Posts Tagged: sails

Out with the sailmaker!

Steve M’s been promising to come up to sail with us, and he arrived in ‘Dauber’ at the Tidemill on Sunday. The tides are good for a full day out in the river so we decide to leave the Tidemill at 1700, Monday and motor down to pick up two moorings at Waldringfield for the night, going ashore for supper at the Maybush. On Tuesday morning, we awake to a flat calm and no wind! As the tide comes in the wind freshens and Steve motors across to ‘Dauber’ in the dinghy to pick Steve up. We stow the dinghy and outboard, and slip the mooring leaving Waldringfield at 1200.

We motor through Ramsholt moorings then put up the sails and get some tips from Steve M. for the rigging etc. Bev takes the helm as we sail down towards Felixstowe Ferry in perfect conditions to check out the set of the sails. After two or three attempts, we pick up a buoy at Felixstowe Ferry under sail and have lunch at 1500 departing 1545 for a run in light airs back to Waldringfield. We drop the sails just before the moorings and motor alongside ‘Dauber’ to let Steve M. jump across, returning to the Tidemill at 1800. A perfect day out, rounded off with a curry at the Bengal Tiger, Woodbridge with Steve M.

OGA Jubilee Rally & 100th birthday for ‘Clytie’

Ben helps Steve go up the mast, third time lucky so the halyards are all secure in their new blocks so should run more smoothly. Bev went shopping for the barbecue while Leigh and Steve go up to Robertsons to sail ‘Cachalette’ down to Waldringfield. Lovely sunny afternoon as Gaffers arrive by boat and campervan at Waldringfield Boatyard. Aileen and Bev park the van in ‘prime position’ by the barbecue and wait for Leigh and Steve to arrive – good turnout of Gaffers for the barbecue.

Friday dawns clear but very windy. The OGA plan is to sail down to Felixstowe Ferry for f&c at lunchtime, against the tide in both directions, but Steve and Leigh aren’t too keen. They decide to take ‘Cachalette’ back up the river to Robertsons.

The return sail is eventful, with a challenging departure getting off the shore at Waldringfield then getting tangled up with a mooring line in full view of the visiting melee on the Town Dock in Woodbridge! Freed at last, having had to de-rig and re-rig the sails, they finally arrived safely into Robertsons sustaining slight damage to two hull planks.

Nigel, Aggy, Valentina, Marco and Ben had organised a lunchtime barbecue at the Tidemill then we drove back to Waldringfield to spend the evening with the Gaffers camping at the Boatyard.

Early Saturday afternoon found everyone gathered at Eversons (Woodbridge) Boatyard for the 100th birthday celebrations of ‘Clytie’, built there 100 years ago as a commission for the current owner’s grandparents. Still very windy, but bathed in sunshine in the lee of the Eversons shed, everyone had a great time with an excellent turnout.

Took refuge in the van overnight against the wind and rainstorms, watching the London Jubilee party on TV, after the cricket highlights.

Sunday dawned, still raining but the wind had dropped slightly. Steve’s got a list of jobs to do as he hopes to be ready for the Suffolk Yacht Harbour Regatta next weekend.

It brightened up enough for him to bend on the mainsail while Bev took her kayak up to Wilford Bridge and back to test out the new paddle – and it was declared a successful purchase. After evening drinks at the Anchor we retired to the Bengal Tiger with Lou, Maggie and Paul for a curry.

It’s still dull, chilly and wet on Monday but Ben and PJ are keen to join Steve as crew for the Regatta, so he’s determined to get the boat ready for Thursday, while Bev drives the Mazda back to Derbyshire for her ballet class and a dental appointment, aiming to return at the weekend. In bright sunshine, it was a great drive on country roads avoiding the A14, A1 and M1!

Our new ‘toy’

First passage out of the Deben!

After leaving the Tidemill on Monday, 12 July, Peter and Steve spent the night on Billy’s buoy at Ramsholt, enjoying supper and a tot of rum as they made plans for their passage to mark the first time Cachalot has been out of the River Deben since September 2006. HW at Woodbridge Haven buoy on Tuesday was 1416 so they waited on a buoy at Felixstowe Ferry for sufficient water and have a cuppa. Peter took the opportunity to try changing the depth sounder from ft. to m. and disabled the display completely! Fortunately, Steve managed to reset it, just before noon when they motored out of the river in very lumpy conditions. The sea-state remained poor, forcing them to motor along the coast to Harwich Harbour. Due to the poor conditions, they decided to come into the Orwell, taking a berth for the night at Suffolk Yacht Harbour, Levington and enjoying a meal ashore at the Lightship. 

