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Going South the Adventure


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Well we got the window and although not perfect seas they were definitely well within safe margins so off we went.

Saturday saw us leaving Birmingham at 11.40am for our 8 am start, we have never really got the leaving the house bit sussed but at least we know that if we aim for 9 we will be on our way for mid day, the Journey though was unusually quiet and we pulled into Reedham Marina at about 2.30pm even after stopping for a bite to eat on the way.

Bright sunshine abounded on our arrival and the outside temperature, by the cars little gadget, had risen from a lowly 15 when we had left the Midlands to a much nicer 25 degrees, it even hit 27 as we joined the A47 from the A11. The idea of day one, given we had 2 weeks to enjoy, was always just to get settled into the boat and give the outside a clean, I had bought a bottle of Merr with me from the local supermarket to give it a quick coat as I thought this would be easier than going through the autoglym routine. unfortunately by the time the car was unloaded and and the boat washed there was a bit of moisture in the air and although I tried, polishing was proving fruitless with just smeers every where.

It was at this point that on entering the front cabin the unmistakable aroma of dog scent hit me, little sweet Charlie (our king Charles) had decided that he didn't care much for the smell of the brand new 4.5 tog summer quilt and covers, that we had bought specially for these 2 weeks and decided to add his own twist to them. the result was to throw the quilt and pillow cases in the car and pull out the sleeping bags from the front locker.

With the bed stripped and the boat half cleaned it was time to settle down in the boat, watch a little telly, enjoy a few bottles of Euro fizz and wolf down the cold buffet laid on by Heather

To Be Continued....

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I look forward to reading your opinion of the expanded metal pontoons at Tichmarsh Ian, bloody things. :naughty:

Noisy would be the first impression David, not good for walking on barefoot either and I would imagine a bit slippy in the wet.

Ian

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Saturday saw us leaving Birmingham at 11.40am for our 8 am start, we have never really got the leaving the house bit sussed but at least we know that if we aim for 9 we will be on our way for mid day, the Journey though was unusually quiet and we pulled into Reedham Marina at about 2.30pm even after stopping for a bite to eat on the way.

Hi Ian

you leave between 2am - 3am & get to the broads for 6:30am or there about as the motorway & B roads are clear of traffic so a nice clear run.

Jonny ice sliceice sliceice slice

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Day 2

Sunday saw us wake to bright sunshine at 6.10am, will have to do something about that dog. Anyway once up I thought I would put the kettle on, lets face it it would be unfair for me to be the only one the dog had woken :naughty:.

With tea made and lots of sleepy faces around (not Tom who is 14 and normally sleeps in the saloon, he had kicked Rachel out of the second cabin so that he would not be disturbed in the mornings) it was time to contemplate the day ahead. It was always our intention to take a run down to join Jonathan and Tammy of Crackerjack who were already down at Southwold and with fairly light winds and kind seas forcast it was decided to leave this till the tide turned later in the day giving us the push down and the best mooring conditions at Southwold.

First thing to do was to top up the tanks calling for a trip to Asda with five 20 litre Jerry cans, Asda is one of the few places that do not seems to notice you dispensing 100 litres of petrol into an open boot so it is usually the port of call for fuel, despite being 12 miles from Reedham Marina.

On return 75 litres along with a couple of bottles of Redex was transferred into the tanks topping them both to the brim, the remaining fuel was stored in the anchor locker split between 2 tins, this space is ideal as it is sealed from the boat and drained overboard, there is room to carry three 20 litre cans without impacting the windlass or chain.

The canopy's were removed and Clanny then got the finishing touches to her quick makeover with the polish, the quick might be somewhat misplaced though as there was no time left to return to the petrol station and refill the fuel cans intended to give us the reserve we needed for the trip, this may have been due to the regular tea breaks enforced by Heather who was happily soaking up the Rays and devouring yet another glossy magazine in the cockpit.

2.30 and it was time to slip the lines for a lovely sunshine cruise up to Oulton Broad for our departure through Mutford lock, First Charlie was lifted onto the Flybridge, he hates to be downstairs as soon as the engines are running, then heather was lifted up onto the flybridge, Tom slipped the lines and away we went. At Sommerleyton we met with an unusually helpful bridge man who swung straight away for us and uneventfully cruised across the broad to an open Mutford Lock, which was passed in 15 minutes with a swing of the railway bridge straight away, from there we tied up at Haven to knock up a brew while we waited for the 6pm lift on Lowestoft road bridge, there is no 5pm lift due to traffic constraints.

