Back in the River & I Escape Injury

19th April

Me n ‘Talisker 1’ are anchored off Brick Dock above Aldeburgh after a gentle beat up the river with the start of the flood in a light east north easterly breeze.  It required eighteen tacks to round Slaughden Quay as our tender gurgled along behind us.

19th April


It required 18 tacks to round Slaughden Quay

Anchored in the hole just below Brick Dock.  A favourite spot in north easterlies.

There was fog at first light, which quickly cleared to reveal a cloudless blue sky with crystal clear visibility. The anchorage is beautiful and just lacks ‘Tuesday’ and the Doc anchored near by.  I have not seen another boat.

Simon Abley arrived in Orford yesterday evening from Gosport.  My oldest sailing friend dating back to 1998 when Simon helped me get started in these waters.  Simon has bought ‘Time Flies’ a Sigma 362 and has taken the mooring next to mine.  James Robinson and ‘Dura’ are the other side of ‘Time Flies’ and of course Doc and ‘Tuesday’ are my other immediate neighbour.  My three closest sailing chums!  How nice is that?

The injectors will have to come out.  Despite hardly running the engine and having slipped our mooring and anchored under sail today there was a litre of diesel to clean up under the engine. Wonderful Peter Buchan is going to come over on Thursday to give me a hand getting the injectors out.  Sometimes injectors come out easily, occasionally they can be very difficult.  Peter Norris has people in Colchester who will return them to me in 24 hours.  I hope so!  Peter Buchan had told me the job could not be delayed!  I should have listened.

I went ashore on Saturday and Sunday to work on the new Sailing Club pontoon.  We hope to finish the job on Wednesday evening.  I plan to sail back down river to Orford on Wednesday.

23rd April

I’m at home after a very fortunate escape from a more serious injury.  More of that later.

I sailed, or rather predominantly bare poled back to Orford from Brick Dock in a north easerly F5.  Add the last of the ebb in the river and we were making good speed over the ground.  The few days at anchor had been lovely.

21st April.  Returning to Orford from Brick Dock

Is it my imagination or is the sky not so much more blue?  The visibility has also been …. just incredible.  Mother nature seems to have got on so much better without us hurtling through the skies and clogging up the roads.

Peter Buchan was brought out to ‘Talisker 1’ on Thursday morning by our splendid Orford HM and a couple of hours later the injectors were out.

Having lectured for so long about taking care of crew, I got away with a bad fall while Peter was working on the engine.  I always tell people to keep hatches and lockers shut when working on deck.  My cockpit locker was open.  Stepping from the deck on to what should have been the lid of the locker and seat of the cockpit, my right leg went straight down the very deep locker.  I fell forward and avoided banging my head on the seat the other side.

Peter happened to be looking out at the time and he was calmness itself.

‘Have you broken anything?’

To my amazement my right leg had missed everything including the fluke of the kedge anchor.  I managed to rest a while, quite shaken, before gingerly extricating myself.  A day later and a badly bruised knee seems to be the worst of it.  I’m pleased it happened and that I got away with it.  A wake up call!  I cannot afford falls of any kind.

The one certainty is that my mate Peter Buchan, would be a good man to have around in a crisis.

I’ve just driven to Colchester Fuel Injection  who could not have been more helpful.  They tested the injectors there and then and told me they were working perfectly.  So the fuel leakage is from the base of the injectors and Peter has a cunning plan up his sleeve that he hopes will work to avoid taking the head off until the winter.

29th April

My friend Peter Buchan returned to Orford on Tuesday and beautifully reinstalled the injectors.  Peter’s plan, having read all the forums, was to install a copper washer at the base of the injector sleeve.  It’s saved taking the head off the engine probably indefinitely.  Peter was then appalled he could not cure the tiniest of weeps from one of the fuel return lines.  But they are almost always incurable.

My knee is still not good from the foolish tumble in the cockpit.

I plan to be back aboard after my second Covid vaccination on Saturday.

‘Talisker 1’ back on her mooring.



  • Roger Bonnett says:

    Hello James, Good to hear about the start of your sailing season. Sorry to hear about your fall. My wife tripped going into Waitrose and broke a bone in her ankle about four weeks ago. She is making good progress.
    My Sadler 34 Vivace had injector problems soon after I bought her 17 years ago. She then had a Volvo 2003 and the injectors were removed for compression test at the survey. They leaked after that. Special Volvo tool required to swage the copper sleeves into the head.
    Vivace is due to launch tomorrow and will spend the weekend getting her ready for sailing.
    Looking forward to your talk in the autumn in Henley, Covid allowing.

    Happy sailing and fair winds.


    Roger Bonnett

    • Hello Roger. Very good to hear from you and so lovely your getting back out on the water. So sorry about your wife. My fall was a very good wake up call. For me there is a vast difference between 62 and 65. A fall is not a good idea.
      You have the same engine! My friend Peter Buchan is very confident that his fix with the injectors will work. There are quite a few ‘special’ tools for that engine. Most jobs I’m happy to do myself but more than happy for Peter to help with the injectors. So far so good.
      Have a great season. Fair winds and stay safe. James

      • Roger Bonnett says:

        Thanks James. Your comment re age is correct. I can assure you it doesn’t get any better but one has to just be very careful and not tackle too much. I’m 77 and my wife 72 so we are now very selective on where we go and what we do.
        I met a nice grey haired chap Peter Bruce famous in his own right and son of the great sailor and writer Errol Bruce. I said I was getting too old for this lark as I rafted up alongside his boat. He replied how old are you then, so I told him. He said ‘Keep Going’ I’m three years older than you and if we give up that will be it for fun and adventure.

        • I have every intention of carrying on. I’m just hoping for a bit more good health. Marvellous your both still sailing. Your wife better get her ankle fixed …
          ATB James

  • Chris says:

    I enjoyed reading your log, but sorry to read of your fall. Don’t worry too much, you’re just a boy! I’m 77 and sailing a GK24 which is great fun.
    Only stopped commercial sailing 2 years ago, and did a 9k delivery into the Pacific 3 yrs ago, so you’ve plenty of time yet
    My GK Has the original Petter 6 engine which I think has reached its sell by date. Planning on replacing it with a Yanmar 1 GM. I think that’s fairly standard procedure.
    If you plan a long cruise, you’d be very welcome in the harbour here.

    • Hi Chris. Thank you for your lovely comment. I’m not worried by my fall having got away with it. I’m pleased it’s given me a wake up call. I like the GK24. The 29 was very good too. I’d love to be still sailing in 12 years time. I longed to go much much further but with family and elderly folk to look after, my longer trips are restricted to a few months in the summer. And Covid prevented me getting to Faroe and possibly Iceland last year. Good luck with the new engine. V well worth doing. I popped in to google and got nothing. Where are you based? Stay safe ATB James

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