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Our first trip salt-side


mbird

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I wasn't too sure whether to post this in the coastal area, or holiday tales. As it's a recount of our little holiday, I guess here will do! Apologies for the lack of photos, and the couple I do have are from my phone ..... I forgot my camera :oops:

Good Friday

After some titivating, we left Brundall at around 11:00 am for a pleasant but uneventful cruise down to Oulton Broad. We were lucky with the bridges, neither of which we had to wait long for, and arrived at Oulton around 3 hours later. With my slightly iffy track record of mooring maneoveurs with Serenity, I had been dreading the first ever stern-on mooring all day and part of the previous night too! However, when it came to it, lady luck shone, the wind came from dead astern, and a neat landing next to Sea Hunter was accomplished. Of course I claimed it was all planned that way :naughty:

Some of the other boats were already there, and general chit-chat ensued whilst watching the antics of some very expensive boats in the stiff breeze in what proved to be a very busy Oulton Yacht Station indeed! Some other members were also at Oulton, though not as part of the Salty Bottoms, so hello's and chat were exchanged.

We had some visitors for a couple of hours, during which time the heavens opened I was reminded that I hadn't managed to yet waterproof the canopy properly :oops: Meaning the seating arrangments were a little restricted, unless you wanted to wash your hair!

The chaps from the RNLI came around to each boat to carry out a Sea Safe check and make recommendations on safety equipment which should be carried etc, and then we all moved over to the cafe behind the Boulevard amusements where the same chaps gave a practical demonstration on the importance of maintaining and wearing life jackets. During this demonstration, a certain Lucky volunteered yours truly to make an **** of himself (which of course I happily agreed too) along with some other members. I'm sure the photos of that will follow, though I think I'd rather they didn't :oops:

Following the demo, Sharon and I took the kids to the Indian restaurant across the road and had a very pleasant meal, during which I ate far too much. We were too tired for socialising after that so bed called to prepare for the unknown the following day :?

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Saturday

The day got off to a pretty good start weather wise with lighter winds and some sunshine. We started to be called by Mutford lock to commence the rather long process of getting 9 boats through the lock in time for the 11:15 bridge lift we were all booked in for.

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The procedure saw ourselves and Gran Cru (Diesel-falcon) being the last boats to lock through at a worrying 11:10am, with a mile to travel through Lake Lothing to the bridge :o . Our first ever lock through went smoothly (apart from the time aspect) and we were straight into Lake Lothing and Haven Marine. I got shouted at for travelling too fast (okay I was doing 5.5 mph in a 4mph area :( but I was terribly concious we were late and about to be stranded in Lake Lothing until the 14:00 bridge lift).

To compound the worry, Ian (Senator) was in the process of telling Lowestoft harbour that we would be fine with the bridge clearance of 8'6" anyway! "NOOOOOO" I was shouting at the VHF as we need 8'10", but luckily Col (HJII) beat me to it to, and Lowestoft harbour kindly delayed the lift until Gran Cru and ourselves could get to the bridge.

The experience of taking our little 10m boat through Lake Lothing with its collection of "proper" ships was really quite exciting, but it did make us feel rather vulnerable :lol:

As we arrived at the bridge, the lift commenced meaning we only had to try to hold the boat still in a building breeze for a minute of two, unlike the poor peeps who had been waiting for us for about an hour!

Once through the bridge a sharp turn into the RNSYC saw 9 boats trying to find spaces to moor in what can only be described as "close quarters". A lot of very expensive marine hardware was just sitting there waiting to be clouted, but we did okay, and ended up rafted onto the outside of Sea Jem (Wayneakp).

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Saturday (contd)

Once safely moored, a calming beverage or two may have been consumed in the bar which was invaded rather en-masse by the Salty bottoms (sorry to the RNSYC members for that!) along with a sandwich or two.

It was then time to take a walk up the pier to view what we were all there for. The forecasts seemed to have been a bit wrong, so we were pleasantly surprised by what looked (to my very untrained laymans eyes) a reasonably calmish sea state. I have to confess I had never really looked at the sea before with such a feeling of the unknown, and was getting a bit nervous about taking my little boat into the vast expanse! Jonathan (Mariotech) joined us for a look, and to see the fast Sea Voyager rib leave the harbour and what it would make of the sea, to give us a better gauge of what to expect. It was decided we would plan to head out at around 15:00 for a little play so we headed back to the marina to prepare.

Gear was stowed, sea cocks closed, laptop and chartplotter software fired up, course plotted, nerves frayed .........

And out we go. The first vision I had through the harbour entrance was what seemed to be a sea considerably choppier that it looked from the pier, and Crackerjack, the most suitable boat among us for these conditions, rearing up at what looked like about 45 degrees :o . "Holy crap" thinks I! But the more experienced around me seem quite happy to continue out, so I fight the urge to run home crying to mummy and out we go.

The exit from the harbour walls was a little bumpy to say the least! At least we were out, and flippin eck don't it look BIG! I opened the throttles a bit and gained speed but didn't get up to the plane. At this point Jonathon was way infront with no hope of us planing hulls catching him, when from behind comes a planing Clandestine (Senator) overtaking us at a rate of knots, only to hit our wash and take it right over the flybridge! Ha, that'll teach him :lol: But then, if he can plane, so can I as we have the same hulls!

Up onto the plane we go, only to get launched completely skywards and come down hard with a crash. Several more takeoffs, and I'm afraid my testicles just aint that big, so we back off on the throttle a bit.