At 5.45 we left Haven on route to Lowestoft, dodged the large sleeper that had been reported floating in lake Loathing and got clearance to carry on straight out to sea for what turned out to be a lovely calm 22 knot evening Cruise to Southwold, as we approched the Harbour we could see someone being dragged around at high speed in a ringo, this turned out to be James being hauled around behind Jonathans rib. We arrived at Southwold with plenty of water and the flood only an hour off its completion, Picked up James who was crewing for Crackerjack and had been dispatched into the water so that despite him being a very strong swimmer and ex lifegaurd he could get a feel of what the currents are like in Southwold, even though it was neaps and only and hour off full tide, and were presented with a Berth on the Quayside that Colin, the extremely helpful harbour master down there, had prepared for us earlier by moving lots of boats around.

Colin is aware of Heathers mobility problems and always trys to do his best but this really was above and beyond the call of duty as we were only staying the one night, he had moored all the other boats rafted 4 out so that he could put us on the quay. Those that know Southwold will know that the yacht club bar has a balcony that at 7pm is full of those saily types all watching what is going on in the Harbour but fortunately I managed to ferry glide the four boat depth into our berth, despite only having 40' to get a 34' boat into, without any mishaps, I even got a pat on the back for the manoeuvre from Colin so I kept quite about how easy it is to do with Clanny and her twin stern drives, I was just glad he didn't ask me to do it backing into the flow.

Fender Boards were despatched and ropes set before going ashore to catch up with Jonathan and Tammy (Mariotech) and enjoying a pleasant pint sat outside the Harbour Inn.

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I managed to ferry glide the four boat depth into our berth, despite only having 40' to get a 34' boat into, without any mishaps, I even got a pat on the back for the manoeuvre from Colin so I kept quite about how easy it is to do with Clanny and her twin stern drives, I was just glad he didn't ask me to do it backing into the flow.

Hello Senator, being a squirrel by nature, perhaps that ought to be meerkat?, I like to squirrel away information for future reference so your reference to the successful ferry glide is of interest.

This manouver is also v useful on the southern broads around Breydon. I have only experience of small sailing cruises with fin keels where ferry gliding onto moorings is relatively straight forward. With regard to stinkies you mention that your twin drives contributed to your successful manouver. Is it much more difficult with a single engine? Presumably facing into the tide gives the vessel (single or twin drives) the required steering?

It's always great to learn from the experiences of those that do, so your comments would be appreciated .... and of course anybody else.

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Hi Smelly loo,

Have to admit to not trying it with a single outdrive, and it has been a long time since I did it in a hire boat with a single shaft but what I do find is that if you do over cook it slightly then it is easy to slow the glide down by using the inshore engine, it avoids that nasty feeling as the bank suddenly starts to speed towards you or worse that feeling when the front decides it wants to swap places with the back.

It is a feeling that is really only associated with fast flowing water though, at Southwold you can have up to 5 or 6 knots running against you.

Ian

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Where is the fun in that Perry, it's just cheating.

There is a cummings system now that does the same with stern drives so you don't need those nasty pod things.

Would have come in usefull later in the holiday when I needed multiple attempts to get into stern on berths, one with a stiff breeze on the nose and another with a gale force wind on the port side and trying to moore to the port side of a pontoon.

Clanny isn't keen on listening to commands in either of these conditions.

Ian

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Day 3

This was the big day, Although we were going out with Crackerjack Jonathan cruises at around 12 knots which is unfortunately to slow for Clanny to be on the plane and just uses phenominal amounts of fuel, we have the choice of 8 and below or 18 knots and up with the best speed around 22 knots. This meant that we would be making our first solo voyage in unfamiliour waters, exciting and nerve racking at the same time.

I had plotted the course on paper charts which were dated 1998 but had had all the updates applied from 2000 to 2009, transfering the waypoints onto the chart plotter which is new so blessed with the most current charts I followed the route down to find that I would go straight through a drying height that even with the amount of water on the tide would have been a little close and was not shown on the paper chart. A quick amendment pulled the route out a bit and was safe according to both paper and electronic navigation.

Jonathan had plotted a course further out staying in deep water so although we left Southwold more or less together by the time we had been out for 1/2 hour we were well and truely on our own, a consiquence of both the extra speed we were running at and the different courses that we had plotted from Orford ness down to the bouy marking the start of the entrance course into the Deben.

The run down of just under 2 hours was uneventful for the first part but as we got to the last 5 or 10 miles we found ourselves in what seemed a minefield of lobster pots, most were well marked but there were a few with just an old 5 litre oil can tied to the end, fortuntely it was pretty calm so they were fairly easy to spot but at night with a decent chop it would have been a very different story and not one I would have liked to be part of.

