Sunday, 15 March 2009

Felixstowe Ferry

Decided to go to Felixstowe Ferry for lunch. Obviously we would have the tide against us in both directions because the Deben bar is best taken at slack water and the Suffolk tides flow in from the North Sea.

Wind NW2 so expected to beam reach on port tack on the way up and starboard tack on the way back. Crossed the shipping lane ok and then the wind dropped and came back from SSW. Starboard tack - thought about the topsail but didn't raise it.

Got into the Deben perfectly and picked up a mooring. Had our lunch and then went back out on the start of the ebb. Piece of cake.

Totally headed now by the wind, with the tide against us too. Motoring along quite happily and then spotted white smoke from the exhaust. Turned the engine off, raised sail and beat back along the coast. Doing quite well on the port tack but losing ground on the starboard tack.

Gently try the engine occasionally. Very slow progress.

Cross the shipping lane in the gloaming. Follow the first few bouys and then its pretty dark. Ease our way in and find the Harwich shelf on the echo sounder and turn towards Felixstowe to avoid. Find the shipping lane again and hug the western edge all the way to Shotley.

Alison is sure she can see the posts marking the seaward end of the dredged channel. I go below to call the marina on the VHF, when I come back up I find Alison has taken us the wrong side of that weird 3 masted motor to sail conversion thats continuously anchored off Shotley. Before I know it we are aground on Shotley Spit, within a 100m of the lock.

Now we are really embarrassed. The only good thing is that its taken us so long to get back that we are now on a rising tide.

We wait an hour and she floats off and we get back OK.

We get an engineer to check the engine, and they tell us that the thermostatic valve got stuck, which was why the engine was emitting steam, (not smoke as we thought).  We got the engine serviced, and the thermostatic valve replaced.