Sunday, 9 October 2005

Moody maneouvres!

Helped Beancounter (John) move his new boat, a Moody 31 called Stargazer this weekend, from Tollesbury to Ipswich. Tollesbury, I hadn't been to before, Ipswich, well... enough.... I met John, and his wife Ruth, down at the Marina at about 10h30 Saturday morning, and after lugging my tender and outboard over to his car (for emergency propulsion, plus shore leave in Brightlingsea), we set off down to Tollesbury. We arrived at Tollesbury, and had loaded the boat up by midday, and proceeded to chill out for a while. Tollesbury has a cill, and so we couldn't slip out until a couple of hours either side of high water, which meant about 15h00 departure... By 14h30, John and I had wondered over to the tide guage over the cill, and had decided that there was enough, so we fired her up, and set off.... Tollesbury is quite tight on water, so we motored gently out of the marina.... This is John's first boat, and so he seemed understandably nervous (weren't we all the first time!)... not helped by a geezeer in a small rigid tender motoring right across his bows in the tightly spaced marina.... a rapid burst of astern solved the problem, but was a bit naughty of the tender driver. We crossed gingerly over the cill, and set off up the river into the Blackwater... channel markers soon showed up, and before we knew it, we were out into the Nass Quarters, with deeper water, and much more room to maneouvre. We set a course for the Bench Head buoy, showing the entrance to the Colne, and with about 18kts of wind over the beam, made rapid progress.... eventually Ruth won out, and decided that we should reef..... not unreasonable given that she was trying to work at the galley making hot drinks.... John had a grin from ear to ear.... another satisfied boat owner! Upon reaching Bench Head, we hardened up, and headed up the Colne, rapidly reaching the transits into Brightlingsea..... I called up on the VHF, and no reply.... after several attempts, I began to wonder if the VHF was transmitting OK.... it was certainly receiving well... we were picking up transmissions from fairly long distances away.... I grabbed my handheld from my bag, and immediately got a response..... harbour master was just departing for the evening.... and told us to take a berth... which we duly set off to do.... The tide was ripping out of Brighlingsea, so John sensibly opted to go alongside into the tide, although we did round once first as we had overshot the suggested berth by the time we had spotted it..... John however then executed a good maneouvre, and we settled comfortably alongside. A great evening meal was prepared and delivered by Ruth, and a decision was made to stay on board, and not bother blowing up the tender for a shore trip. I have to say, I do really like Brighlingsea. Its nice and easy to get into, and very pretty once you are there. We had a lovely evening, except it started raining at about 20h30. So we battened down the hatches and retired to bed by 21h30! Arising at 06h00, we were greeted to a bitterly cold morning, which was somehow completely tempered by the glorious blue sky, and the pretty red sunrise, which as ever, is straight over the anchorages, and so always looks fantastic.... We had a hearty breakfast, and cast off by 07h30, and made our way out past the bouys that we had followed in the previous evening.... By 08h30, we had rounded Knoll, and set a course towards Medusa buoy, just off Walton headland.... the wind had pretty much gone, so we motor sailed... there was enough wind to hold both sails, but only just...... the slightly earlier than originally planned start had allowed us to benefit from more fair tide, and so we made great progress, passing first Clacton, and then Frinton. By 11h00, we had rounded Walton, and set off into Harwich. A fairly uneventful trip back up the river with no more traffic than usual saw us at the lock by 14h00, and again John executed a good maneouvre, and put us nicely alongside on the Pontoon in the lock.... We locked through, and were soon on the berth.... it was OK to get into, and John did a good enough job... a bit of practice with his own boat, and the ensuing raised confidence, and he'll be fine.... Unloaded, and various bits of sailing kit back on Maggie, I was away by 15h30. John and Ruth very kindly gave me some vouchers for the chandlery for helping out. They needn't have, as I really enjoyed myself, and they were great company, especially Ruth ready supply of great food! So, again, tired and happy, and yet another superb autumn sail...... thanks Ruth and John, a marvellous weekend.

Miles logged this trip 34nm
Miles logged this season 741nm

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