Monday 23 April 2012

Lowestoft to Hoo

Having spent the previous weekend doing a succession of small jobs to get ready for departure, the Easter weekend arrived and Sharon accompanied by No 2 son Stephen, drove me and the crew (Mick and Alan) up to Lowestoft on Good Friday with the expectation we would leave the following day. There were just a couple of little jobs left to do; patch the mainsail, fit split pins to the throttle linkages and fix the nav lights.

Things started ok. The mast was indeed up and all the bits and pieces connected. It took most of the afternoon to stow provisions and say goodbye to Sharon and Stephen so precious little got done.

The next morning we set too in earnest. Alan and I got on with the sail and a general tidy up above decks and left Mick to sort out the Nav lights. By late afternoon it was clear . Multiple problems with the Nav lights fittings and wiring finally let to the diagnosis that new lights and wiring were required. After much heated debate about whether we needed the lights (that continued during the rest of the week) I decided we did and it was therefore clearwe were going nowhere that day. Only undersized lights and domestic wire could be tracked down quickly so we had to make do with a temporary solution. Somehow or another it was late Monday afternoon before the lights and a succession of other unanticipated more minor jobs were done.

The northerlies had been and gone and with freshish south westerlies forecast we dropped down the river to the outer harbour having played chicken with the local dredger on the way.

The Dredger Orca
We weren't going far only to the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk YC/Marina. As we manoeuvred into our chosen berth I gave the engine a touch of half throttle forward to ensure AS carried her way and at that point the throttle jammed open. AS started to surge ahead towards the marina wall. Fortunately Mick had just got on the pontoon with a line and had got it round a cleat. I had time to catch the look of alarm on his face as he looked back to the boat before I dived for the stop button. We escaped serious mishap - just. Investigation revealed a missing circlip in the Morse control. An hour or so later a temporary repair was affected and the water tank had been filled - with non drinking water - the only water available on the pontoons but we failed to notice the signs!

We consoled ourselves with a very good meal at the Yacht Club and got a reasonably early night ready for an early start in the morning.

A fresh south westerly was blowing but we got through the banks without undue difficulty and made sail. We we were able to lay a reasonable course for Harwich and were enjoying a cracking sail. The boat was going well under full genoa and a single reef in the main. Then the 0810 Lowestoft Coastguard transmission wiped the smiles off our faces. A SW severe gale force 9 was forecast. In our alarm we forgot that "soon" gave us 6 hours and we diverted to Southwold after only 2 hours sailing.

Proud owner at Brightlingsea
Alan and Mick had to leave for other duties. Mick returned on Wednesday evening and Tony joined us too. The stiff breezes of Wednesday and Thursday (the F9 never materialised in Southwold) were replaced by two days of flat calms So we motored to Brightlinsea and then onto Hoo without further incident other than being boarded by the Police off Blacktail Spit. I think they were getting in some Olympics prep as I've never been boarded before. Suffice to say they fpund no reason to detain us!

Roll on the sumer!
George at work before we discovered his proper home, 
Tony and AS at Brightlingsea

The Crew