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Salty Summer Holiday

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Some time ago, we opted into a cruise in company with friends both from this forum and another to visit London. As the time got nearer, we pulled out mainly due to the cost of fuel and lack of funds, but still had the two weeks booked. As Col and Lou (HJ3) had recently purchased Happy Jax 3, and were keen to get their bottoms salty, we decided just our two boats would head down the East Coast with no real plan or itinery and just see where we got to. The original cruise to London was still going ahead, and so the idea was to try to meet up with those guys at the start of the holiday before we went on our separate voyages.

30/7/11 Reedham Marina to Haven Marina, Lowestoft

As our second-hand VHF had died the previous weekend, we had purchased a new Cobra fixed VHF which I wanted to flush mount. Most of the morning was spent sorting this, leaving a little while to then get ship-shape again in time to depart Reedham Marina at 15:00 to get us to Haven Bridge in Yarmouth in time for the pre-booked 16:00 bridge lift. Serenity and HJ3 were also accompanied by Ian, Heather and Rachel aboard Clandestine, and the bridge lifted bang on time.


Ian was trying to save as much of his precious petrol as possible and so we all bumbled gently down the harbour with the tide carrying us and then out to sea. There was a bit of a swell, but nothing too bad once we were out of the harbour walls and a quick blast down the coast with a following sea saw us reach Lowestoft about 25 minutes later. Unfortunately a following sea translates into a beam sea on entering Lowestoft, but we got in with no problem, just a bit sideways!

On arrival, some of the guys and gals going to London were already there (Osprey and Katakalousse) with only Escape missing, but they arrived later that evening.

The evening was spent with a few beers, a bit of a pontoon BBQ, some Guitar Hero and lots of laughter. Lou managed to fall onto her boat, but luckily only one foot took a dunking!!



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31/7/11 Lowestoft to Southwold

Most of the boats were going to make their way directly to Titchmarsh Marina on the Walton Backwaters, meeting with Crackerjack en-route who was also going to London. HJ3 and ourselves had decided to put in a one night stop at Southwold, though, as it’s only a short hop of about 12 miles. As both ourselves and crew HJ3 are quite inexperienced, we thought that would be enough to give us a bit of confidence and to make sure everything was right with the boats, without the added pressure of being in a large group.

The slower boats had already left before us, but ourselves and HJ3 were accompanied down to Southwold by Clany and Escape, who then carried on to Titchmarsh.

We entered Southwold Harbour after having to wait around for some dinghies to exit, and were directed to raft alongside a very nice Fairline Targa 34, who was the only non-flappy boat there! Once tied up, Conner and Jay went off crabbing while Col and I set about passage planning for the next day. The furthest either of us had ever been was Southwold, so we wanted to get it right!




Dinner that night was a lovely fish supper consisting of shellfish and various crustaceans the Sue and Lou had bought earlier. I was tasked with dressing the two big crabs and the lobster, while Lou was in charge of cooking the scallops, which she did absolutely perfectly!

That night we discovered the phenomenon of “Spooky Looâ€. Sue had gone to the toilet in the pitch black and was surprised that when she flushed it, the water was glowing. I needed the loo as well, and was astounded by the bright phosphorescence that happened when flushing. All the flush water was glowing really bright, which I guess must be down to plankton in the water. Very eerie, and quite fascinating to see.


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01/8/11 Southwold to Titchmarsh, Walton Backwaters

Monday was a lovely sunny day, but with a stiff SSE breeze. We left Southwold shortly after 10:00 with the intention of poodling along at displacement speed for a little while to save a bit of fuel. There was a short chop on the sea from the east, but nothing too much and so we drifted along at about 10 knots with the tide. After about 45 minutes, I could tell Sue was starting to feel a bit off colour as she had gone very quiet. A quick radio call to Col and we got the boats up on the plane settling to a cruise of around 22 kts.

The sea got much more choppy as we approached Orford, which is renowned for having some rough seas and overfalls. I was amazed, though to see a standing wave infront of us about 1.5m high and breaking! I thought I must be off course and headed for a bank, but a quick check on the charts and plotter confirmed there was nothing untoward there. I dropped off the plane not wanting to launch Serenity into such a big wave head-on, and was glad I had, as there was a big drop behind the wave and then two more of the same size. I don’t know what was causing the waves, but once through them, It was all relatively calm again.

The rest of the trip was quite uneventful, and we followed our course down to Pye End buoy with no dramas. Sue wasn’t feeling too good, and so I made her take the helm to take her mind off her stomach. She didn’t want to, but within 2 minutes was feeling fine, and told me “I hate it when you are right†Charming!

We wandered our way down the buoyed Walton Channel and into the Twizzle Creek before entering Titchamarsh (or “Titmarsh†as Lou insisted it was called) and finding our berths some 2.5 hours after leaving Southwold.

That evening was probably one of the most memorable of the whole holiday, as all the boat crews were together for the last time of the holiday, and all took dinghies out to Stone Point to BBQ on the beach. Utterly magic! Unfortunately for crew HJ3, Col forgot to close his remote tank breather when beached and so ended up with a dinghy full of petrol!





To be continued....

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Good to hear you had fun times in Titchmarsh.

Binky and Kingfisher managed a couple of very enjoyable days there this week. Avoid the Harbour Lights on the way in and out!

Phil and Carron

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Lovely shots Col!

