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Lowestoft 21st June

Yacht Quintet
Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club

21st June, 2005

<-Wells-next-the-Sea 19th June Harwich 22nd June->

A fairly boring day today. The forecast was for light variable but predominantly westerly winds and that's what we got. But a bit too light for us.

Clive having fixed the radio aerial and radar reflector and checked the engine yesterday, he arranged last night with the Harbour Master for him to guide us out this morning on the high tide at 6.15 am. He happily agreed then commented that of course this would be his day off but 'someone' would be there.

So this morning at 6.00 o'clock, after a reviving shower in the superb facilities at the Harbour Office, we slipped our mooring and called up the man. But no reply. Even a call to mobile phone achieved nothing more than an answerphone.

So we asked a local fisherman who was preparing to go out whether he might lead us. He said he had to refuel but his mate could show us the way, although he might be going a little faster than we would like. As it was, he shot off at a million miles an hour and took a number of shortcuts which would have been detrimental to our keel, so we were on our own.

We followed the navigation marks closely and retraced our course from Sunday with care. We did ok, not touching once and felt quite pleased with ourselves. But I still wouldn't like to do it in the dark or in bad weather. It really is the most convoluted channel.

Once outside, and breathing sighs of relief, we prepared breakfast, coffee, orange juice and bacon and black pudding rolls as we motored across a glassy sea.

Click for a larger imageThe wind did finally arrive at 8.45 but it was very fluky and by 11.00 we had resorted to the 'donk' again.

We then motored along the relatively featureless Norfolk coast until 4.00 in the afternoon, with minor moments of interest for morning coffee, lunch of pork pie and Nelson Ale, and not much else really. Although we did spot the Cromer Lifeboat station where the famous Henry Blogg was wartime coxwain and Clive told an interminable story about the grand hotel building behind. So not much else really!!!!!

Click for a larger image

By 4.00 o'clock, just north of the monstrous wind farm on Scroby Sands, we saw ruffled water and hoisted the genoa to supplement our motor against the foul tide. And within half an hour we were under full sail, the poor genoa straining to stay in one piece as we sailed past Yarmouth at a pace which can only be described as leisurely!

The wind came in and out but we decided that the peace of sailing outweighed motoring to make the yacht club bar. And then speed increased as the tide turned in our favour.

We managed to sail most of the way to Lowestoft before the wind died at around 7.30pm so we dropped sails and motored in to the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club marina for a tasty pasta dinner and a well deserved bottle of wine.

Later we visited the bar in the magnificent 1903 yacht club building for a convivial evening with a bunch of guys from Clive's childhood sailing grounds, the River Deben. The Ansells was really good. The club's Victorian toilet facilities rival those famous toilets in Rothesay, with 100 year old porcelain and a massive brass a copper cistern bearing the engraved fleur de lys of the club's insignia.

We really must empty and refill the water tanks some time. They taste strongly of Iodine. It doesn't affect coffee too much but tea and hot chocolate taste yeugh! And it's not that good in rum either.

Looks like another early start to catch the tide tomorrow. And no wind forecast again. Bugger!

Les Sutcliffe

<-Wells-next-the-Sea 19th June Harwich 22nd June->