Sunday, 14 May 2006

Beating the weather forecast...

The weather forecast for the weekend was decidedly average, with a mixture of storms and torrential rain being threatened... Hearty souls that we are, we decided to set off out anyway! Friday night we arrived late down at Maggie, around 22h30, delayed by C being determined to still attend her regular Friday night Sea Cadets.... I don't have the heart to say no, as she enjoys it so much.... Friends had suggested a BBQ at Stone Point Saturday evening, and to avoid us crying off through a lack of heating had donated an old small gas powered heater to us..... So we soon retired to bed, and arose to a leisurely start.... about 09h00, which is a lay in these days (anyone with a 7 year old boy will understand exactly what I mean!).... We didn't have to rush off, so we sorted a decent breakfast, and I decided to get a job done that had been bugging me..... I cut the horns off the bow roller. They previously had been used for the tack of the hank on foresail, but with a furler were redundant. Ordinarily this wouldn't be a problem, but thay also made stowing the anchor over the bow roller akward, so I took a peek and wandered how long it would take with a hacksaw.... As I contemplated, a guy from a few berths up wandered past.... we got chatting, and I explained what I was doing..... 30 seconds later he re-appeared with a hand held angle grinder complete with cutting disc..... like butter... it was gone in less than a minute.... about 09h50, I radioed the lock, and replied, hang on a few minutes and its free flow... perfect.... So 10 mins later, off we slipped, and set of up the river.... we raised the sails pretty shortly after the Orwell bridge, and off went the engine.... marvellous.... despite the weather forecast, it was warm and sunny... blowing about 9kts.... We were tight on the wind all the way out to Harwich, and then had to short tack all the way out to Languard point...... great fun.... We have realised that we are definitely 'proper' sailors, as we will rarely use the engine if we don't have to, and actually enjoy short tacking up the river!..... Given its propensity to get busy, we headed for Pye end immediately, and were soon in the channel and into the Twizzle. As predicted, it was quite busy and we had to go a fair way up the creek.... but a spot was found, and we dropped the hook easily and were soon settled. We see many couples struggle with this (and many who don't in fairness). but we've developed a technique that seems to work well for us.... I set the boat into the position I want to drop the anchor, and then SWMBO takes the helm while I trot forward and let the anchor and chain out.... while this is happening the boat is gently drifting back and hence the chain lays out nicely... as it bites and the boat slows up, SWMBO sticks it in reverse and sets the anchor well in..... no rocket science, but we still see people cock it up like you wouldn't believe.... Which is apt Our friends arrive, go to anchor behind us, and the next time I look he is rafted alongside another boat, with his anchor tangled round the poor fellows chain..... what a mess! Anyhow, we enjoy a coffee, and then I blow the tender up. This is no small challenge on the foredeck, but eventually its done, and alongside... with the associated juggling act of getting the outboard off the pushpit and into the tender we are set.... The outboard wasn't a great starter last season, so I was worried about it after a winter of no use... and especially as I forgot to drain the carb down... a killer for 2 strokes.... so imagine my delight when it started 2nd pull! We motored ashore, along with a mountain of blankets, towels, barbeque food etc etc and soon set up camp..... An excellent evening..... again the weather forecasters couldn't have been more wrong.... I was in shorts (albeit with a coat) until we crept back to Maggie at about 22h00.... a lovely mild evening... There were quite a few people on the beach, and a couple of really lovely beagles that kept the kids happy! When we got back, we set the anchor light, and settled down to an early night.... Normally I don't sleep that well when at anchor, but a couple of glasses of wine, an anchor alarm on the GPS and being a bit tired, and I slept like a baby.... joy.... right through to 09h00, the next day.... 11 hours of really good sleep! amazing considering we had a steady Force 5 blow all night... but the Twizzle is well sheltered and the holding is great We arose to another nice day.... the odd cloud, but still sunny, so we had a quick walk on the beach again.... partly because it was nice, and partly because M wanted several more dead crab shells to add to his ever expanding collection...... But by 11h30, we were back, had sorted Maggie out, removed several tons of sand from the cockpit, and set off...... raising the anchor was hard work.... the strong wind had set it well.... and it came up with a very decent quantity of heavy sticky mud still attached! It was about 10kts again, so as soon as we could, we raised the sails and sailed over towards Harwich... lovely... sun was out, autopilot on... it was really quite warm.... Soon enough we were into the Orwell, and we hung on to sail only, as the speed dropped..... by the time we had reached Pin Mill, it had nearly vanished, so we motored the rest of the way..... Through the lock, and tied up by 15h30, and ready to depart by 17h00.... we would have been quicker, but it took me a good while to hose the mud off the foredeck! A decent ride home, and all was well.... I knew it had been a warm weekend when I saw the glow in all out faces... a little red, but not burnt..... suncream was used, and yet we were all glowing healthily.... the summer is coming... :)

Miles logged this weekend 24nm
Miles logged this season 96nm
Miles logged since this blog started 877nm

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