Posts Tagged: kayaks

Fitting out, a new ‘toy’ and a trip to Clacton

We’ve bought outselves a new ‘toy’ and decide to take it down to Woodbridge with the van at the end of May! It’s a Mazda MX convertible . . . On Sunday 29 May we take it (with the Landy) up to the farm to collect the Adria. Depart Grangemill 1200 noon in convoy (Adria and Mazda) to arrive at the Tidemill 5pm after a steady drive without much traffic. Bev drove the Adria all the way and didn’t enjoy the huge rainstorm on the A14, but probably better than being in the Mazda. Unpacking in the rain we decide on F&C from Woodbridge chippy – just in time with last orders at 8pm.

It’s pretty cold and overcast with strong wind but no rain so Steve took off the winter cover on Monday. He was most disappointed to find an area of damage to the capping rail by the cockpit. Looks like the boat has been forced against the pontoon during the winter storms and it’s broken the capping rail at one of the scarfe joints. We have a rethink of the OGA Jubilee Rally plans and meet up with Leigh to decide what to join in with. Not much point trying to take ‘Cachalot’ down to Waldringfield as a) she’s not ready and b) the tides are all wrong to get out and back into the Marina. The revised plan is for Steve and Leigh to sail ‘Cachalette’ down from Robertsons on Thursday, Bev and Aileen to go down in the van for the barbecue, leaving options pretty open for the rest of the week when the weather doesn’t look promising.

Huge rainstorms overnight soak the winter cover drying after Bev had cleaned it yesterday! Steve has a list of bits to buy from Classic Marine and goes to Levington then Ben helps him go up the mast to fit new blocks above the cross-trees. He takes the wrong rope up, but no worries, he can run the right one up tomorrow by stitching them together. It’s getting late, so Bev stretches supper out for Ben after drinks aboard the boat, now without her winter cover which is drying again nicely, spread out on the grassy bank. Ben needs drums of rope so he and Steve go shopping in the car on Wednesday. Just as they return there’s a hailstorm and we quickly bundle the winter cover up and take shelter under one of the boats on the hard.

Bev’s kayak paddle research has resulted in an option of collecting one from Clacton, so we drive down there with the Mazda’s top down, now the rain has stopped. Clacton was much better than expected. We had a very interesting chat with Derroll at Nucleus Watersports and bought the new paddle. Strolling along the deserted prom. we found a kiosk selling excellent ice cream with fresh-cooked donuts and chocolate sauce. Maybe worth another visit . . . and interesting to find a bit about it’s history. Bev drove part of the way back and enjoyed it immensely even though the roof had to go up a couple of times to dodge the rain.

Clacton Pier was built 150 years ago as a landing platform for the Woolwich Steam Packet Co. Between the wars it was lengthened with a theatre and other entertainment facilities added resulting in Clacton becoming a leading seaside resort. Looking 7km. out to sea towards Gunfleet Sands there’s the 50 turbines of the Offshore Wind Farm, generating enough clean energy for over 150,000 homes.

Easter weekend in Woodbridge

We decide to go down to Woodbridge for Easter weekend, then travel on to Hampshire with the van. As usual, it’s a later start than planned but finally we get on the A6 towards the M1 at 1230 (after returning to the house as Bev forgot contents of fridge!!). After a surprisingly traffic free drive, given it’s Good Friday, we arrive reach the Tidemill at 1700. It’s a bit problematic finding somewhere to park up, as all the boats are still out on the hard with lots of visiting cars for the weekend. Lou and Maggie had booked a table at A-Listers for 1945 so we had plenty of time to get the van shipshape before going out for a most enjoyable meal.

Steve puts a couple of coats of varnish on the mast and we spend a lazy Easter Saturday catching up with folk around the Tidemill in the sun before a pontoon party at 5pm with Claudia, Dan, Marco, Valentina, Maggie, Lou and Ben. A really enjoyable gathering until it got a bit chilly as the sun dropped down – it is still mid-April after all. On Easter Sunday the tides are perfect for a lunchtime outing in the kayaks, so we go up to Robertson’s and paddle downriver against the tide to the bank opposite Kyson Point then back up with the tide to Honolulu Beach. Lovely and sunny but a bit of wind without being cold. I think I like the kayaks best of all, getting more confident to explore amongst the reeds and shallower places! Steve spent some time sorting out the little boat in case there’s wind for a sail in the morning. Bev cooked supper and we ate on our boat with Ben. There’s talk of getting both boats out into the river, once we take the winter covers off.

