No entries on the blog for a while!
Dear old ‘Talisker 1’ sat on her mooring from the 7th July to the 13th August. She wasn’t alone as she became my summer house boat, whilst wild life proliferated below the water line. I was busy at the sailing club.
By the time we headed upriver for a day sail on the 13th August she was trailing all manner of growth despite my scrubbing the boot top and cleaning below the waterline as far as I could reach. Leaving our mooring it almost felt that she had to detach herself from her neighbour ‘Tuesday of Ore’.
It’s been busy at Orford Sailing Club. My duties as Commodore are not without challenges but working with our young Dinghy Instructors and our young people during the school holidays has been a very great pleasure and a privilege.
I’ve also sailed my Orford Dabchick Ten Footer … very badly.
I’ve watched in awe as my lovely friends John, Kara and young Dean took on the North West Passage. A few days ago, they arrived safely in Alaska. My admiration for this crew knows no bounds. Together with their fine ship ‘Sentijn’ they are returning to their beloved Pacific Ocean. There are no sailors I admire more than the Penningtons. And it’s all done with no fuss, no publicity and in a quiet modest way. Bravo!
Yesterday I had the sail of sails! If god does exist, and I seriously have my doubts, he was out and about yesterday. In a south easterly F4 we hoisted a full main, weighed anchor off Mersey Stone Point and gently beat out of the Colne under main only. Setting the stay sail in open water ‘Talisker 1’ flew out of the Colne under a cloudless September sky.
Combined with the ebb tide and her clean bottom, not to mention her immaculate sails, the Wallet passed in the blink of an eye and slowly coming off the wind as we rounded the Naze we sailed in to the Orwell and anchored under sail off Trimley Marshes.
The day before we had sailed in the Blackwater from the Colne. We had sailed to the Colne from the Stour on the 13th September where we had been pleasantly anchored in northerlies in Erwarton Bay.
On the 2nd of September we had sailed to the Orwell very very slowly. Leaving the Ore we struggled to make way against the flood as we made our way out of the river. That evening we anchored in the Orwell off Trimley Marshes in gentle south easterly winds.
The following day we were on the scrubbing posts at Suffolk Yacht Harbour. No wonder she was not moving as all was slowly revealed with the ebb.
I was able to spend two low waters on her undersides. The propeller was covered in barnacles.
With an immaculate prop and a clean bottom we took a berth in Suffolk Yacht harbour until I was free to go sailing again on the evening of the 12th September when we motored down to Erwarton Bay.
A squall hit us as we motored in to the Stour. Rain of biblical proportions with distant thunder and visibility down to a hundred metres or so. I tested my new oilies for the first time in a summer that has been the oddest, for wind and weather, that I’ve ever experienced as a sailor.
I return to Suffolk Yacht Harbour today. Just for the night as tomorrow I motor down to the Southampton Boat Show to lend a hand on the Kemp Sails Stand. A pleasure for me with everything Rob and his team have done for me over the years.
I’ve run for cover and we are now in the perfect storm hole. Titchmarsh Marina is on the wrong side of the Orwell and Stour or it would be a more permanent home for ‘Talisker 1’. Berthing charges are reasonable, the harbour staff are very helpful and the marina is very protected. The chandlery is very well stocked and a delight, having recently been taken over by the marina. As a visitor I am paying half what I paid at Ramsgate and less than half of what I paid at Eastbourne!
We sailed to the Walton Backwaters under double reefed main and with a few rolls in the stay sail. The biggest winds are due tomorrow and Wednesday. It was a fairly long beat out of the Orwell. Nineteen tacks to Languard and a further three to enter Hamford Water.
I’m booked for a gas MOT here on Wednesday! So two reasons to be here.
I spent yesterday on the Kemp Sails stand at the Southampton Boat Show. It was a pleasure to be with the experts Rob (Kemp), Owen and Alistair. My sails are still amazing after so many miles. When I ran my business, I just advised and guided my customers. This way trust was developed as there was never ever a ghastly hard sell. I had been in the pleasant position of selling a life changing product.
