Starting to sail with ‘Cachalot’

Summer 2005

Having seen her for sale on eBay in early summer, 2005, Steve discovered that the sale had fallen through, and the seller was prepared to consider his offer (subject, of course, to survey). So what should we do? As we drove to Suffolk Yacht Harbour, Levington, Kate phoned and implored her Dad ‘not to do anything rash’, but he fell in love with the boat and our story of ‘Cachalot’ unfolds from there! With help from Mike, as skipper, Dick, Glyn and Beverley sailed her from Levington to the Tidemill Yacht Harbour, Woodbridge, Suffolk, at the head of the River Deben where we'd secured a berth for her. We first heard about the OGA when staying overnight with East Coast members, Jo and Paul.

Maintenance plan and getting started with sailing

We drew up a maintenance plan based on advice in the surveyor’s report, intending to do it in stages working with Paul, a local boatbuilder. A Day Skipper ‘ticket’ was required in order to satisfy the requirements of the insurers to take ‘Cachalot’ out of the Marina, so we signed up for that. We also needed a means of getting ashore, but what would be the best option? The first choice was certainly not suitable, a pretty little clinker dinghy that looked the part, fitted neatly on the cockpit roof but was much too ‘tippy’. The Seagull outboard also looked the part, but was hardly reliable, even with Jim’s expert advice. In the end, a flubber and outboard seemed to be the best solution.

Sailing in the Deben, summer 2006

After an excellent week on our RYA Day Skipper course with Rob, just after Easter, 2006, we needed to get plenty of practice in handling 'Cachalot' before going out of the river. We started by carefully manoeuvering her in and out of the Tidemill YH, over the sill, taking care to check the tides so that we could return later! Sailing (or motoring) up and down the Deben to moor at Felixtowe Ferry or Ramsholt gave us plenty of opportunities to begin to learn about pilotage and how to sail - to get it right and, of course, to get it wrong at times! Like everyone else has done at least once, we did spend six hours aground, when Kate came out for a sail with us.

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