Going nowhere - several times
01 September 2015 | East Coast
OK, I'll better get this on paper while I still remember it. It's been a while, but what follows below is the story if how we went nowhere, over several days, several times. In other words: summer cruise 2015.
In a nutshell: nothing went as planned or hoped for. 'So, what's new?' I hear you ask. Good question. All part and parcel of boat ownership I guess.
Anyway, all the dirt... The engine problems I reported a while back turned out to be somewhat more complicated than we thought at first glance. When our mechanic replaced the corroded exhaust elbow, he also found that the wastegate had seized half open due to large carbon deposits. Whilst the donk did run, we did not get all the available HP. Locals were unable to 'un-seize' the wastegate and it would have to be sent away. Heaven only knew when we would get it back. With our luck, October probably. So, I told them to put it back 'as is' and I would take my chances. A job for the winter to-do list.
However, my choice did somewhat limit our options to go cruising. I was keen to minimize our motoring. The fickleness of this summer's forecast left cruising in local waters as the only realistic option open to us. An East Coast farewell cruise of sorts: Bradwell and Ramsholt were the most likely destinations. We had a sort of 4-5 day weather window in early August (the week before we were due to move house), that would have to do.
Saturday - Day 1
We haven't had a family sail in a LONG time. Kids off college/work, so no excuses. Even the dogs came along for their first ride - ever - in the RIB.
The weather was nice enough, nice breeze and blue skies. The dogs did not exactly enjoy the RIB ride, but no mishap either. A nice way to start the day: lunch in the cockpit. Dogs went straight into 'begging mode' and did their best to look starved.
Consumed something alcoholic whilst I watched the world sail by followed by a little snooze in the sun. The, confab about the plans for the rest of the day. High on my wishlist: getting the kite up. It has been over a year. Full complement, suitable weather,... the vote in favour was unanimous (well, 3 in favour and 1 abstention - that's unanimous in my book).
Slipped our mooring and tootled all the way up to Pin Mill - females at the helm and dog minding whilst Yanni and I rigged the necessary blocks and bits of string. It might have been a while, but when we turned downriver everything went up as it should. Kite up and flying in less than a minute. We've still got it - high five. Progress was slow, 4kts, but I didn't care in the least. If you're in a hurry, you have no business being out on the water.
When we were about two cable short of Collimer I had this funny feeling I could not explain. But it felt like something was about to happen. I looked downriver towards Shotley and some of the modern plastic fantastics were flat on their ear. Yanni and I got the kite down in record time, which also turned out to be just in time. No sooner had we shoved the kite down the forward hatch and we got hit by 25kts+ over deck.
Since we were quite near our mooring, and we had the dogs on board, picking up our mooring and sitting out the blow seemed like the sensible thing to do. So we did.
More drinks and chats in the cockpit before we made our way ashore for a family dinner. The Ship Inn in Levington welcomed dogs and the menu looked decent enough. And it was within walking distance of our mooring. Two RIB rides later everyone was ashore. Pleasant walk to the pub, a GREAT meal there and another stroll back. A nice day, enjoyed by all. The kids and the dogs left for home, while Brigitte and I returned aboard. New adventures tomorrow.
Sunday - Day 2
The plan - I've got to stop making those - had been for a gentle sail and head for Ramsholt. We were going to pick up a mooring there and maybe have a meal ashore in the Ramsholt Arms (I had heard some good things about the place lately). Slight, but not unimportant detail: Ramsholt is on the river Deben. This means crossing the Deben Bar. Drawing 7', as we do, we have to cross HW +/- 2. And I did not want to risk it on a falling tide. To all intents and purposes we had a two hour window.
Please bear in mind that I had just come off a week of night-shift. Truly knackered and maybe ever so slightly sloshed, I slept for 14 hours. And, ... we missed our window. Breakfast would have been pointless, so we had lunch in the cockpit whilst we discussed our plans for the day. Both Bradwell and Ramsholt were off the options list. We settled for a sail up the river Stour.
Well, we did not exactly sail up the Stour, it was more like we drifted on the river with sails up. We eventually turned back downriver at Wrabness. Wind picked up a bit too. Quite pleasant.
Picked up our mooring a while later and settled in for the evening. Lovely, home cooked dinner as only Brigitte can make them followed by sundowners in the cockpit. Another enjoyable and relaxing day going nowhere.
Monday - Day 3
Only slept for 12 hours. Got up not quite early enough for breakfast, but too early for lunch. So we had brunch instead.
Skies a bit overcast and it was distinctly breeze. Nice SW-ly though. Sealand was going to be today's destination of choice. About as 'foreign' as we were going to go this week.
I really don't remember much of this day other than that it was a cracking sail. And over all too soon. Plenty of sunbathing opportunities for the other half and I was just happy being out and about on the water.
Not much happened the rest of the day. Quick trip ashore in the RIB to pick up some supplies: eggs, bacon, milk, bread ... And that was it. Another nice dinner, sundowners and reading in the cockpit (I really, really could get used to this), and an early night. I was happier than I had been in a long time.
Tuesday - Day 4
Awoke to grey skies and a stiff westerly breeze. It would put hair on anyone's chest. Reefed the main and cast off. Under sail in no time. Over 20kts over deck by Landguard. Adrenaline rush.
Nice sporting sail to Medusa and back. Encountered a classics race on the way there. Boat porn everywhere you looked. As pretty as these things are, I don't think I would ever want to own a wooden boat - unless I was filthy rich and I could pay someone to do the maintenance.
Back on the mooring without mishaps. Brigitte at the helm and me picking the mooring really is the way to tackle this.
You may start to see a pattern emerging here: dinner, reading and sundowners. It does not take a lot to make me happy. Though ships liquor cabinet is starting to look quite bare.
Then the rain put a dampener on things and forecast for tomorrow didn't look great either. I decided to sleep on it.
Day 5 - Wednesday
Awoke to grey skies - again - but it had stopped raining. Slight southerly breeze. How about a sail rather than a drift to Wrabness this time? Other half nodded her approval but I could tell her heart wasn't really in it.
Off Harwich the wind dropped altogether and the grey skies started to look ominous. Rain was not far off. Dropped, packed and stacked sails and motored back to our mooring.
A last bite to eat on the boat and it was understood that we would head for home. The house move could not be ignored for much longer.
And that was it. Really not much more sailing on the horizon till early or mid September. Other - non sailing related - areas of our lives require our undivided attention for the moment.
I'll post another update as soon as I have something worthwhile to communicate.