Still, some sort of photo to see how it would best be utilised wouldn't go amiss :grin:

Not sure they would be suitable for the NBN though Gav :naughty:

anyway, to continue (if anyones is interested .......)

02/8/11 Titchmarsh Marina

The following day was one for taking it easy, as we were staying put at Titchmarsh for another night. Sue and I walked into Walton, which everyone warned was a long way. It only took us just over half an hour (we do like walking) so it was quite a comfortable distance. We later met Col and Lou in town, and then they kindly took our shopping back to the marina in their dinghy, whilst we walked back.

Later that evening we treated ourselves to one of the “Black Rock†meals at the on-site restaurant where you are basically served a scalding hot lump of rock and raw meat of your choice to cook yourself! It was certainly a novelty, and my rib-eye steak was superb.

03/8/11 Hamford Water

After we had said good bye to the crews who were going to London (i.e. everyone except us!), another lazy day was planned just heading out of the Walton Channel and turn left into Hamford Water.

We dropped anchor not far from the Exchem east cardinal, which was an achievement in itself, never having anchored before, and then set of in the dinghies to find the seal colony which we had been informed was thereabouts. It wasn’t hard to spot, as the seals were basking in the sunshine, or bobbing in the water seemingly just as interested in us as we were in them!





After a bit of exploring it was back to the boats for a few drinks, and then Sue and I retired to Serenity for dinner and a DVD whilst watching a thunderstorm over Felixstowe. We knew the anchors had already held through a tide change, so were quite happy to be there overnight, but I must admit I hadn’t reckoned on the constant noise as the breeze had picked up and every wavelet sounded like a hammer hitting the hull!


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04/8/11 Hamford Water to Fox’s Marina

We awoke to a miserable wet day, and a leaking canopy! The stitching holes on some of the seams hadn’t had a chance to close up and so a few drips were evident despite the maker using sealing tape on all the seams. No real problem, and we knew some judicious use of Fabsil would soon get it sorted once it dried out!

We headed out of Hamford Water towards Pye end buoy at around 8 knots in quite a confused swell. It wasn’t too comfortable as we were being thrown around rather a lot, and so Sue soon started to feel seasick again. This time there was no argument when I asked her to take the helm, and again it worked almost instantly. Visibility was very poor with the constant rain, but I was certainly glad of my Heath Robinson demister system, which again proved worth it’s weight in gold and kept the screen nice and clear.

Once in the Orwell things calmed down, and it was a gently cruise in crap weather up to Fox’s marina. We easily found our allocated berths and once moored headed over to the nearby pub for refreshments and food.

The weather stayed grey most of the day unfortunately, but that didn’t dampen our spirits and we couldn’t stop staring at the beautiful Oyster yachts moored next to us. Second hand one Sir? No problem, yours for only £4.5m!!!!

05/8/11 Fox’s Marina – Haven Marina, Ipswich

Ok, so it wasn’t much of a cruise! Infact it was only about 10 minutes up river, but did involve going through the lock into the dock area, which was another first for us. Unfortunately, when trying to contact the lock on VHF68, it soon became a apparent we had a problem with our brand new Cobra radio. Col could hear us clicking and was getting a busy signal but no voice. Our microphone had died after only a week! No problem as we had out handheld for backup; only I forgot to turn up the volume so my calls to Lock Control were wasted as I never heard their replies!

Finally we were through the lock (they are very professional indeed there) and moored just outside the Fairline sheds, much to crew HJ3’s pleasure!


A call to Norfolk Marine proved to be a dead end as far as getting a replacement VHF set to us by courier, though a refund was not going to be a problem, so we went for a walk to see if Burton Waters chandlery could provide us with a new VHF set. Unfortunately they couldn’t help and so suggested Fox’s, where we had left and hour before……! We also bumped into the skippers of two smart looking blue hulled vessels who were enjoying a pint in the sun (nice to see you again David & Perry!).

Sue, me, Col and Conner set off on foot back to Fox’s thinking it was only a mile or so by foot, but found out 45 minutes later it was slightly further than that! A purchase of a Standard Horizon was made and a swift pint to fortify us for the return trek was embibed.

By the time we got back to the boats, it was time for a shower and a bit of a pontoon based beer session! Most enjoyable and even the sun eventually came out.


The downside was that on retiring to bed, I tried to flush the loo, only to find there was very little charge in the batteries (a problem with electric toilets). It soon dawned that the battery charger must have died a couple of days ago, and we only had about 6V left in the batteries! What next???

06/8/11 Haven Marina

Guess what? Yep, back to Fox’s for a battery charger. This time though, Sue and I took a cab there and a bus back. Much easier on the feet!

Returning to the boat saw my day disappear in fitting the VHF (which meant enlarging the hole in the dash with a file) and fitting the new charger. These all went ok, and we still had enough time to go into town so Sue could spend her birthday Monsoon voucher and we could re-stock on beer.

That evening again was a Cobb session only marred by the fact a couple off a yacht had shut their two dogs in their car whilst they went out to eat. The flaming dog’s didn’t stop barking the whole time they were out!

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  • 2 months later...

Hi Mark

Great reading and the pictures fantastic especially the Fairlines! All being well next year we will have the boat and may join the saltys on their epic adventures on the high seas battling against sea monsters and maelstroms. Our plan is to build up our sea hours/days on the East coast with a view to jumping over to the continent when we are happy.

Looking at a Fairline 36 sedan at Brundall.

Just want to be out there!! :Stinky

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