Kemp do exactly the same thing! They are very interested in their customers and are inquisitive about their boats and their aspirations on the water. With that knowledge Kemp guide their potential customers through the options and choices. Supplying customers with exactly the product that is right for them is a superb tribute. Most of all customers are very much more likely to return.
One of the things in the marine industry that has always put me off instantly is being ‘talked at’ rather than ‘talking with’. Some of us sailors have done a bit of sailing and some of us considerably more than those selling us stuff! Those new to the sport should also be treated with respect. Expert knowledge can be imparted in a gentle way and the way one listens to a client is vital.
My relationship with Kemp Sails is now twenty years old.
The high winds petered out in the early hours and we were able to leave Titchmarsh Marina just before midday. In light southerly winds we sailed to Medusa SH mark before returning to the Orwell. We are at anchor for the night just inside Orwell PH buoy. More strong winds are due over the next few days. We might well return to the Ore early. My late September sail to Oostende is not going to happen.
Yesterday my gas was overhauled and tested by Gas Afloat. I can strongly recommend Kevin Eden. Get your gas checked professionally and signed off every five years!
I had an interesting conversation with a few members of HM Coastguard at the Southampton boat show. They were based at Fareham! I lamented the loss of Thames Coastguard and told them, through no fault of their own, that the loss of ‘local knowledge’ was terrible and would cost lives. They did not understand … and pointed to technology. I wonder how many former seafarers are employed today!
I am alarmed to learn that two of our local Life Boat Stations are threatened with partial closure. The all weather lifeboats at Aldeburgh and Walton & Frinton are to be withdrawn leaving the all weather lifeboat at Harwich to pick up all the pieces. This is madness and my guess is the decisions are being made by those not qualified to do so. Felixstowe is a major port. The offshore wind farms are numerous. The Thames Estuary is notoriously difficult. I should know with the 30,000 miles I’ve sailed … just in these local waters … single-handed!
There will be a major incident in these waters. Losing two of the three all weather lifeboats is a serious mistake.
Furthermore, the steady erosion of the master marinas by the RNLI with the introduction of so much technology has been very sad. Men with a lifetime at sea, side lined. Again … local knowledge and experience working at sea in their home waters cannot be replaced by science. This is no criticism of the men and women who selflessly serve the RNLI today.
Having raised the main sail we weighed anchor and got underway this morning and took the last of the ebb out of the Orwell.
In gentle north westerly winds that backed west into the afternoon we sailed to the Wallet Spitway and had a long beat with the flood up in to the Crouch before finally lowering the main, close hauled under stay sail, before anchoring close in to the bank. We will be snug here overnight with winds from the north west.
As I write this, my peace is disturbed by the generator charging the batteries.
My plan is to sail to the Ore tomorrow.
With the remnants of another hurricane inbound I am pleased we sailed to our home port of Orford today.
65 knot wind gusts are forecast in a couple of days!
It was a beautiful September day with light westerly winds. The sun had just risen over the eastern horizon and Saint Mary’s Church. With not a cloud in the sky we weighed anchor and got underway.
Running down the Crouch under main only, and with a strong ebb tide, we passed Foulness Point in the blink of an eye and sailed down towards the Wallet Spitway. Foulness and Buxey Sands were still covered by the retreating flood as we left Sunken Buxey and then Buxey Edge behind us before passing Swin Spitway and then through the Spitway into the Wallet. The tidal stream was with us until Walton on the Naze and just beyond when the flood began and we had a foul tide for the remainder of the passage. We needed at least half tide to cross the Orford Haven river bar to get into the Ore. Our timing was perfect!
Several times we needed to put the brakes on by sailing under main only. A sail change between the genoa and stay sail was useful too, to control our speed.
The silent sail up river passed Haversgate Island, with the church and castle beyond is tirelessly beautiful. The greeting of a Curlew the only sound … a delight!
I started the engine and turned in the Short Gull to lower the main sail. The magic spell was broken.
A beautiful Nicholson from Suffolk Yacht Harbour was on our mooring. I felt terrible having to evict them, but they were able to pick up another mooring very close by.
It was blowing when Matt Smy, our wonderful Harbour Master, brought me ashore in his launch this morning.