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June Japes on the East Coast!

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So there we were, one week of leave left, no children and a spare week... what to do? Well it could very easily have been a lets actually get on with that garage room... or we could disappear off to the boat for the week, with no plans and no worries... so Tuesday 22nd June 2010 saw us trundling up to Brundall to de-leaf the old girl and get her on the river.

Actually the intention always was to get off and do some coastal cruisng but as to where to go, we were easy, depending on bridge times and tidal flows etc. The tanks were full to the brim, we had spare fuel, enough charts to fill a large chart room, money enough for a few good nights out and the enthusiasm to go adventuring and so with this goodwill we set off down the river in order to 'squeeze under Somerleyton Bridge..


Amazingly when we got there, the clearance was nearly 12 ft!!! At the bottom of a neap tide!! That's really not right! However, it was good to see that it looks like they are preparing to actually do some work on the bridge!! Note the 'beer mug' on the information board! It actually gives details that the bridge is currently out of use but is totally un-readable from the river!

And so, now safely under, and with a very slack and slightly turning tide, we had a go at 'one engining' shutting down the port engine and still making 5 on tickover all the way down to our first port of call...WRC


A few phone calls later, we had booked Mutford for the following day and attached ourselves onto the 11.15 Lowestoft bridge lift and had organised a 'local' visitor to come and have a beer or two! You may recognise their boat tied up just behind ours!! (That is most definitely a code 4 part of the post Luke!) and so another good night ensued.. although I must say that I was extremely worried that I would be getting up on time the following morning.. Needless to say we dragged ourselves out of the door roughly on time to get a 'sort of' good nights sleep and go over the passage plan for the next day.

It's really handy to have previous tracks etc stored in the chart plotter as that meant that a good portion of the planning work was already done. So it was just a case of 'Where do we go'? In the end it was decided, Ramsholt in Suffolk was our destination. OK it literally is overlooked by my old house not too far accross the other side of the river, but it is one place I have always wanted to go. Getting in takes a little planning, but as long as you plan well, doesn't really represent too many difficulties. We would also not quite get the 'money saving' passage we wanted due to the light wind but that could be forgone on this occasion. Planning done, it was off to bed.

Wednesday 23rd June 2010

Early Wednesday morning saw us trundling very leisurly down to Mutford for a 9.15 lock and lift.



We had made arrangements to pop into Newsons boatyard to have a chat about the cost of flexi-teak in the cockpit and have a look at some of the samples of work that they were preparing. Suitably impressed and measured for quote, this sober hour also gave us a last chance to have one more look over the planning, the weather was excellent for the next few days, improving sea state, improving pressure and hopefully more sunshine, we needed to go through Lowestoft at 11.15 and didn't need to be arriving at the Deben entrance for many hours and so, covers off, the sun was shinig we were in no hurry to get there.. And with another half an hour to kill it was time to have a peep at another lovely ship close up;


It is hard to imagine that thisMTB was used for many years by the local sea scouts as their meeting hall!!

And so there we were, out of Lowestoft bang on time and straight out into a lovely calm sea with only the very slightest swell.. Ann at the helm now, getting her sea miles clocked up and as usual struggling to hold track - as you can see her cross track error was awesome


With no hurry, we even had an hour just creeping along on tickover, enjoying the sunshine and taking in a little sunbathing;


Eventually we made it down to the Deben, arriving late afternoon with just enough water accross the bar to allow us to enter safely but still low enough to see the horrid sand bar that has grounded so many over the years... You know there is traffic you expect and fast moving traffic you don't and as we were navigating down the narrow safe entry channel we were crossed several times by very fast moving traffic!



And so, keeping close to the Felixstowe Ferry side initially we made our way slowly up the river past the Famous Bawdsey Manor where Watson-Watt worked tirelessly developing Radar and near to where my dad served his last post in the RAF in an R3 bunker located just two miles further North, then past Bawdsey Hamlet to starboard and Felixtowe Ferry to port;




A quick phone call to George the old Harbour Master at Ramsholt confirmed there was a good moring there (Must remember I must phone him and thank him as I missed him whe we arrived) and a short while later we arrived at our moring and managed a leisurly couple of hours onboard before popping to the great Ramsholt Arms for dinner. As the evening decended across the river, the scenery was amazing and allowed for some fabulous photography;




Well one very pleasant evening later and a date with an early exit in the morning (04.45) to get away with the last of the ebb in time to get us in to our next port of Southwold on time (08ish) the following morning so that we could have a full day there saw us climbing into our bed as the last of the sun disappeared over the horizon.