After picking our way through the pots we arrived at Woodbridge haven bouy, skirted west Knoll to port then keeping mid knoll tight to our starboard side we were over the bar and in the Deben.

The Deben itself is well bouyed but you need to be sure you are looking at the right one as many can be hidden amoungst the what seems like thousands of yachts floating on swing moorings. All I can describe it as is Breydon water at full tide but someone has carved a zig zag course across using the full width using a mix of port and starboard marks and then hiding them behind obsticles, we did miss one bouy and ran the depth sounder very close but fortunately the chart plotter had a pretty good chart of the Deben and one glance showed which way it would be wise to turn 90 degrees to.

The higher reaches of the Deben dry almost entirely so the chart plotter is not much use up there, all you have on the screen

is land with no sign of water but the bouys are a lot more visable, it seems strange heading the wrong way on what seems open water but despite local boats going a different way we thought it better to follow the proper chanel and soon were greeted with Tidemill Marina and a depth gauge showing a very comfortable 2m over the sill.

Tidemill, just as all the other marinas were very helpfull with making sure that we were on a convienient berth for Heather and they had placed us on a good length of pontoon on the inside of the horseshoe.

About 30 minutes later Crackerjack pulled into the marina and a brief disscusion showed the far greater knowledge possesed by Jonathan when he announced that he had not seen one lobster pot but in his expierience they tend to be dropped in less than 10m of water which is why he had plotted a route in water over that depth.

Tidemill Marina is a lovely spot and the small town of Woodbridge hosts a small cinema, a swimming pool and a good range of shops although there can't be a very good TV signal and we couldn't work out why every one was not 50 stone alcoholics, Bookshops, cake shops, sweet shops and off licences seen to make up the majority of the shops.

Dinner that night was taken at the kings head at the top of the town and both the crew of Crackerjack and Clandestine were very impressed with the offerings, esspecially the sausage and mash ordered by Jonathan and the goats cheese salad that Tammy enjoyed.

To be continued ...

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Great stuff Ian, the pots, and worse trammel nets are normally placed on the contour line as that is the most productive place. Sadly they (contour lines) are also a useful navigation route and can help with positioning if the electrickery stuff goes tits up, a bit more offshore is often better and can be a bit less lumpy too.

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Some may have noticed that there are no photos so far and for this I apologise, Being not much of a photographer I took lots of snaps on my 5 megapixel phone camera, unfortunately on a dinghy excursion it became obvious that salt water and phones don't mix, I am hoping to get some photos back if I can get the phone working again, if this happens I will add them to the post.

Day 4 and 5

Day 4 was spent tied up in Tidemill Marina and dedicated to looking round the town, finding some swings and slides for Rachel to have a play, trying out the local swimming baths and sampling a few of the Coffee shops and old traditional sweet shops. How do you resist all those old favourites sitting there in their Jars, we ended up with enough sweets to keep us going for the rest of the year thanks to childhood memories of Pineapple Cubes, Coconut Mushrooms, Cherry Lips, Lemon Bon Bons along with countless others.

Day 5 saw us part company with Crackerjack as they needed to ensure they had a decent sea to run back up to the Broads and were reaching the end of their 2 weeks afloat. We on the other hand were off to pastures new and looking to discover more new worlds, don't know if it is the same for those that have been salt side for longer but to us every new port makes us feel like intrepid explorers discovering a new continent for the first time. Ok the hundreds of masts that greet you where ever you pull in are a give away that someone might have beaten you to it and I suspect that Columbus did not have floating pontoons to tie up to but it feels so special to approach a new place from the sea as opposed to getting there by car.

The 9 mile run down the Deben was lovely with junior dinghy races under way seemingly the whole length of the river, crowds of people soaking up the sun on the beaches that crop up along the Debens length and dozens of boats making for the open sea at the same time to clear the entrance bar, I noticed a number of boats, motor and sail cutting two quite big chunks out of the buoyed channel but again decided that in unfamiliar waters we were far better going the way that the navigation authoritys dictated.

At the entrance we reversed the route we had followed in to Woodbridge Haven Bouy and then turned to starboard onto a sea with more than its fair share of white horses, our destination was Ipswich accessed via the Orwell and this required the crossing of the main shipping channel for the big ships coming into Felixstowe and Harwich. It was a frightening thought but as it turned out not something that we should have been concerned about. The shipping lane was much narrower than I had envisaged, we crossed in just a few seconds at the point indicated on the chart and our other fear, following story's we had heard of massive wakes to terrify and threaten small boats with extinction, had been layed largely to rest following a chat to a seasoned sailer the night before in Tidemill, apparently the offending vehicle was the high speed cat that used to run to Holland but since its demise there is not a lot within the speed controlled inner reaches of the estuary to be concerned about.

