Monday, 2 May 2005
Well..... It was an interesting trip across from Ramsgate.... not a great deal of wind...... After leaving my house at 05h00, and departing Ramsgate at 09h30, we then had to motor for 13 hours...... had the sails up at one point, and they might have even added 1/2kt to our speed at one point...... highlight was dolphins just off North Foreland.... We decided given the poor visibility to go round the outside, via Kentish Knock.... we timed our departure to stem the tide for the first hour or so, and then get a fair tide with us.... so progress was painful until 11h30 or so.... Eventually we worked our way up the Orwell, tying up alongside at 22h30. A bit of a heart stopping moment when the depth shallowed out to less than 1m in the run into the lock into the wet dock, where Neptune Marina is located, and the new home for Magna Carter.... after some 'navigational assistance' on the phone my SWMBO also arrived from the land side! I then gave 'Yanita', my volunteer crew (many thanks!) a lift home, finally getting back to the boat at 01h30 the following morning.... That night we were treated to a superb thunderstorm, and despite this we all slept pretty well..... the kids raised us fairly early, excited about their first day on the boat (or on a boat bigger than a dinghy full stop).... after breakfast, and then a visit to the marina office to introduce ourselves, get our door keys/gate card entry thingies, and find out what number permanent berth we had been allocated, we set off towards the lock.... Slipping our previous nights berth was pretty straightforward... and the first stop needed to be the fuel berth.... this was going to be interesting given that SWMBO was on the ropes (pun intended), and there was another boat already on the (admittedly very long) pontoon, so I needed to go in front of her... I stuck the nose in..... and stuck her in reverse to pull the stern in.... perfect.... exactly parallel to the pontoon..... just 5 feet from it........ The other boat eventually, and thankfully took the warps, and we were soon tied up...... good news is that there was no raised voice scenario!... looks promising.... I needed fuel very very badly... for the last 1/2hr up the Orwell the previous evening, I had been panicking about running out of fuel.... to the extent that I had released the fastening for the anchor! 20mins later, I had put £13 of fuel in her... read it and weep MOBO owners!.... Off we set towards the lock.... nice and easy... port side to.... beautiful.... nicely alongside.. no arguments.. tied up and happy! Out we locked and off we went... After motoring round to Long Reach we stuck the main up... and with a gentle 8kts of true breeze we made gentle progress....we motorsailed round past Shotley spit buoy, and decided to just stick our nose out of the estuary and in to the sea.... as we passed Languard Head we unfurled the genny, freed off, and miraculously the wind picked up, and we found ourselves holding a steady 5kts with the engine finally off..... bliss.... kids all had a go at the helm.... I have to say that C, at 9yrs old, demonstrated that her time dinghy sailing had paid off.... she instinctively held her on the wind... and M, at 6 needed a little more help... but will have no problems if the first impression is anything to go by.... SWMBO even had a go! Tacking was a drama at first, and by tack 10 we had it down pat!..... So after 3 hours we freed off, gybed round, and headed back into the estuary.... as I paid out the sails, and we lost the benefit of the apparent wind we found the sails pretty useless... so we furled the genoa, and I then helped the kids to raise the motor sailing cone.... we motored back up the river... kids took on various 'challenges' as we made our way.... their highlight was, believe it or not, scrubbing the decks..... Their idea I promise you! So, about 4ish we tied back up in Neptune, and relaxed.... A decision was made at this stage.... We were all exhausted... late or very late nights meant that we were all very tired.... and the forecast for Monday was not looking too good, so we decided to close her up, and head for home... all weary, sunburned and very very happy..... its just over an hours drive to home from Ipswich..... kids were asleep before we made it out of Ipswich...... So...... A VERY successful weekend... a very happy family.... And a list of jobs to do as long as your arm............ happiness!