Sunday, 15 July 2012

Down the Wallet

Woke up to a perfect sailing day, bright sunshine and a nice fresh breeze. I thought the wind was a bit too fresh for our no1 jib, but Julian thought we'd be okay, and he was right.

We sailed off the mooring at 0930, just before high water Wrabness, and were past Harwich Shelf cardinal by 1100 after a gorgeous sail down river. The wind felt stronger once we rounded the Naze and began to fine reach, so we dropped the stay sail once we passed the tower at 1200.

We put a reef in and changed down to the no2 jib (with the staysail up again) to have lunch in comfort, but the wind felt more on the nose all the time, and we were beating to no effect by the radio tower at New Holland for a long time before we gave up and put the engine on at 1415. We normally try to work the tide in the Wallet, but the timing would not just not work for that today.

Despite keeping the stay sail up to steady us Robinetta rolled uncomfortably, and the engine at full tilt is not restful. We unfurled the jib, and motor sailed with the foresails only as they let us sail closer to the wind than the main.

Both the engine and us had had enough by 1600, so we put the full main up again and began to beat against the tide again. We saw Deirdre well inshore of us, motor sailing with the main up. She pulled ahead of us before we reached North Eagle where a gust made us decide to put a reef in the main again.

We got round Colne Bar at 1815 and began beating up the Blackwater, but we were both tired having been on the go for nine hours, so at 1905 we gave up trying to sail, put the motor on, and got the main down. The parel line had worn through at some point, and Julian only found one of the beads (although I found another later hiding in the staysail folds). We need to make/buy some more.

We got onto the mooring at 2030. I'd done a fair bit of tidying up while Julian helmed us past the Nass Beacon, but it still took another 45 minutes to pack, get the sails stowed, and put the covers on before we were ready to leave. We won't be back for three weeks, so I took most of the food off with us. Our preserved chorizo, which is supposed to be good until September, had gone mouldy, so we'll need a new one.

Worm was very full of baggage, but with only an hour to go before high water we headed for the slipway rather than the pontoon and soon had everything in the car.

It felt like a very long trip home, especially compared to the lovely fast sail on Friday.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

RHS Race

IMG_1488 by Dick Wynne
IMG_1488, a photo by Dick Wynne on Flickr.
No, honestly, we were racing. Charm and Robinetta got a bit close and we had to fend off. I had to walk right to the end of the bowsprit to push their bowsprit away. All at a speed of about 0,1 knots.

The amazing thing was that we were first over the start line, and actually held the lead for 15-20 minutes! All the other boats overtook us before we passed Holbrook cardinal though.

The whole race was SLOW. Only Transcur managed to finish, making Shotley Horse and back to Wrabness in over 5 hours. We got just beyond Erwarton before giving up, and Charm had just reached Parkeston Quay. Apparently Bona got to within 20 yards of Shotley Horse, but just could not get round it with no wind as the tide turned.

It rained almost all afternoon, but cleared up in time for the barbecue in the evening, and a great time was had as always!

RHS Rally

IMG_1486 by Dick Wynne
IMG_1486, a photo by Dick Wynne on Flickr.
Dick Wynne took this lovely shot of us from Charm

Racing without wind (with rain)

Robinetta's hatches leak. We always knew the foredeck one did, but we've never slept on board in the rain without the cockpit canopy on before. It's disconcerting to hear water gurgling over the ribs from the cockpit into the bilges when the boat rocks.

We got up early and put the cockpit cover over by 0800. The sail was sodden though, so drips kept coming in.... Julian made porridge, and the winter breakfast went with the dank weather.

We gathered on Wrabness beach for a race briefing, and the rain decreased to drizzle, then stopped. It stayed dry as we returned to Robinetta and raised sail on the mooring. We tried to sail off, but the wind was so light we had to put the engine on to get to the right side of the start line. After that it was a case of a carefully timed drift down with the tide.

Friday, 13 July 2012

Up the Wallet

We meant to go to Robinetta last night, but it was dark, and raining, by the time we were ready, so we slept at home instead. We were out of the house at 0600 in daylight with no rain, and the tide was right to let us float Worm off the slipway which is much easier than using the pontoon.

Julian stuck a couple of small patches on the damaged main sail, then we were off the mooring by 0815. I made bacon sandwiches for breakfast under way, a real boat breakfast! We reached Bench head by 0935, and had a rather uncomfortable run past Colne Bar and North Eagle, but we were very broad reaching before Clacton, and had a fast trip, to round the Naze by 1235.

After our breakfast under way we decided to stop off at Harwich Halfpenny pier for a late lunch at 1430. We dropped sail just outside the pontoon, then motored in and rafted up along side Charm (the Walton one). We had a nice lunch of Bagels and smoked salmon, sharing a bottle of Cava with Charm's owner. He was on his way to Wrabness for the rally too, but waiting for Charm's co-owner to arrive from work.

We left Harwich at 1610, then sailed close hauled up the Stour to Wrabness. We found an empty mooring nice and close the the beach hut and were on it by 1800. Mike motored by in Lillibulero about half an hour later, and asked us to move because he thought we were on the mooring he was supposed to use as committee boat, but he called over almost immediately to say he'd found the real one, so we stayed put.

It was lovely evening, cool for the time of year, but dry and bright. We were lulled into a false sense of security and did not put the covers on. Big mistake when it started raining in the night!