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Secret Lady and Happy Jax summer holiday

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Well, that's it for another year and our holiday (and tans) are starting to seem like a distant memory already!
We had no real plans other than to head down the east coast and see where we ended up. We had Burnham and Chatham on our list of places we'd like to visit, but no definite dates or bookings.
Starting our break a day early, we locked out of the Norfolk Broads and to spend the first night in RNSYC at Lowestoft. Since Lou was still at work. Col was short of a crew to help with the lock, and so Luke kindly agreed to help him out, but Sue had managed to alter her shifts so Secret Lady was up to full compliment!
Lowestoft - Titchmarsh (45 Nm)
Saturday morning the weather was good, and forecast even better for the forseeable, so of we went to Titchmarsh. It's a nice marina and the trip down was lovely. Both boats running well in calm seas and a great way to start the break.
We decided on a couple of days here, as Lou's parents were joining us for the day on Sunday, so Saturday afternoon was spent just relaxing in the sun.
(and eating peanuts!)
(and having the odd glass of something refreshing!)
Titchmarsh - Brightlingsea (26 Nm)
Another nice place is Brightlingsea, only a short hop around Walton and into the Blackwater estuary. We only spent one night here and the visitor pontoon has no water or electric. It was pretty busy, so we ended up rafted against a couple of old fishing smacks.
We were treated to a lovely sunset!
Roast chicken a la Secret Lady was the evening meal. It took a while in the oven but was worth waiting for, as you can tell by all the special little faces!   :D
One thing I forgot to do was power down the radar properly upon our arrival, as I assumed turning of the plotter would do so. Apparently I was wrong! Good job I carry jump leads, as it also seems the link switch isn't reliable either   :oops:
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Brightlingsea - Burnham (23 Nm)
Another short trip in lovely conditions and up the river Crouch led us into Burnham Yacht Harbour. It's Col's old stamping ground and so once again we spent a couple of nights here and explored further up the river to South Woodham Ferrers by dinghy. The river was a bit choppy with a stiff breeze acting against the tide, and it seems the seat in my dinghy couldn't take the stress of my backside pounding up and down on it in the short chop at 13kts, and gave up the ghost after only a few hundred yards. Still, the fuel tank was comfortable - not!
Col's sister and her husband paid us a visit and so we had a meal in the on-site restaurant "Swallowtail" which was very nice!
Burnham - St Kats (71 Nm)
Now it was time to stretch our legs a little for the longest leg of the whole holiday. A SW breeze meant we had a bit of wind against tide, but there was no swell predicted, so headed out. The sea was good, apart from a very slight chop that had developed which felt like we were cruising over cobbles!
The mirage over Foulness was cool!
Proof that a Targa 35 can plane at 22 kts! He did moan about his fuel consumption though, and it wasn't long before he got bored and headed off!
I don't know where they were taking the old Radio Caroline ship as she headed down the Thames with two tugs attached.
Not too sure what use the ar*e end of a ship is either?
Once at St Kats (we won't mention the PLA conversation, Col  ;)  ) we only had 20 mins or so to wait for the lock and then it was round into the west dock to moor behind the hotel. It was a good spot as it was shaded and was so hot in the sun! However, it was very noisy at night with the constant sound of lorries under the hotel and what seemed like and endless supply of bottle banks being emptied. St Kats has also got very expensive, costing us almost £140 for 2 nights!! :shock: 
We spent Friday exploring the delights of Borough Market, which I think is amazing, but bad for the waist-line! So many tasty things on offer, but we were very restrained in our purchases. We were joined on Friday night by Mike (Batteryman) and his family for a pizza in Zizzi's, and very enjoyable it was too!
The plan had been to leave St Kats on Saturday morning and head to Chatham, but were disappointed to be told they were full when we called them to try to book. We altered our plans to head back up the coast to the Blackwater and so plotted our courses on that basis, ready for an 8am lock out of St Kats on Saturday morning.
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St Kats - Chatham (50 Nm)
Saturday morning was a bit overcast and cooler. Sure enough it started to spit with rain as soon as we entered the lock.
Once out on the Thames is was almost eerie how quiet it was. The fast cats were not yet out an about, so the river was like a mill pond. The only thing spoiling it was the ominous look of impending rain.
Sure enough after drifting with the ebb tide for a while the heavens opened. Sue and I stayed up on the flybridge and soon found out waterproofs need re-proofing, much to Col and Lou's amusement.
During the trip, a chat with StormingNorm surprised us when he'd managed to secure us a couple of spots in Chatham by sweet-talking the staff! Sue took the helm whilst I fiddled about re-plotting our course in the pouring rain, which eventually eased off to be replaced once again by glorious sunshine. The trip down the Medway was good, none of us having ever been there before, and though it's very industrial for the first part, it soon becomes very interesting.
The following day, we took a walk to the Historic Dockyard, which was fascinating. Thanks to Deryck for the 2 for 1 entry voucher! It must have been an amazing place once upon a time, and the tour aboard the sub "Ocelot" was an eye-opener!
