bit that needs more planning in future.  Were I to have had another day, this could have been the perfect cruise: stop in Woodbridge, take in the scenery, take the ebb downstream, and then wait for the next flood to negotiate my way back to the Orwell.  However, I didn't have another day, and motored/motor sailed against tide and, often, wind all the way back to the Orwell - not the most pleasant of experiences given the incessant drone of outboard motor.  However, the one positive aspect (reaching for large plank of wood) is that the outboard behaved impeccably.  Having left Woodbridge at about 3pm, I arrived back at the mooring at about 8pm.
The other feature of this is that the wind, on the return trip from the Deben to the Orwell, had turned north easterly which, when against the tidal flow, led to some steep seas which were 'interesting' to negotiate.  Ah, well.  We live and learn...

Sunday, 14 August 2011

August 13, Orwell

8.0nm; season's total: 394.5nm

Thursday, 11 August 2011

August 10th, a trip to Halfpenny Pier

10nm; season's total: 386.5nm
Managed to entice my son onto the boat for the first time this season.  Strengthening, gusty south westerly winds made for some healthy speed - maximum 7.4knots with the tide using jib and mizzen.  But, in general, not the easiest weather to sail in, so resorted to engine when against the wind.

Halfpenny pier as pleasant as ever!  Following a lunchtime snack, we returned, and just managed to make the end of Pin Mill hard before becoming stranded in mud at low tide for a couple of hours.  In truth, the neap tide had departed rather sooner and to a greater extent than I had anticipated.  I had to row through the final 10 metres of mud... All good exercise...

Sunday, 31 July 2011

Summer Cruise - Orwell to Blackwater estuary

Thursday 28th July (red track - 26.4nm)
Left mooring at Pin Mill, sailed out to the Naze tower and, given little wind, motor-sailed along the Wallet which runs along the Essex coast, past Walton on the Naze, Frinton and Clacton, and finally pulling up at Mersea Stone, just inside the mouth of the River Colne at about 9.30pm Anchored for night.

Friday 29th July (green track 16.6nm)
Sailed up the River Colne past Wivenhoe, finally stopping for lunch at the Anchor Inn in Rowhedge - simply because it had accessible mooring at or around high tide. After lunch, sailed the return trip, taking in a brief look in Brightlingsea Creek, and a marvellous reach both ways along the Pyfleet Channel. Returned to Mersea Stone for a second night at anchor.

Saturday 30th July (yellow track 27.9nm)
Awoke, somewhat bemused, to find that the boat had dragged anchor and was now half a mile out to sea. How the anchor didn't snag on the plethora of other boats' anchors...?
So, having started early, continued to sail up the Blackwater to Maldon, eating bits of breakfast 'on the hoof' as it were...
Borrowed mooring at Maldon, in order to find a bog and some chips for lunch. Then left Maldon, and took the ebb back to West Mersea, principally, Ray Island which is up the Ray Channel. Dried out there briefly for an evening meal, then took the early flood back to find a spare mooring nearer to West Mersea.

Sunday 31st July (light blue track - 30.9nm)
Briefly called in at West Mersea for necessary purchases, motored/sailed out of the Blackwater until opposite the entrance to the Colne, then stopped the engine and sailed with jib, mizzen and double-reefed main all the way back to Harwich, stopping a few miles west of Parkestone Quay. The sail up the Wallet was superb - strengthening south-easterly F4 led to mounting seas, some hairy moments, particularly when the jib stay almost unattached opposite Clacton Pier. Daisy II coped amazingly well. As the coast turned closer to the North, some amazing speeds with tidal assistance were clocked, consistently above 6 knots, often over 7 knots.  Stunning day's sail, definitely the highlight of the trip, and in conditions I wouldn't ordinarily have put to sea in.

Monday 1st August (white track - 7.4nm)
Sailed back up the Stour, round into the Orwell, and back to Pin Mill. 
Splendid trip.  (hopefully will add a few photos in due course).

Total track 110nm; season's total: 376.5nm

Sunday, 24 July 2011

July 24th - School's out, at last... time to return to Pin Mill

I'm having a first go at blogging directly from the boat with a new iPad...
...brought Daisy II down to Pin Mill this afternoon. Launched from the slipway opposite the boatyard an hour before high tide. Had a pleasant sail to the Orwell Bridge, and back. Followed this with fish and chips from a dodgy take away in Ipswich. The plan is to sleep aboard tonight, and then return home tomorrow.

Plans for a summer cruise, starting on 28th July beginning to take shape. Just need the weather to play fair...

9.4nm, Season's total 266.5nm.
Red track shows Sunday evening sail (wind F3 south easterly).  Green track shows an early morning sail on Monday in a v. light north westerly breeze, tacking against wind and tide.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Drascombe Association rally, River Blackwater 15-17th July

13.6nm, Season's total 257.1nm
As luck would have it, a dirty great low pressure system parked itself over the British Isles, doing its best to scupper rally plans.  However, a number of hardy boats stood up to mother nature, and went for a Saturday sail across to the Ray Channel which runs west of Mersea Island, anchoring in the lee of the northern tip of Ray Island.  This provided welcome shelter from F5-6 south westerly winds, but the rain still poured throughout lunchtime.  Highlights included a perfectly executed manoeuvre, choreographed by Steve Maynard, leading to the fusion of two separate rafts of boats.  A couple of boats, Drifter Moonstone VIII and Coaster Pamela peeled away soon after high tide, making a dash for Bradwell, but coasters Spray, Virginia and Daisy II stayed a while longer, and were rewarded by the best weather of the weekend, and a fantastic thrash against wind and tide on the return trip to Bradwell, topping out at 7.7knts (although, to be fair, this was when we were being pulled out to sea by the ebb - should have stuck to the shallower waters of the northerly shore - I live and learn!). 

Other than this, much good company, including a barbecue on Saturday evening, kindly hosted by Bradwell Quay Yacht Club, and a Sunday walk along the sea wall to 'St Peter's on the Wall' Chapel.  By then, the F5-7 forecast with squally, thundery showers had pretty much put an end to further well as my camera, which still won't work, despite the airing cupboard treatment...
...but at least we managed some sailing the day before.
Pictures of skipper's briefing, Saturday morning, kindly supplied by David Lewin:

And another snap, the only one so far of some sailing action, kindly donated by Nick Payne:
Drifter: Moonstone VIII
Coaster: Virginia

Yours truly

Gin palace!

Evening social, Bradwell Quay Yacht Club

Barbecue and rain, an inevitable combination...

recovery of  Sapphire

No, you need to put hands on knees like that....

Typical weatherscape...

St Peter's chapel