The trip down had been both pleasant and relaxing, our passage plan was done and the sea looked even better. I have always loved travelling at dawn, watching the sun rising across the water and I was really looking forward to Thursday!

To be continued………

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We had made arrangements to pop into Newsons boatyard to have a chat about the cost of flexi-teak in the cockpit and have a look at some of the samples of work that they were preparing. Suitably impressed and measured for quote,

Hi, any evidence of them preparing mine?

Nice story so far, love the photo's.

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A most enjoyable picture tale :clap it really felt that you had invited us on-board to share your trip.

It's nice to see what the shore looks like from out there.

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Part 2

Well before we move on I thought I’d pop a few more photos of our idyllic mooring at Ramsholt here… and before someone says “Your fenders†well the two front ones get clipped up at sea and all of the others live on the rear bathing platform between the tender and the transom and as we like to use the bathing platform and the tender, they got tied to the nearest available cleats!! But the very clever amongst you will notice one slight error – yep I can take the blame for this one, I forgot to take the mud weight off and pop the ol’ brucie on!! That aside though, I thought the old girl looked just sooo happy at anchor I thought maybe I’d better include a shot or two more!





Anyway, on with the story….

The alarm going off at 4 in the morning is normally accompanied by cold dark and wet, but not on this day. Instead the sun was just coming up over the river and everything was just so tranquil. We knew that we would have to leave soon and be over the bar before the depth there decreased too much. Our draught is a surprising 1.2m and it can shallow out in the River Deben estuary very quickly – I know, I have windsurfed across the very stretch where the kite surfers were the previous day and been catapulted off as my fin has dug in, and that is only 40 cm deep! The other reason for leaving so early is that we wanted to have a very gentle early morning run up to Southwold and arrive as close to the top of the incoming tide as possible, and then have the fullest day there we could!

By the way the Deben Estuary is very cluttered with many many boats anchored there. I’m so glad it wasn’t foggy!


Hard to believe that this photo was taken at 04:50 in the morning!

As we pushed out of the river into the beautifully flat North Sea, Ann again at the helm, the sea was so flat and calm, the boat so beautifully balanced, we decided to throttle back and enjoy the ride… it was so calm that the kettle came out of the cupboard where it is nicely stowed and went on!! That’s definitely a first for me – brewing up whilst underway on the sea!


Now when I say calm – I mean REALLY calm!

We meandered along, past Orford Ness Lighthouse on our port beam, then the familiar Sizewell Power station, where a very strange boat was anchored at the outflow.. more of that in my post entitled ‘strange going’s on at Southwold and Sizewell’ though!

Eventually we arrived at 8 in the morning just outside the harbour and called up the duty Harbour Master – expecting to hear nothing in reply at that hour I got the best signal ever in reply and duly entered the harbour.. it transpires he was walking his dog along the beach at the time and had the hand held in his pocket!

We visited Southwold with the really fab last Salty Bottoms outing but were looking forward this time to having a bit of a lazy one with some shopping and a bit of sunbathing!

Finding a very tight, but just large enough berth, we snuck in and were fast alongside by 8.20, just in time for breakfast. Totally surrounded by most of Holland, and the only motor boat there, we did feel a little cheeky, but none the less, still managed to get just close enough to the stepped mooring post to ensure we could get on and off!

If you aren’t familiar with Southwold, the tidal difference there is awesome!

Now you see us!


Now you don’t!


And just to ensure Rod doesn’t feel left out of this salty foray we spotted this;


After a trip into town and a fabulous huge chunk of quadruple chocolate cake it was off home for an early evening run up the River Blyth on the tender, a beautiful and tranquil little stretch of wide open water that really can be enjoyed best from a tender or canoe!

A quick bite to eat in the pub and a couple of quick drinks in the yacht club and that was us, tied and ready for a good night sleep!

Friday 25th June 2010

Unfortunately the week was drawing to a close and we knew that we would have to be heading back on Friday, I had phoned both Mutford and Lowestoft harbour the previous day and knew we had to be at the bridge for the 09:45 lift, and subsequently had tagged onto a locking through at 10:30.

Waking up early enough to cook a decent breakfast we set off just before 08:45, oddly there was no Harbour Master on duty (We know why now Rich!!) we did hear him after we had left the harbour, but it was odd giving traffic movement information to the two incoming vessels, one of which, a German yacht, spoke so little English that trying to explain “keep close to the harbour wall†become pure entertainment!!