At the helm of the destroyer HMS Cavalier. Can't see a thing!
Whilst in Borough Market, we had bought a whole shoulder of lamb, and so on our return to the boat, that was duly slapped on the Cobb!
Sue and Lou enjoyed the "shopping by dinghy" which was the quickest way to the local Co-op!
Chatham - Mersea Island (45 Nm)
We left Chatham on Monday morning bound once again for the Blackwater and Mersea Island.
The wreck of the SS Richard Mongomery, still full of explosives!
WMYC had advised they had no visitor moorings available unless we fancied a swing mooring out in the Mersea Quarters, and so we headed for these.
Once tied up, we all dinghied to Mersea Island to treat ourselves to some seafood and a pint. Whilst supping, we realised we could see the boats out in the Quarters and were horrified to find them bucking around like nobodies business! The tide had turned and the SW breeze had kicked up quite a chop, and so, not fancying seasickness all night, a quick phone call to Bradwell Marina and we were soon heading for sheltered moorings. Bradwell is somewhere else new to us, and despite the shallow entrance, will certainly be on our list of good marinas.
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Bradwell - Woolverston (32 Nm)
Previously we had always bypassed Woolverston on the Orwell in favour of heading into Ipswich. Conversations with Mike and Norm had piqued our curiosity and they said the statements of strong tides and swell from passing ships were exaggerated, and so we made this our next port of call. We were allocated moorings on the outside of their new floating concrete pontoon. We think this has been installed to block the ebb flow and wash from ships from the main moorings which are all in the river, but was a superb spot in the clam conditions we had.
One passing ship did cause a lot of movement on the boats as he was way over the 6kt speed limit, but Col and I were up at the bat having a pint, so it was only the girls got chucked about a bit  :funny: 
Orwell bridge from our mooring
Col doing his favourite thing (polishing his boat!)
Huge container ship being dragged sideways at Felixstowe
The following day was wet! It tipped it down until about lunchtime and then the sun came out again and so we took a walk to Pin Mill along the footpath from Woolverston.
On the way back, we just had to try the rope-swing we'd passed!
Woolverston - Southwold (37 Nm)
All too soon it seemed we had to head back towards home, but decided to break the journey by spending Thursday night at Southwold. We hadn't had access to forecasts for a couple of days and knew nothing of Bertha, though we were expecting Friday to be a bit livelier than we'd had for the last fortnight. The evening was calm and warm, with another great sunset.
And toad in the hole!
During the night the wind picked up and by this time we had heard it was getting worse as Col had phoned Luke for an update. A walk up to the sea front on Friday morning had me thinking I was leaving the boat at Southwold for the week, as there was no way I was going out in that! A strong easterly had turned a flat sea into something rather more angry. Luke had said the wing was supposed to turn more southerly later in the afternoon, so we sat it out to see what happened, though Saturday was supposed to be worse.
Eventually at about 5pm, we decided the sea had infact calmed a little, and headed out. The white-tops had gone, but a large 1m swell had developed from the NE, putting it on our starboard bow the whole way. We did manage to maintain about 18-19 kts most of the way (though Col had to drop down a bit slower than that for fear of breaking his boat) and despite also losing GPS fix and navigating by compass and iPad, eventually got safely back to Lowestoft. Some of the waves were topping 1.5m and at one point we had a prop out of the water. That was worrying!!
But there we were, back from out holiday, with 342 Nm under our belt 1150 litres of diesel used, visiting four places we'd never been and also being further south that ever before and not a thing went wrong!
What a great couple of weeks!
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Great holiday tale,brings back memories of sailing the East Coast rivers when the folks lived in Brightlingsea and also sailing out of Bradwell.Some great photos ,the rear end of the ship looks very much like the one outside the Dome ?

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We're hoping to get to Holland at some point Finny. The past couple of years have brought us a fair few problems with the boat requiring various things from an engine re-build to being rescued by the RNLI last september in a F5-6 due to a lot of crud in the fuel tanks which meant I spent the winter cutting holes in the tanks and thoroughly cleaning them. As you might expect, our confidence was severely knocked, but this has now improved given the fault free 350 miles we did during the holiday.


It's a bit daunting, the thought of 80 miles across to Holland, but should now be doable, so it's back on the cards for possible next year! :)

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Mark I can remember making my first long trip down to the south side on my own boat and despite going through a rigorous check list I was still quite concerned - and you are right ....you can tick all the boxes of the never ending to do list but confidence needs to be built along the way .......I am sure you will get there and hopefully it will be a good read for us all too




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what a great story, love this well dun all nice ole job rite thats it i,m orf to get a fast ole plastic etc 



nice pics and i,ll do the smae trip too 



rite on from a rough ole boot yrd bloke ....................


VERY GOOD ......................................




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