Sadly, there’s not enough wind for sailing and Steve didn’t want to paddle so Bev decided to give the van the long-promised clean. She found a perfect stepladder on the scrap pile and spent all afternoon doing a full valet inside and out. Despite the ladder, she couldn’t quite reach the roof but everything else is sparkly and gleaming. Great to get all the ‘muck’ off from the muddy January trip to Scotland and being stored in the cowshed!!

On Tuesday, 19 April we’re invited for breakfast aboard Ben’s boat at 0930. He serves up an excellent fry-up including stir-fry vegetables, eggs, bacon and black pudding. We depart the Tidemill YH 1140 and find a Morrisons for fuel near Chelmsford: £100 for 58l, 171.9p per litre – worth the detour of 15 minutes, everywhere else is 176.9p plus.

First visit, 2022: after the storms

We receive a message from Lou that our boat’s ‘adrift’ after the February storms! All a bit worrying . . . so Steve calls Ben who said he’d take a look. He ties her up alongside her own pontoon and reports no damage and the bilge counter still only showing x2 since November. We hoped to get down as soon as the weather improved, but stranded at home in ‘Covid isolation’, there was another call, this time from Marco. It seems the cover has big puddles and may need attention . . . Out of quarantine at last, and a good forecast, we pack the van and drive down in glorious sunshine on Friday 25 March.

All the boats are out on the hard, but we manage to manoeuvre the van in between an old barge and trailers so that the electric cable will just reach. ‘Cachalot’ is still slightly adrift and Steve finds a warp has sheared through! The puddles have made the cover very dirty but none of the water has gone inside, and the bilge counter is still only on x2. After the long drive, we decide to try our luck in town and manage to get a table at ‘A Listers’ for an excellent evening meal.

By lunchtime Saturday the cover is scrubbed and tied back down securely along with a new warp to tie her more securely to the pontoon. The tides favour a late afternoon out for a paddle in the kayaks. Sunday is another fine day, with light later into the evening now that the clocks have gone forward.

Steve fits the auto-helm and refits all the component parts of newly varnished galley, which have been at home overwinter. With the weather taking a turn for the worse, we decide to return home on Tuesday, after a bike ride into Ipswich to catch up with John and see his newly built skiff.

Laying up and a last paddle (for now)

We’d promised ourselves a trip to Scotland, once the midge season was over, and drove up in the van at the beginning of September. The midges were still out in force, but that didn’t stop us enjoying ourselves on the first serious ‘trip’ since the pandemic started 18 months ago! With stuff to do back in Derbyshire, and somewhat inclement weather, we didn’t get down to Suffolk again until a few days to celebrate Bev’s birthday and our 10th wedding anniversary at the beginning of October. Another few days at the end of October, without too much wind, meant we could lay ‘Cachalot’ up for winter.

Apart from the laying up, we managed one last paddle in beautiful autumn sunshine on a calm, but very chilly day. Steve also spent time fitting all the new galley cabinets, a drop-leaf table and door for the cupboard beside the stove . . .

Robertsons Boatyard: kayaks and ‘Cachalette’

We take ‘Cachalette’ up to Robertsons where she’ll be permanently stored on her trolley with use of the slip for launch and recovery. Baz makes her a smart new fitted cover ready for the winter.

After a couple of trips up to Honolulu Beach we venture further upriver, under Wilford Bridge, in the kayaks. Claudia has kindly lent Bev a paddle until she manages to purchase one, and joined us for an enjoyable afternoon paddling as far as the water allowed us.

New purchases and a home for ‘Cachalette’

We decide it’s time to find a better place to keep the ‘little boat’ and check out prices and options at Eversons (Woodbridge Boatyard) and Robertsons Boatyard. We decide on Robertsons and, as we’re walking along the path Steve notices an inviting ‘for sale’ sign pinned to a long red kayak. That would be a good idea, wouldn’t it?

Sunday 15 August finds us on Robertsons slip with Neil, who is selling the 16’ kayak. Steve takes it for a trial and decides to have it – but what about Bev? No worries, Neil has a smaller one in his garden and, on trying it out we make an offer for them both. We spend the next couple of weeks exploring the river up and down stream from the Boatyard.

Now she has a permanent ‘home’ we also decide to invest in a proper, custom-made cover for ‘Cachalette’ and ask Baz to measure up to make us one. Watch this space for some pictures, but no, she still doesn’t have her new rig, just the spars!