Log 12/10/12 – Down the Orwell

Last day of the cruise, and we had to get back to Suffolk Yacht Harbour. The wind had changed through 180degs overnight, so having pushed us up yesterday it would push us back today.

The Dutch tall ships were also starting to move through the lock. Their sail back over to Rotterdam would be a good one in winds touching 20kts.

Once through the lock we unfurled the yankee and that was it; 5kts all the way down the river, and under the Orwell Bridge that we would be driving over a few hours later.

There were plenty of lovely boats to see on the way down river, but we were the only boat sailing for some reason.

It has been a fabulous week – a Dylan Winter pilgrimage cruise of sorts. Please check http://www.keepturningleft.com to see some wonderful little films of sailing a small around these parts.

Log 11/10/12 – Walton to Ipswich

It all started well with another stunning sunrise – but it wouldn’t last. It had been an eerie night alone on the Walton Backwater, but with the tide ebbing we set off in 12kts with one reef in the mainsail.

As we headed past the channel markers the waves kept coming from starboard, and just near Pye End one wave broke over the starboard bow and nearly swamped the cockpit.

Also heading into Harwich was a fleet of tall ships, and a container ship was coming out – so it made for a thrilling sail, made even better with 15kts up the stern and surfing down waves. Once inside the port it all calmed down a bit, and we had a wonderful few hours sailing upstream with these tall ships from Holland.

There were about 20 of these ships in the fleet; it seemed to be a corporate race from Rotterdam.

They made a spectacular sight in the centre of Ipswich – and being full of young Dutch people the air was full of Euro Pop blasting out.

Last day tomorrow – a short sail back down the Orwell to Suffolk yacht harbour.

Log 10/10/12 – Crouch to Walton

A fabulous sunset to finish a fabulous day – the longest sail in two years of ownership. We left Burnham marina on the top of the tide at 7:30am and motored past the town before getting a wind angle we could work with. Then it was main, staysail and yankee for much of the length of the river, until the wind increased over the ebbing tide and it all got a bit dramatic. We rolled the yankee away and bashed on in 16kts with full main and staysail. Others weren’t so keen, and three much bigger yachts just motored out. Pah!

We opted for the Swallowtail channel out to the Swin pass, where everything seemed to calm down and we sailed over to Clacton. The sun had been out for most of the day so far, but the promised change of wind direction to the SE came late, but when it did we were in a great place to benefit and sailed straight past Frinton and then Walton before creeping into the Backwaters in time for that stunning sunset.

We sailed about 32 miles today. I’m a bit vague as the NASA Duet device has gone kaput!

Some pictures from the Crouch are posted below.

Log 9/10/12 – Brightlingsea to The Crouch

After two nights and a dull day in Brightlingsea it was time to move on. The sun was out and the forecasted wind favourable, so we set off at 9:30 on flat water with a following wind.

It was going to be a ‘join the dots’ day – aiming for navigation marks to lead around the shallow sands. The further out we went the bigger the swell and the wind increased. From time to time we saw 18kts, but we kept full sail for most of the day.

Look closely above and you can see one of the marks – they are pretty big so they can be seen from some distance away. They also have a large bell so you can still find them in fog.

As we turned for the Crouch the wind was behind us, so we made great speed all the way into the river where the water calmed down substantially. By 14:30 we were moored between some pretty ugly little boats, and it was time for a late lunch.

Stove project.

On a 19′ boat there isn’t much space, so lots of thought goes into working out how best to use what there is. On each side there are two cupboards, the upper of which is small and very useful, the other is large and awkward. The latter has a sloping floor, and therefore things get thrown in, making it very inefficient. The platform / work top is at a handy height, and many owners mount a small stove on it. Our experience is that this puts the heat source too close to the ceiling; the resulting burning smell has led to an alternative.

What is needed is a fixed stove position which is at a useful height, and which has cooking utensils to hand. The stove shouldn’t be gas as that is dangerous on a boat. Our prototype has been Sikaflexed in place for this weeks cruise on the East Coast.

Shuttering plywood isn’t particularly attractive, but it was in the garage and therefore free, as was everything else used. The unit consists of two pieces scribed to fit the hull profile and carry a shelf running from front to back. The shelf has a divider behind the stove area which creates a void plenty big enough for a 16 piece melamine crockery set, cutlery, etc. Underneath there is a full length whole in which I have a plastic box with more stuff, but which in the finished article may be a sliding drawer. The unit is 30cm wide, so still leaves a useable quarter berth. We’ve lost the option to have two seated on the starboard berth, but that rarely happens; the need to cook is so much more important on Zephyr.

The stove is a Cookmate 1600, which is also branded a the Origo 1500. It runs on meths, and whereas there is some odour it isn’t much, and with the boat ventilated is not noticeable.

The stove has a gimbal option but as yet we’ve not gone that way. With the pot holders we made a number of brews underway with the hull heeled. The unit has already had a huge impact on the ‘live aboard’ capability of the Cape Cutter 19. At the end of the week we’ll know if it needs any modification, and then the final version will be professionally made over the winter.

Log 7/10/12 – Walton to Brightlingsea

After a wonderful night at anchor the alarm went off at 6am so that we could have porridge and bananas, watch the sunrise and catch the tide out of the backwater. It was stunning, but the sunshine was to disappear off Walton when we spent a long time sailing through fog, with the skipper shouting fog horn noises as his was broken. Visibility was less than 100m until we’d passed Walton and were on the way to Clacton, but it turned out nice afterwards.

The wind seemed to drop too, but there was no hurry and we did ‘leisurely’ with some style all the way to the mouth of the Colne, where we anchored in the sun for the afternoon.

By 5pm it was time to find a berth, so we set off for Brightlingsea, where we were excited to see so many of the boats featured in Dylan Winter’s wonder Keep Turning Left films. The first image is of a Thames barge, and below are some fishing smacks used for racing. Wonderful machines.

Log 6/10/12 – Orwell to Walton

With three stents just inserted in his heart, we’re having a lazy week on the East Coast sailing grounds. Having left home at 05:30 we didn’t get wet until 1pm – I did say lazy!

The day has been lovely, if a little short of wind, so we sailed, motored, sailed and then motored some more from the Orwell river, past the container docks at Felixstowe, turned right at Harwich and came to the Walton Backwaters. It’s a stunning place – and the bird calls are magnificent. The sunset isn’t bad either. It’s just us and a handful of other yachts. Idyllic.