In company with ‘Tanhauser’

The weather’s wonderful, ‘flaming June’ seems to have arrived in Suffolk. There’s sunny, cloudless skies and it’s time for a bit of maintenance. The toilet cassette in the van’s been leaking and Bev’s done lots of research online but decides a trip to Sharman Caravans in Ipswich is the best option as there’s so many to choose from!! On the passage back from the Orwell, Steve noticed an electrical problem resulting in no power for the VHF radio and concerns about the batteries. The fan belt has been slipping and, now tightened up, it’s all OK, but a new fan belt (and spare) are on the list of purchases. He decided to replace the leisure battery for good measure, getting a new one from Thurlow Nunn at Melton. After taking the old one for checking, it still had some charge, so it’s now installed as a backup. Success on both maintenance fronts, with electrics declared fixed and the leaky toilet cassette sorted, we’re ready to go out again. The tides were good for a few paddles up and down from Robertsons and Bev became a member of the WhatsApp group ‘Ladies who Launch’. Ben decides he’s done enough to take ‘Tanhauser’ out for the first time, and we decide to go out together when PJ arrives on Friday, 17 June.

PJ arrives to crew with Ben and ‘Tanhauser’ is declared ready for her first trip out of the Marina. With her decks, cockpit and cabin cleared of all the accumulated gear not necessary for a passage it looks like we can set out over the sill at 1430 for a motor down to Ramsholt. Arriving at 1630, George allocates us Billy’s buoy (no.105) and no. 80 directly opposite across the channel (in line with the church). We have great fun in the calm, sunny weather but as the current it always strong we set up a fender on a long line astern of ‘Cachalot’ and Ben sends a line across between the boats. He’s keen to test how watertight his clinker dinghy is, and rows across to ‘Cachalot’. Verdict: it’s very leaky! Steve goes for a swim and this confirms the urgent necessity for some sort of ladder as climbing back on board seems more difficult every year. PJ offers to cook supper and Steve puts the outboard onto our dinghy and we motor across to spend an excellent evening on board ‘Tanhauser’, returning to ‘Cachalot’ in the gloaming.

Up for breakfast at 0730 and we’re hailed by PJ, ‘do you want some bacon?’ They send it across on the tidal current, wrapped with an egg box for buoyancy but Bev fails to capture it with the boathook so Steve quickly launches the dinghy and motors downstream to capture it! Our planned departure from the buoys at 1100 was delayed as Ben and PJ took over an hour to recover the half-sunk dinghy and stow her under the boom. We hail as he James sails by in ‘Kestrel’ and finally set off downriver to test the sails and rigging on ‘Tanhauser’. The sails go up well, and she’s looking pretty good as we turn at 1400 before reaching Felixstowe Ferry, for our return to the Tidemill with the tide. We slip back into the Marina at 1630.

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