Sunday, 8 October 2006

breeze, booze and good news!

What a weekend! For some time now, we've had a weekend planned for a group of us to meet up at West Mersea as a sort of laying up supper..... Jim had tried his best to get us into the YC, but a large group there made that impossible, so we ended up booked for a table at the Coast Inn..... As the weekend approached the forecast looked more and more ominous, and drop outs started Friday morning, with understandable apprehension at a forecast that mentioned F8's..... Regardless, we thought we'd head down to the boat and see what the situation was on Saturday morning... When we got there, I finished the last few bits of the install for the Eberspacher, and got that working.... joy... a warm cabin, free of shore power... We then slept soundly, apart from listening to the rigging in the marina whistle.... I set the alarm for 06h15, with a planned 07h00 departure... when we got up, it was still pretty breezy, but perhaps not as bad as the previous evening, so we decided to stick our nose out of Harwich and review then.... out by 07h05 (not bad compared to plan, and better than usual!) We motored down the river, with phone calls from Roger to let us know he had set off from Foxes, and from Karne and Patrick to let us now that it was a bit much for them in Vreny, and they were coming by car.... As we reached Levington we hoiked the main.... I stuck 2 reefs in thinking i'd rather shake one out than add another in.... as it happened, a good plan.... for as we passed Harwich the wind built, and by the time we reached Walton headland we had 29kts apparent..... I had unfurled a small scrap of genny, and we were still making a good 9 to 10kts over the ground with the tide helping us In the mean time, Roger had come screaming past us... with a single reef in, and a good load of genny.... lots of mutual photo taking and he was gone! It took us very little time to get up to Clacton, but it was hard on the wind only just holding course without a need to tack... but quite flat seas, and actually, although pretty windy, really good fun... This changed fairly substantially as we past Clacton, and for some reason I cant work out, the sea state changed dramatically to a large and short sea, with quite a few breaking waves.... Maggie is a great boat, and felt completely safe, but we were now pounding our way to wind, and virtually every wave was breaking over the bow and washing back.... we had at points a couple of inches of water in the cockpit..... but she shrugged it of as only a heavily built boat of this sort can.... regardless, for family cruising it wasn't ideal! We gave up with the genny when we were in the run into the Blackwater when it became clear we would need to tack and take the sea on the quarter, and furled the genny and motor sailed the last 3nm..... By complete coincidence, as we got close in, we saw Jim on Full Circle coming from Burnham, and thus were able to motor together in towards West Mersea... heard Roger call up the coastguard... whoops..... he stuck his boat aground pretty much on high water on the largest tide for 30 years!!!!!!!! less than great, but fortunately was able to get off in the end.... We soon found a buoy in the West Mersea moorings.... We had a viewing of Maggie arranged for 13h00, but due to the sea we were horrifically late, nearer 15h00... but as it happens, it all worked out OK.... the tide was so high that the causeway across to the island was shut for nearly 2 hours, so no harm done..... so I picked up the visitors, and they came and looked around Maggie..... they seemed to like her.... and my good news.... An offer!!!! which we, with a bit of negotiating, accepted, and took a deposit..... GREAT! (and if you are reading this Marcelle, Thanks!) So thats Maggie sold (subject to survey).... now the house to go!!!! Buy 17h00, we had all congregated on Full Circle and a quick drinky, and then all off to the Coast Inn.... Everyone who was finally expected had arrived by boat, with the only exception being Squidge.... So we had a quick pint in the WMYC, and then down to the restaurant.... and who is sat there... Squidge and family!..... excellent.. a full compliment... A good meal.... in fact not bad at all..... the usual round of entertaining moments, from the appearance of the ybw pink pig (an 'in joke'), to an admission by Jim that he was the secret ebay buyer of the 'question mark' that Dave had sold, and was subsequently fretting about what to send in order to protect his reputation.... And back off to our boats by 23h00..... as usual, we had forgotten a torch, so we were very grateful for the clear skies and decent moonlight..... found Maggie eventually, hidden in the Mersea channels..... not a simple task at low water! On waking at 08h00 Sunday, we found a bright, sunny morning, with perhaps 8kts of wind.... what a contrast.... So by 10h30 we slipped off, and soon had sails up.... the wind in open waters was more like 18 to 19kts... but with it being behind us, we had a great sail back.... the first 2 hours a bit slow as we were plugging the last of the south setting tide, but then it turned and we shot up towards Walton.... glorious.... bright sun (and I am burned again!), 8kts on the log, and very little traffic.... we turned in towards Harwich, and the big tide was a killer..... the ebb had started, and we made painfully slow progress up the river..... we did see another forumite (hi Nick) around Levington.... It finally took us 2 hours from Harwich to Ipswich.... very slow.... but we had a times 3kts of ebb tide... Soon tied up on our berth with no dramas... and started to pack as much as we could to take home with us..... no chance of getting everything in the car, so i'll have to do another trip this week..... I didn't even think about this, and am suprised at how much stuff we have on board that takes up loads of space such as wellies, oilies, etc etc...... Anyway.... Maggie is sold... we had a superb last sail in her... in fact a classic sail... the kids were quite emotional at leaving her for the last time.... sad really in some respects, but sounds like she's going to a good home.... She'll be lifted this week for the survey.... shouldn't be any issues there (fingers crossed!)

Miles logged 78nm
Miles this season 994nm
Miles since this blog started 1,777nm

No comments:

Post a Comment