This weekend has been long in the planning. We arranged for several of the ybw forumites to get together, and for the respective SWMBO's to depart upon Maggie, and the boys to leave on FullCircle.... On the girls boat, Mrs FullCircle, Vreny, SWMBO and two non forumites, on the boys boat, myself, FullCircle, Mr Vreny, and a non forumite.... We got down to Maggie Friday evening after a less than perfect journey with the main trunk road we use being closed due to an accident... we found Karen propping up the bar in the Lord Nelson..... Within an hour or so we had got ready to depart and radioed the lock only to be told that they didn't have anyone to operate the lock for 30mins due to a shift change, so by the time we actually locked out it was gone 22h00.... I was slightly nervous of the engine, as I hadn't run it since teeing in the furl line for the Eberspacher... it started beautifully as usual, but I had visions of it dying..... so I didn't settle until we were 45mins up the river by which time I reasoned that any fuel in the filter system and pump would be long gone, and if was going to starve of fuel, it would have happened by now! We grabbed a buoy at Levington, and it was midnight by the time we crashed out.... Alarms woke us at 06h00, and within 15mins of waking we had motored to the fuel pontoon at SYH, and picked up Helen..... we motored back to the mooring, at which point I radioed FullCircle to find out how far away they were. They were planning on leaving Burnham at midnight, so I thought they should be close. I was somewhat concerned to get no reply...! All worrying was to prove futile, as we saw them on a buoy as we motored back... so we tied up alongside... It turns out that they had decided to leave a couple of hours early, and have arrived at 05h00, with Jim helming all night! Regardless, we swapped onto the 'correct' boats, and we, the boys, cast off and grabbed another buoy.... one full fried breakfast later, and we dropped the lines and headed off towards the Deben.... The girls it appears had the same idea, and as we rounded the corner, we saw them slip, and head off up the Stour.... It was upwind towards the Deben, and we had a beat.... Jim is carrying a full complement of marine growth on his hull at the moment, so progress was slow, but we got there, and made our way through the sometimes formidable Deben bar.... that is one serious entrance! A gentle motor up what must be one of the loveliest sailing rivers in the UK river, and we reached Ramsholt.... George, the harbour master was ensconsed in his boat. directing activities in a highly organised manner, and we hovered alongside him, and asked for a mooring which was duly allocated with no hassle... and within 30 mins, we had grabbed it, inflated the tender and set off ashore for the Ramsholt Inn..... Two great pints of Adnams finest beer, and a stinking hot afternoon, along with reduced sleep volumes, and we were all fading... so we decided to head back to the boat.... Jim's tender is only a wee little thing, and four fully grown blokes, with a couple of pints in them on empty stomachs must have been a sight to see! We motored the tender back towards George to make our payment, and were treated to a little bit of 'sailing how it used to be'..... George would take no money from us... a free night....... unbeliveably unusual these days to come across a non money grabbing harbour... and a credit to them.... you Deben folk are lucky to have such a delightful sailing area, as well as 'proper' harbour masters.... We (read Jim) then knocked up a great meal of salmon fried into rice, and various accompaniments... superb.... and then drank a very pleasant bottle of red wine, and three or four of bottles of Duvel between us.... pleasantly glowing, but no longer drunk, we relaxed for an hour or two, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine.... As it started to get dark, we had a great sunset... one of those long red ones that stretches down to the water, and across the fields when Jim noted, with a sense of enthusiasm in his voice, that the wind was blowing dead down the river at about 5 or 6 kts, and wouldn't it be a perfect evening for a run down the river under cruising chute..... so we duly hoisted the crusing chute sailed off the mooring with it, and had an amazing sail upstream in the dusk.... heaven..... We found ourselves up by 'the Rocks' anchorage, decided it looked idyllic, so dropped the kite and motored over, dropped the anchor and settled in for the night.... this is one of those few remaining gems of an anchorage... quiet, pretty and sheltered.... lovely. By 21h00, we were all shot, so this roughty toughty boys trip saw us all going to bed by 9pm....! We arose reasoanbly early, enjoyed another great fried breakfast, and set off gently down the river by 09h30. We were going to be a bit early for the bar, so we meandered at just over a knot back towards the river mouth. Which proved to be just the right thing to do. This river is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace... 11h00, and we made the bar.... the tide through here is ferocious.... it was 2 hours before HW, and as we closed on the first of the two main channel marks, we were doing 5.8kts SOW and 1.5kts SOG, and this was a neap tide!.... the water boils and bubbles.... and the posts marking the end of the breakwaters have a huge wave around them, and look to almost be bending under the pressure... not somewhere to make a mstake.... but within a few minutes we had cleared the bar, and headed back to wards Languard point and Harwich.... By 13h00 we were back at Levington, arranged a rendevous with the girls, Left Maggie on a buoy and all went on Full Circle into SYH for a spot of food... a grand meal, and we weren't away until 16h00... All bar myself, SWMBO and Helen set off on Full Circle back towards Burnham, and we set off back towards Ipswich.... tied up, tidied up and ready to depart by 18h30... a bloody good weekend had by all... SWMBO feels that she learned a great deal, having taken much more time on the helm, put Maggie onto a buoy, several MOB drills and most encouragingly from my perspective had to make decisions on strategies for getting into and out of a marina berth with 15kts of wind blowing, and being very pleased with herself for it all working perfectly..... we'll be doing this again I hope... Thanks all, we've had a brilliant weekend....
Miles logged 32nm
Miles this season 916nm
Miles since this blog started 1,699nm