Sunday, 13 November 2005

November and still warm!

Went down to Maggie Friday evening to find the rain set it over Ipswich, and just getting harder and harder.... We retired to bed at about 21h30, afet making sure that the heater was well and truly plugged into shore power.... we thus had a lovely warm night... the kids however had to make a brief return to the pilot berths.... a combination of a very cold night, plenty of rain, and no wall linings meant that there was condesation so heavy that it was dripping off the ceiling, and running down the walls.... their sleeping bags would have been saturated..... must get a dehumidifier for the boat.... We awoke to a clear blue skies, and not a breath of wind.... perfect reflections of Maggie in the water..... Sod it, we were going anyway, so after a decent breakfast of bacon and egg butties, and a suitable quantity of coffee, we cast off.... As the outer lock gates opened, we faced a lovely 6 kts of wind, and staright over the beam..... a reach in the sunshine... lovely.... As we progressed seawards, the wind steadily built to reach 10kts.... we were having such a good time that we just carried on.... out past Harwich, and on towards Walton..... as we closed Walton, we turned around and headed back.... shame, as the sun was still shining... As we sailed towards Levington, we bumped into John on his boat Stargazer... first time we've seen them out on the water, and they looked like they were having a great deal of fun! By about 14h30, we had made ity back to Pin Mill, and decided to grab a buoy for a couple of hours, firstly to get some food, secondly to let M chuck his newly acquired fishing tackle over the back, and last but not least, to give everyone a chance to sail the last half of the river in the dark... We sat on a morring at Pin Mill for a couple of hours, and it was like a spring day.... incredibly warm for this late in the year... M sat valiently and patiently with his fishing gear... never caught anything, but he didn't seem to care! All good things have to come to and end, and as the sun dipped behind the tree line, the lateness in the year showed its face, and the temperature plumetted... on came the coats, on came the nav lights, and off we slipped.... The Orwell is just so peaceful in dusk that it seemed a shame to start the engine, but the wind had gone, and so we motored at half our normal revs back towards Ipswich... We locked through in the dark, and were soon alongside our berth.... what a great day.... Our friends across in Haven had called to say they were on board, so we wandered over at about 18h30 with a bottle of wine.... perfect... they also had company on board, so we settled in, caught the last 3 minutes of the England-Argentina game (what a 3 minutes!), and drank several bottles with them.... At 20h00, we returned to Maggie, and knocked up a quick Sphagetti Bolognaise... yum yum... Eventually we got the kids to bed, sat and read for an hour, and then lights out... For a change, the kids decided to let us have a lay in... and awoke us at 08h00..... I stuck my heads through the companion way to see a foggy morning, and yet again, no sign of any wind.... So we settled in, and had another great breakfast... the full monty this time... a complete fry up... my arteries are going to suffer with this sailing lark! I called David at 09h45, and they had just got up.... buggers!.... suspect they had quite a hangover.... he wanted to sail, so I listened to the forecast... F3 to F4,,, visibility good. sea state smooth.... ah..... fog seemed to have lifted... still no wind... so I guess 2 out of 3 aint bad...... We nipped over to the fuel berth.... didn't really need too much fuel, but wanted to keep the tank full at this time of the year to avoid the dreaded condensation in the tank... By 11h00, we had locked out. remarkable for this tme of the year, we were rafted 3 deep in the lock... lots of people talkign about their last sail of the year.... outside the lock, the wind was now about 8kts, and dead behind us... so we hoiked the sails immediately outside the lock, and sailing goosewinged, passed under the Orwell bridge... another first! As the river turned north, we gybed over the main onto a reach, and the wind started to fill..... within a mile we had 15kts and reaching at speed..... sun was still out... warm.... brilliant! As we approached Harwich, the wind had picked up a fraction more, and not wanting to be late home, we set to tack round..... having been off the wind, we had carried full sails, but being a salty old sea dog, I guessed that they would be a bit much upwind , partially as it was by now a steady 18kts, but also because it was quite gusty.. so we sat head too, turned a few rolls on the genny, and dropped a single reef in the main.... Good call.... as soon as we set course back up the river, we were hard over, and a full sail would have seen her quite pressed..... David hadn't reefed, and was right on his nose..... within a mile he had broached 3 times, and had then dropped in a reef! We laughed, and carried on.... As we sailed, some what blissfully up the river, holding a decent 5kts over the water, I watched a black cloud ahead of us.... I saw the line of wind coming across the water, and was ready for it... I just eased the main slightly.. with hindsight, I needn't have as it only lifted 2 or 3 knots... so I cranked it back on... Whoops... 30 seconds later, just as I had relaxed again, we got hit by a big squall... boat right over on her side... water along the side decks, all the way upto the windows, and we screwed round up into the wind... a huge broach... I could see David just behind us laughing.... SWMBO had white knuckles, C was in the pilot berth saying "what on earth just happened"... M, a 6 yr old boy yelling.... "YEAH.... do it again Dad!" We were only a mile from the Orwell bridge, so we stayed head to wind, furled the genny, dropped the main, and started the motor... David passed us, still under sail, somehow completely having avoided the squall, and had his crew yelling "9 out of 10"... cheeky bugger!... at least we only did it once! just 15mins later, we locked in, the wind having already moderated under the far side of the cloud to 10kts, and entered the marina.... soon alongside, and engine off.... We took a bit longer than normal to pack her away.... we unloaded a lot of gear to take home for the winter.... and I also took off the spray hood, which needs some minor repairs.... no small feat getting it off the frame.... Maggie looked sad and forlorn without her spray hood.... still she'll have it back soon.... So... another great weekend.... and another bonus warm sail, without needing thermals and gloves!

miles logged this weekend - 24nm
miles logged this season - 781nm

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