So again out to sea.. and if the previous day was flat and calm, this morning was eerie – totally flat, totally like glass, not even a ripple and a very very fine haze just sitting on the water. We felt as if we were moving through a scene from a Victorian thriller, but needless to say, we had to get to Lowestoft on time, and so it was a very calm 20+ knot plane all the way back (literally all the way until just before the harbour entrance) arriving with a good few minutes to spare!


After a nicely timed trip through the bridge we made it down through Lake Loathing, back to Mutford… incidentally I have been quite interested in finding out more about this interesting little boat – can anyone spread any light as to what ‘Interceptor’ does??


It was then a stop at Oulton Broad, two reasons, firstly we knew we wouldn’t get under Somerleyton until low tide (And I knew if we timed t right we could run down very nicely with the ebb for next to free… and secondly we could ‘do an Ian’ and pop up to the petrol station and just pop an extra few litres in! Subsequently it turns out this wasn't necessary, but it gave us an extra bit of flexibility…

Tea-time saw us running up to our final night stop at Reedham Quay, where we have become good friends with the keepers of the Lord Nelson.. oddly enough there was space there and it wasn’t long before our little sister boat joined us…


Keen boat spotters amongst you will notice that it belongs to none other than fellow forumite ‘Diesel Falcon’ and along with his good lady, he had half of the Milwall Supporters Club onboard!!

Another good night ensued, with a little late night remote controlled boating thrown in for good measure!

Saturday 26th June 2010

A very lazy start to the day, knowing that we could just run back to Brundall with the flood at a leisurely pace. Once back it was a good three hour wash down and part polish for the girl, a good vacuum and clean inside and everything left in the fridge going on to the Cobb!

It was good to see Barry and Olive who invited us to BBQ with them, sadly by the time we finished up cleaning we think they had finished up too and so look forward to seeing them at the Waveney in a weeks time.. and also Mark and Sharon, busy getting Serenity all ship shape too!

A great week, great weather, as always great friends and company and a very large empty fuel tank!

I can’t wait until next time!

Just one last thing – have you ever wondered why the duck poo mountain seems to grow so quickly when you are away???….


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Am still looking forward to our first totally flat sea, have got close and had some really nice passages but never flat.

What a great week you picked for it and what a great trip, would also be very interested in the boat you spotted in Lake loathing, we were lucky enough to jump on a lift it had at Lowestoft but were surprised to see what looked like a leisure crew on board, all very wavey.

Great pictures, looking forward to getting down that way all the more now. cheersbar

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Have to admit Gav, you certainly seem to have the ear of the weather gods, mind you now I have experienced a flat calm sea I think I will go back to ones with a bit of movement on them.

The sea was flatter than the rivers, went half the way at 6 knots on one engine to save fuel, then got bored and burnt tons of fuel chasing Gav round in circles and doing figure of eights to try and get a bit of life in the sea.


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Hi, I must say i really enjoyed our trip down on Saturday!! Im still building my confidence at sea, and in how the boat handles, let alone that planing turns are what its built for!! Im not happy with swell on the beam.. and thats without a flybridge!!.....guess that will take a bit longer!!

The kids enjoyed it too.......and it was their first salty experience!!


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Hi Annie, think you must have paid extra for your day skipper to have the sort of seas you have had since doing it.

If you ever want to go to the extremes of lean you are very welcome on Clanny, will make Namaste feel very comfortable in a beam sea. :grin:cheers

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Yes hun I had noticed!!

Thanks Ian-sounds like a plan-at the very least it would be likely to subdue my "team America" style flapping when i see some largish wash or those "wave" things coming at me side on-particularly when Gavs visiting the cupboard!!

Yes those little extras were definitely worth paying for!! Thats just how i like it-at least for the time being!!


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Hell Gavin,

don't worry too much about Interceptor, she is no more sinister than an an ex Danish fishing boat with a shelter deck fitted, No more a spy ship than the danish Seiner, registered in Hull (I think) sitting off Sizewell/Aldeburgh carrying out Guard ship duties for the Gabbard wind Farm project.


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Ah but she is. Because apparently inside there are west midlandish occupants who could have yer hubcaps off and away before you can say 'villa are going down'

and as for my sinster mfv's well I'm still not convinced and now you mention their Danish herritage I'm even more convinced that we are living some Orwellian plot. Having worked on a Danish ship for 2 and a half years I seem to have suffered some Scandinavian mind melt and have little cohesive memory of those years. Instead of a MIB flashy thing, their mind control device is cunningly disguised in a gammeldansk bottle

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