Saturday, 30 August 2008

Failed attempt

We decided we’d try to get to the Walton Backwaters today since we failed to make it on the August classics. We failed today as well, since once we thought it through we realised that the tide was all wrong and we could easily run aground. We just sailed out to Pye End (the safe water mark for the Backwaters entrance channel) instead.

Monday, 25 August 2008

Back to Shotley

Not having far to go home we did not hurry away from the Suffolk Yacht Haven in the morning, not getting away until 1040. We then had a gentle sail home, the only nuisance being we had to wait nearly an hour to lock in to Shotley. There were a lot of boats coming home on the Bank Holiday after a week away!

We were on our berth at 1330, having had a great time with the Old Gaffers.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

The President's Race

We left Suffolk Yacht Haven at 0930 for a 1000 race start just by the entrance. It was quite windy so we planned to have a reefed main, but unfortunately we ran aground in Levington Creek while sorting it out five minutes before the race was due to start. It was still an hour until low water, so we weren’t going to float off in a few minutes this time.

We got the sails down, then Julian pumped up the dingy and I rowed the kedge anchor out and set it. After that it was a case of sitting still, one either side of the cabin so Robinetta did not tip over as she settled into the mud.

We were in a great place to see the racing boats charging back in from the harbour to cross the finish line, and we floated off at 1240, before the tail end boats finished, but it was our worse performance to date.

We headed back into the Suffolk Yacht Haven for the last gaffers event of the week, the dinner and Prize giving in the Lightship. We did not expect to win anything, but ended up with the Bowlocks Maximus prize for going aground on every race. There were some well known names on it....

After the prize giving we went back to Robinetta, who was docked next to Reverie. Pete the knife and Sarah her owners invited us, and several others, on board for a glass of port and we had a very pleasant after party party....

Saturday, 23 August 2008

The Two Rivers race

Julian thought we should sail off the mooring, so we raised the main sail on the mooring at 1040 and cast off, then raised the stay sail. The wind was very light so we hoisted the top sail, but the top sail sheet came untied so we had to lower it. While we were doing that we ran aground by the Lee Channel marker buoy. We were not the only boat to ground; Kajan had taken the buoy we abandoned the previous evening and was just sitting there.

We got all the sails down while the rest of the fleet started the race at 1100. We floated off by 1115, and raised sail again, but one of the mast hoops had come untied, and by the time we had everything sorted and had sailed over the start line it was 1140.

We ran/very broad reached down the Stour, rounding Shotley Horse racing buoy at 1315, then headed up the Orwell to pass the finish line at Orwell no5 buoy at 1503. Avola, who acted as start or finish boat on the races had waited for us to finish, which felt nice...

We then turned down river again and ran down to Levington, and the Suffolk Yacht Haven marina where the fleet was assembled.

Friday, 22 August 2008

Back to the Stour

Graham had tried to get Jacinta’s engine working again, but failed, so we towed her down to Felixstow Ferry. It became obvious that Robinetta’s engine is not powerful enough to tow a boat of the same size when working against the tide, so we gave Jacinta’s tow to Bona, a much larger boat, to get her out of the Deben.

We left Felixstow Ferry at 1015, and motored out of the Deben against the tide (not a good idea, it felt like we were hardly moving forward even at full throttle). Once out from between the sand banks and away from the tide race we raised sail and headed back towards Harwich.

The wind dropped to nearly nothing at lunch time and we had to motor sail into Harwich Harbour, but it picked up again as we sailed close hauled up the Stour, and we picked up a buoy at Wrabness under sail. It seemed a bit shallow, and when I worked out the tide calculations I realised we would ground before low water, so we had to drop it and motor off to find another one.

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Model boats and mishaps

Looked round Woodbridge for a bit, then came back to Robinetta to make a model boat out of scrap plastic (milk cartoon) to sail it in a “race” on the Woodbridge boating lake. Unfortunately the fresh water pipe leading to the sink came off the tap, so Julian had to spend some time fixing it first.

The scrap boat race was great fun even though our "boat" capsized and sank every time we tried launching it.

We left the Marina at 1400, an hour before high water, and motored down river towards Ramsholt. We did not risk the short cut this time, but followed the other Old Gaffers who stayed in the main river channel round by Waldringfield. I noticed white smoke coming out of the exhaust of the boat ahead of us, Jacinta, and the next thing we knew she was drifting without power. Graham, her skipper, managed to grab onto a mooring buoy before she collided with anything, and then we took her in tow down to Ramsholt. We'd never towed anything before, and broke our ensign pole with the tow rope, but luckily Graham rescued it before it floated away.

We left Jacinta on a vacant buoy at Ramsholt and picked up another one for ourselves. Dinner that evening was a communal meal at the Ramsholt Arms pub, right on the river. We got a lift over to their jetty on Spare Rib, who is acting as a general tender to the Old Gaffer’s fleet for the rally. They had a marque set up for us, and a choice of three main courses, all of which were tasty.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Scandanavian Seaways Race

The rally resumed with a race from Harwich to the Deben. It started at the Dovercourt Breakwater at 1030, but we took longer than expected to get to the start so we were ten minutes late over the line. We had our ensign flying, and it turns out that you should not fly the ensign while racing, so we got yelled at! (Not in a bad way, just to let us know it was wrong!)

We managed to almost catch up with one boat, Carima, before reaching the finish line at the Woodbridge Haven Safe Water Mark at 1228. The safe water mark shows where to start the passage to enter the River Deben, which has a complicated entrance with shifting sand banks. It felt good to have Carima to follow but the entrance is well marked and the instructions in the pilot are very clear.

We sailed up the river past Felixstow Ferry, but soon after ran aground by not taking enough notice of the curve of the river. Luckily we were on a rising tide and floated off within 20 minutes. Luckily Julia in Carima noticed we had problems and came back to stand by and then lead us on the safe course up the river. This time it felt absolutely necessary to have a boat that knows the waters in front of us! She led us on a short cut that avoided the busy moorings at Waldringfield. It felt very shallow!

We picked up a mooring buoy at the entrance to the Tide Mill Marina in Woodbridge. Access to the marina is narrow, and over a sill so we had to wait until we were called in. The boats that had reached there ahead of us (20+ Old Gaffers) had had to wait longer until there was enough water over the sill. We had to wait an hour before we got in, and we were then rafted up on a modern boat just by the entrance.

Monday, 18 August 2008

We spent Sunday in Ipswich, shopping in the morning then watching the regatta. Looks silly, and fun. The weather was perfect for it, bright sunshine.

We should have been heading to the Walton Backwaters with the Old Gaffers, today but the wind was too strong and in the wrong direction so that part of the rally was cancelled.

Motor sailed from Ipswich to Shotley. There is a slight tear in the staysail, so we mended it with sail repair tape as a temporary measure.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

The August Classics Cruise

Went up to Robinetta on Friday night to finish reassembling the cabin before our first long cruise, a week with the Old Gaffers racing and touring round the local rivers. Strictly speaking it’s the racing series that is called the August Classics, but the same name seems to be used for the week long cruise that is built around the racing. Robinetta is not a racing boat, but the cruise looks interesting since it is scheduled to go to places we haven’t been yet.

We managed to get everything in place and luggage/provisions stowed by 1600 on Saturday then cruised up the Orwell, past Pin Mill and all the way to Ipswich which we’ve not done before. We entered the lock with 9 other boats, most of them heading for the rally.

We tied up at Ipswich Haven Marina alongside Charm, a very smart small gaff yawl.