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Erm? They're Clive and Les aren't they?

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(the hairy one)


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Shipping Forecast

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Harwich 22nd June

Yacht Quintet
Ha'penny Pier

22nd June, 2005

<-Lowestoft 21st June Southend 23rd June->

Another light and variable forecast but now the winds are going south. If weren't on a deadline to get to Limehouse Friday, so Clive attend his sister's 80th birthday on Saturday and so that I can entertain Tony and Denise (you remember my painter) we'd have spent the day lazing about waiting for more auspicious weather. But you make these arrangements..

So at 5.30 we were up and about again creeping out of Lowestoft before most of the town was awake.

The tide was under us and we flew down the coast hitting in excess of seven knots. But still no wind. The log shows the following comments:
0800 No wind AGAIN!
0900 Even LESS wind

We breakfasted frugally this morning, Clive on soft boiled eggs and I had just a slice or two of toast and marmalade with the usual strong coffee, but this morning it was taken black. Our milk had turned sufficiently to be beyond pouring. So today we must shop!

The sea was a mirror, only slightly disturbed by our wake, and not a trace of breeze anywhere for the first three and a half hours.

Click for a larger imageI picked up a weather forecast using one of our few bits of technology on this delightful traditional boat. I must ask why I can get excellent GPRS coverage 5 miles offshore but not in the centre of London. But it sure beats getting up at 1.00 o'clock in the morning to discover one has just missed the shipping forecast, again! Anyway the forecast promised more of the same so we were mildly surprised when the wind came in at just after 10.30.

We hoisted our poor, old, tired genoa (by 'we' I mean poor, old, tired 'me' hoisted our poor, old, tired genoa) and the mainsail and still managed to maintain a speed in excess of 4 knots. At last we are starting to sail a bit. Yippee.

There is one annoying problem though. Our centreboard will not drop by itself and we regularly have to open the side of the centreboard case and push it down by hand. This seems a dangerous thing to do in any sort of a sea as the panel on the case is only inches above the waterline when we are upright! With a bit of a heel on who knows what will happen. (Actually we'll SINK!)

We debated what to do about it but came to no particular conclusion. Mind you if Clive tells me once more that 'of course you know the old centreboard used to come down with a crash!' I will not be responsible for my actions.

We had planned to anchor off Felixstowe and row ashore for provisions but the beach (Huh! Beach! It was 45 degree concrete steps.) seemed less than inviting so we decided to go into the Deben.

Big mistake. Nasty entrance, and once you get in there's nowhere to go alongside. So we came out again. Second mistake. At the end of the flood when a normal harbour would be in slack water, the Deben is still romping in. It took quite a while to get out again, at full revs.

So we decided to go into Harwich. But by this time it was nearly 3.00 o'clock in the afternoon and we hadn't eaten lunch, mainly because we didn't have any food.

At Ha'penny Pier we were invited to tie alongside the Thames barge Thalatta, but only if we returned within the hour as they had a cargo of recalcitrant school children to move at 4.00 o'clock. Fortunately the local Spar shop was within just a few minutes walk, even for 2 old gits who have just spent half a week in a boat and we returned on time.

Having stowed the essentials, a pint of milk, two pork pies, some salad and a couple of bottles of Speckled Hen, we nipped across to Shotley marina to fuel and water and then, as we locked out Clive noticed the fan belt was slipping. So we crawled at low revs, to limit the fan belt damage, out to a mooring where we could stop and repair. And by the time that was all sorted out, it was too late to make any further progress today.

So we have reluctantly returned to Ha'penny pier. We have showered and dined on fresh prawns, a little potato salad (my recipe) and crudités with garlic mayonnaise and a very nice Brown Brothers Chenin Blanc.

And tomorrow we rise again at sparrows' fart...

Les Sutcliffe

<-Lowestoft 21st June Southend 23rd June->