I slowly build up a little confidence, not helped greatly by VHF calls of "your anti foul looks good!" or "nice propellors", but we stay afloat, start enjoying ourselves, and almost get used to the banging the boat is taking (not like this on Breydon :lol: ). Jonathon cuts the course a little short, and we now have a following sea, which my trim is totally wrong for and my lack of experience shows, with the bow too far down. We get it roughly sorted and head back for the harbour.

The entrance is again a mass of confused swells being reflected back of the harbour walls, but we get through safely and back into the marina with only slightly soiled undergarments, but a huge grin. I'm sure the old-hands will tell you it was only a slight sea with 0.5m wave height and is normal for the North Sea, but to me, it was the Perfect Storm :lol:

A couple of tinnies were supped on the pontoons, and tales related (I'm sure we were being frowned on by the webcam).

The day concluded with an excellent meal at the RNSYC. I think we may have livened up the dining room a bit more than the average clientele, but my face hurt from laughing, and it was a great night. Unfortunately the ydecided midnight was the perfect time to shut the bar, so those of us remaining were kicked out and forced to go to bed :grin:

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Sunday

I woke up early, not quite sure where the hangover I should have had gone to, but decided to halve a walk along the prom to gather my thoughts. 7am is a lovely time to wander by the sea with just a few early risers around. I was more than a little shocked to see that despite the early morning sea mist, the sun was trying to peek through and the sea was a flat calm mill pond! How could it be so different from Saturday afternoon?

Gradually people surfaced, breakfasted, and it was time to place the eggs around the RNSYC for the kids to hunt for. We managed to form some sort of order from the rather excitable kids, and then shared the booty evenly at the end. I'm pretty sure they all really enjoyed themselves. There were only two that didn't take part. Kristie was happy to watch, but I'm afraid Luke had to be physically restrained (okay, so he's a 40 something kid, but he is "special" :naughty: ) However, you should have seen his little face light up when he was finally given an egg at the end :lol: !

After the choclatey shenanigins was completed, a few of us decided maybe we'd better get our bottoms salty again. Luke was off in Relentless, and once Jonathan had sorted me out with the load of a laptop for chartplotter use (mine was crap), we headed out again, joined on board by Jonathan, Col and Conner. This time, with perfect seas, we tore up to Yarmouth, which gave me much more time to explore the trim of the boat, which some helpful advice from Jonathon and Col, and for Sharon and the boys to actually enjoy it rather than hanging on for dear life!

After having a look at Yarmouth entrance so I could see what it looked like from the sea, it was back down to Lowestoft. Relentless was out infront and making a rather meandering course, forcing me to keep cutting across his wash (which is something else I learned how to do thanks to Col and Jonathan) and it was only later I realised it was so Claire (MrsLucky) could take some good shots of us. I can't wait to get the results as a quick preview showed some fantastic photos. :clap

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Sunday (contd)

We were all booked for the 14:30 bridge lift, which saw us all exit the RNSYC, and be joined with several other boats. Holding in the relatively narrow channel in a bit of a stiff breeze certainly tested my boat handling skills which were shaky at best. I nearly got into a pickle a couple of times, but managed to just about hold onto it until eventually the bridge lifted and we were through.

As you'd expect, the waiting pontoon was a bit chocka .....

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Once safely through the lock again, it was back to familiar territory to the WRC where most of the salties regrouped. An improptu pontoon party ensued and then off to the Waveney Inn for a pub quiz! A close fought quiz later saw the "Salty Bottoms" beaten into second place by the "Wet Wipes", so it was an NBN one-two from a rather full pub :clap

Gradually the group dwindled as bed or cocktails in the cockpit called......

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Guest DAYTONA-BILL

Hi Mark, good to hear you had a great first experience of the salty side. I`ve no doubt you`ll enjoy many more, and it won`t be so daunting the second time around. It`s great to hear EVERYBODY enjoyed the salty bum run, and now you`ll all have to behave yourselves at 4mph on the rivers :lol::lol::lol: . Regards to all.................Neil.

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Monday

Dawned quite early for me, with another stroll before most happy campers were up, and another hangover I seemed to have misplaced :P

A bit of a damp start weather wise, but I spotted a barn-owl hunting over the marshes near the church, and then was surprised to see a Great Spotted Woodpecker having a go at a metal lamp post near the diesel pump at WRC. He must have bent his beak as he didn't hang around long and went off to find a nice soft tree to head-butt.

Breakfasts were eaten (at least for those that didn't go to the pool cafe) and good-byes were said as an absolutley excellent weekend came to a close.

This weekend was a non-stop procession of new experiences and learning curves for me, and one I thoroughly enjoyed. New friendships forged, and existing ones strengthend.

Here's to the next one! cheersbar

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Great tale Mark,

I have been there going out in a roughish sea for the first time can be a bit daunting but as Olive will tell you it does get better with time. On saturday lunchtime i went thro Wroxham and there was an almighty drop of Hailstones and within seconds it was 2 inches deep and the carpark at Roys was flooded at the bottom end so you must have missed that lot,just as well can imagine you treading water to get into the locks and that lot dropping on you not nice,still somehow you missed it. cheersbarcheers

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Glad to hear it all went so well Mark.

As others have said, the more you do it, the more you get used to it and the seas don't seem so big after all. Mind you, just when you get confident, you'll find yourself out in rapidly changed weather and run home with your brown trousers on! It happens to everybody sooner or later and can be useful experience, after which you can reflect that the weak link is the people not the boat.....it'll take a lot more than you can!

Conversely, it's all worth it when you get out to sea on a bright sparkly day; there are few better feelings.

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Guest DAYTONA-BILL

Mark .......... I like the new AVATAR, any prizes for the first correct answer to when and where it was taken? ............... No, i did`nt think so :lol::lol: Regards ...............Neil.

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