Peter helms on the River Orwell

Wednesday found them enjoying a lovely sail up the Orwell to Ipswich, with reefed main and staysail, where Peter hoped to be able to purchase a fishing rod. They took a berth at Ipswich Haven Marina and made a foray into town. Departure into the lock on Thursday morning, resulted in some minor damage to the freeboard as Cachalot bumped the pontoon. Nothing serious though, on inspection it would just need a little rubbing down and coat of paint.

The boom has slipped by about 3 inches!!

After sailing back down the Orwell into the River Stour, they took a buoy at Wrabness and Peter unpacked his new fishing rod. Tidying the sails, Steve noticed that the boom had slipped down the mast by about 3 inches! While Steve repaired the gooseneck, Peter fished from the stern: #1 catch, a large piece of seaweed, #2 a crab but third time lucky yielded a reasonable sized sea bass! 

Peter catches a fine sea bass

Friday 16 July dawned with fair winds and blue sky. HW at Woodbridge Haven was not until 1634 so they had plenty of time to enjoy a sail in Harwich Harbour. John, out on the Morecambe Bay Prawner fishermen’s lifeboat replica ‘William’ sailed down from Ipswich with a camera, resulting in a good collection of photos and video. Thankyou, John!

As the weather was so fine, Peter and Steve sailed back up the coast early afternoon, crossed the Deben Bar and sailed all the way up to Waldringfield. Touching the mud on the final tack could have ended badly, but Peter jumped on the rear deck and freed her in time to take in the sails and get back into the Tidemill in time for supper.

Nearly ready for summer sailing!

Since her launch in August, 2017, ‘Cachalot’ has been out of her berth and into the river on several occasions, but never actually left the Deben! In 2018 we had a late start, problems with the hull, no sails until July and there was still lots of ‘fitting out’ to be done. There were too many family commitments elsewhere in 2019 and last year we were all ‘locked down’! In searching the archive it’s nearly 15 years since she last crossed the Deben Bar. On 1 September, 2006 we returned from the OGA Classics Cruise, joined by Hedley, and sailed all the way up the river! Donna Morgan caught us on camera as we passed through Waldringfield . . . so, she’ll definitely be going out this year!

During a trip to Dartmouth in May, Steve acquired a beautiful winch from Steve M. He’d taken it off ‘Cormorant’ and was about to sell on eBay. It’s now securely fitted on the foredeck along with the cowl air vent over the forepeak cabin. Winches, kindly given to us by John and Jane, are also now set up with two pairs of clutches for the foresail sheets.

Below decks there was a radical tidy up, removing anything not required for a passage.

There’s now a secure place to keep the electric outboard, hooks for hanging wet gear and an improved area around the stove with places to stow all the essentials for cooking.

Steve cleaned the bilges and on checking the manual pump found it was totally seized and needed taking out, cleaning and re-fitting . . . in a particularly difficult place under the deck!

Looks like we’re all shipshape and ready to go! Peter is due to arrive on 12 July to join Steve for a first trip out of the river . . . then we hope to join the OGA East Coast cruise at the end of the month with more crew lined up.

to Larkmans for lift-out

We returned to Woodbridge on 8 June, bringing the sails and everything else for the boat that had been stored at home over winter.

It was a busy few days at home catching up with life in Derbyshire. There’s more work for Bev to do in the garden now, since all the work done, including new planting, during lockdown last year!

Before going up to Larkmans, Steve bent on the mainsail and replaced all the temporary ‘winter’ rigging.

He motored upriver with the tide to arrive promptly at 1220 on Thursday 10 June, as planned. After being lifted out on the crane, and scrubbed down by Aldon, there was some discussion about how long we needed to be ashore.

After consulting the tidetables, it was agreed everything had to be done by Monday lunchtime, or we’d have to wait another week for sufficient water. So, what was there time to do? The weather was glorious, possibly a bit too hot for doing the anti-fouling, but they’d found us a nice shady place for the weekend. James was enlisted to have a quick look at the hull and despite the pain caused by a return of toothache, Steve persevered in the heat and by Monday morning ‘Cachalot’ was ready for a return to the water.

Gleaming with new anti-foul, the waterline had been checked and corrected and a couple of small repairs below the waterline had been done. Her topsides were sparkling following a thorough wash down, and some touching up where paint had been rubbed off. There’s a few other jobs outstanding, but these can be done while she’s afloat.

A call to the dentist resulted in an emergency appointment for Steve on Wednesday, and thunderstorms were forecast for the weekend, so after motoring back to the Tidemill we packed up the Landrover and drove back to Derbyshire again on Monday 14 June.

What a strange summer!

