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Sailing out of the Orwell River
Date & start time: Thursday 5th August 2010, 10 am start.
Location of Start : Shotley Marina, Suffolk, East coast UK ( TM 252 343 )
Places visited : Harwich Harbour, Felixstowe, Orford Ness Lighthouse and back
Sail details : 45 mls, 8 hrs 30 mins including lunch.
Highest point : Standing on deck and enjoying the moment.
Sailed with : Peter (the skipper), Richard and myself.
Weather : " Winds southerly veering westerly, force 2 to 4, sunny periods, fair."
[ For the detailed route see the Gps tracklog opposite ]
Thursday morning dawned bright and fair
and Cathy and Richard have organised a day sail for myself with a neighbour in the village.
She preferred to stay back with Ann and the boys so it was with gear in one hand and lunch in the other
that Richard and I made our way over to Shotley Marina
to search out Peter and his sailing cruiser.
The River Orwell as seen through the Brickyard Cottages archway.
It's fine, as forecasted, and it should be a great day on the water.
Sunshine as we reach the marina.
Shotley Village and the marina are situated on the opposite side of the harbour from Harwich and Felixstowe Docks.
Mmm . . . now to find a chap we haven't met before and a boat we have never seen !
Anyone know what a Cornish Crabber looks like ?
The boat was a Cornish Crabber of traditional design
but built not that long ago by Westerley boats of Cornwall.
Peter has maintained it as a leisure sailing boat and fitted it out for day sailing and cruising locally.
The inner basics of the boat . . . depth gauge, clock and washing up liquid.
Today navigation will rely on map (sea chart) and compass
but on a day like today with great visibility the compass will almost certainly not be used.
Underway through the marina, heading for the sea.
We've radioed the guys in the two storey building to prepare the lock gates for our arrival.
No . . . we are not crossing the Greenwich Meridian already.
There are several old light ships stored in the harbour as they were now redundant
following the automation of the sea marks around the coast of the UK.
Opposite the port of Harwich is the large container port of Felixstowe,
it's huge container cranes awaiting the arrival of the next boat.
Full sail under fair skies and a steady breeze.
Outside the harbour we turn north to make our way up the east coast.
The next massive container vessel heads for port along the narrow channel defined by the red (and green) buoys.
That small sailing yacht seems a little closer than preferable to the bow of the larger boat.
In this situation bear in mind that "power does not give way to sail".
It would probably be very difficult for him to be seen from the high bridge of the ship too !
In practice the sailing boat was not that close after all
and the heavily laden vessel passes without incident.
" Plain Sailing "
Walton on the Naze is the headland in the distance.
Passing a channel marker en route to Orford Ness and Aldeburgh.
It's like riding a bike . . . you never forget the basics.
Peter was enjoying a day off from the helm as he let Richard and I sail the boat.
One of the Martello Towers along the sea front just north of Felixstowe.
Past midday now and we are approaching the lighthouse at Orford Ness.
We've said no to entering the River Ore as the tides were wrong.
Low tide would mean shallow waters in the river and there would be a fight against the rising tide when we turn for home.
Out here on the open sea there was still plenty to see.
These are old military buildings from an era of wartime weapons testing, behind are the modern masts of the BBC World Service transmitters
and the area was home to the early developments of radar in the 1930's.
Built on 1792, it has been improved many times over the years and has been automated since 1965.
Its signature is a white flash every five seconds.
Another sailing boat passes, making its way north along the shore.
We leave the other yacht to sail on past Aldeburgh and we turn south for our return journey.
Peter with the camera for a change as we leave Orford Ness on a tack that would take us further out to sea.
During our short sail the weather had changed several times as the weather systems move across the skies.
Sail changing was kept to a minimum however and only during the strongest blows did we drop the topsail slightly.
Nearing Felixstowe again and time to watch out for the larger vessels entering the port.
These were huge structures capable of towering above the tallest ships.
Back across the harbour and passed the light vessel again as we make for the marina.
Moored up, what looks like an ex-Navy training ship, moored out in the bay.
In the trees behind is the site of the HMS Ganges shore station (now closed) that gave numerous people their first taste of Navy life.
Our day on the water draws to a close . . . just like the lock gates on our return.
- - - o o o - - -
Technical note: Pictures taken with my Canon G10 digital camera.
Resized in Photoshop, and built up on a Dreamweaver web builder.
This site best viewed with . . . a willing skipper and a ready crew.
Previous walk - 3rd to 6th August 2010 Pin Mill Village and local Walks
A previous time up here - 24th August 2009 The Old Felixstowe Ferry
Next walk - 7th August 2010 Clipsham's Yew Tree Avenue