The Orwell is a mighty river very different to the Deben that we had just left, the Deben seemed to have the feel of a Cornish estuary come river and then creek, the sort of place you would expect to find on a picture postcard, the Orwell had the grey and industrialised Felixstowe docks at its entrance and then spread into a very wide and fast flowing major river, In places I would have said that it must have been getting on for a mile wide. The channel is fairly narrow but there is a good amount of water either side for small boats and it is wise to stay well clear of the large commercial ships that still ply these waters.

The 12 or so miles to Ipswich from Shotley was done against the tide, better planning of the stop overs could have avoided this, in hindsight we should have stopped off at the Walton backwaters after the Deben and then we could have cruised up the Orwell on the flood but coming from Woodbridge meant that we couldn't leave Tidemill Marina untill about 1 1/2 hours before the top of the tide due to the sill at the Marina, that put us at the Deben entrance at roughly high tide to clear the bar but meant that the tide had turned by the time we got to Felixstowe and did its best to push Clanny back from the 6 knot speed limit imposed for the river. Clanny was always going to win but the river could successfully claim to have forced the use of substantially more resources than would have otherwise been needed.

On reaching the massive Orwell bridge we called up Ipswich Lock Control, The City Docks, which are now a basin for Haven and Neptune Marina as well as housing a Fairline test facility that had a couple of very nice brand new Squadrons outside, are accessed via a sea lock, it is operated 24 hrs a day and opens on command, there is a floating pontoon inside the lock to tie too, making the substantial water level change far easier to deal with than ropes and bollards and a green light controls the flow of boats. the light is not immediately visible but eventually we did spot it.

We had chosen Neptune as our marina and as with all the Marinas we encountered they were great when it came to finding us an accessible berth for Heather, they moored us up right outside the front of their office as close as possible to the facilitys, there were a couple of very nice expensive boats on the Hammerhead and first length of pontoon that we needed to squeeze by and magnetic forces seemed at play in pulling Clannys nose towards them, despite the wind going the other way, I managed to break the polarity just long enough for us to slip by and moore up. With hindsight we may well have chosen Haven Marina, Neptune is very nice and right next to the town but Haven is separated from the main quay by the width of the docks while still offering easy access to the town, it just seems to offer that little bit better position as a mooring spot and also provides Burton Water marine sales and a chandlers along with its own bar and restaurant.

A decent meal was taken in the lord Nelson just behind the new restaurants and bars of the quay side but I would advise extreme care if anyone should order the Lasagne, it is very nice and a very good portion but the cheese on top was stupidly hot, so hot that it removed all the skin from the roof of my mouth, it took the whole of the rest of the holiday before I could taste any food and 3 days before I could eat without expierienceing a great deal of pain. Cold drinks and ice cream became the norm for the next couple of days, this proved difficult as I could only find beer most of the time but I coped.

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Before committing any more to text maybe it would be sensible of me to ask if anyone is actually interested in reading about our trip.

I realise that it is away from the broads and for that fact alone it may not be of any real interest to the majority of the forum, let alone having to trawl through my inept writing skills.

Ian

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Before committing any more to text maybe it would be sensible of me to ask if anyone is actually interested in reading about our trip

Keep it coming Ian, some of us do go salty sometimes, hence the East Coast area of the forum.

You can read the boooks etc but getting it from someone who has been there is always a useful source of extra information.

I'm going out from Woolverstone marina on the Orwell this weekend, so if you are still in the area watch out!

Martin

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Hi Martin,

Clanny is now back on the Broads and unlikely to escape properly again this year, we love our time on the Broads and the relaxed cruising that it affords but every so often it is great to visit pastures new.

Enjoy your trip the weekend.

Ian

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Before committing any more to text maybe it would be sensible of me to ask if anyone is actually interested in reading about our trip.

Ian

Hi Ian,

A worthwhile read IMHO. It's good to follow the experiences of others, it's surprising how much info remains in the grey cells ready to surface when required - your encounter with lobster pots springs to mind.

The broads is well connected to the North sea so provides an ideal first salty encounter for peeps wanting to sample a more challenging environment. Tales from people like yourself serve to encourage adventure. cheers

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Hi Andy and S Loo,

The music was on hold due to a full scale conversation with a boat a couple in front of us over the Tannoy, it was high water springs so the lock was on free flow. Something else to point out to Mutford though, despite the lock being considerably bigger than Mutford there is no charge to pass through it and it opens all day and night on command without booking.

Ian

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