Simon helps with the rigging

September was mostly sunny and bright, so we took the camper down to Hampshire for a ‘socially distanced’ family get-together in the New Forest. We also fitted in a visit to OGA friend Ben in Lymington before returning to Woodbridge for the end of a very unusual summer.

The forecast wasn’t promising for the last few days of the month, so we returned home, wondering when we’d be able to lay ‘Cachalot’ up for the winter . . . it seemed very likely that another full lockdown would be imposed before the end of October.

Scanning the forecasts, we looked in vain for a few days without rain or strong winds. As a second lockdown became more and more likely, we decided to take a chance on 29 October and drove down in the Adria and Landrover.

The following day Derbyshire Dales was put into Tier 2, then the second full lockdown was announced for 5 November. We’d made the trip with a couple of days to spare!

With sails stowed, spars brought on deck, engine winterised, bilge pumps checked and all the other stowing and ‘laying up’ jobs complete, Simon and Ricarda drove over from their new home in Cambridge to help put the winter cover on.

Just in time, everything was ready and we towed ‘Cachalette’ back to Derbyshire with a van full of sails for winter storage at home.

One last night on the river before laying up for winter

Motoring back on the evening tide

We fit in a short trip to Woodbridge early September before Steve takes the van to Chamonix for ten days climbing with Simon. We creep out of the Tidemill at 1800, Saturday 7 September, with only just enough water over the sill and motor downriver, intending to go to Ramsholt. By 1845 it’s getting dark and windy so we call Tony and ask to spend the night on a buoy at Waldringfield instead. By 2000 the wind has calmed down and Sunday dawns a bit gusty but warm and sunny. We enjoy the spectacle of Waldringfield SC One Design Dragonfly fleet racing for their 70th anniversary then motor slowly back to the Tidemill just before dusk. Steve decides to go over the bar at 1:35m, we touch and clatter across the sill – hopefully no damage is done and we moor up at 1910!

There’s no Indian Summer this year and we scan the forecast to find a couple of days when we can check the new mainsail cover fits and then lay ‘Cachalot’ up for winter . . . Saturday 19 October looks promising. We drive down to Suffolk in the van for the weekend, get the sails bagged up and spars laid on the deck, but as we start to put the winter cover on the rains return with a vengeance!

It’s impossible to secure the cover tightly enough, so we leave it and return in the car to finish the job on 3 November and sleep on the boat. It really is quite cosy as a winter hideaway, and now the winter cover is on, the bilge pump is going off quite infrequently.

Laid up for winter, November 2019

 

Bending on the mainsail

Steve climbs the mast with help from Pete

Setting up a couple of new blocks

Hoisting the mainsail

The weather means we can take the winter cover off at last, relying on the summer one finished off perfectly by Baz.

With sunshine forecast, and only light winds, Steve decides it’s time to bend on the mainsail.

Once that’s done, there’s a bit more ‘rigging and reeving’ to do and Pete offers to come round and lend a hand. Steve climbs the mast to set up a couple more blocks and tidy the new rigging.

Woodbridge Maritime Festival

Barges in the Town Quay

Rigging and reeving with Pete & Clare

We’d been invited to join in with Maritime Woodbridge this year and set out from the Tidemill Yacht Harbour an hour before high water on Friday to motor round to the Town Quay. After running aground twice, and concerned about the fast approaching high water, we returned to our berth in the marina.

On Saturday, we tried again. It looked like there would be more water in Bass’s Dock and we approached slowly, running aground again alongside the Dutch barge ‘Inez’, but there was plenty of time before high water, so we waited. As the tide came up, we gradually warped our way into the dock stern to with several helping hands joining ‘Flooka’ and three Albert Strange yachts ‘Mist’, ‘Galatea’ and ‘Nirvana of Arklow’.

There were plenty of visitors braving our gang plank to come aboard, with lots of admiring comments for ‘Cachalot’. The event was held in the newly redeveloped Whisstocks Centre and seemed to be very successful with plenty going on.

We hoisted the mainsail when OGA friends Pete and Clare came aboard . . . thanks for all the help and advice with rigging and reeving!

Into the river, with sails

After a great week cruising with the gaffers, spending the last two nights in Ipswich, the passage back to the Deben aboard ‘Kestrel’ was cancelled due to severe weather warnings. James spent the night at Pin Mill and we returned to Woodbridge by car, tidied up the boat and drove back to Derbyshire late Sunday afternoon. After a week at home we return to Suffolk for the Tidemill annual barbecue on 11 August. Jim joins us for the evening and enjoys an afternoon on the river with Steve, sailing ‘Cachalette’ right back to her berth astern of ‘Cachalot’.

We’ve been checking the tides carefully this week as it’s Springs allowing us just over three hours to go out and back over the Tidemill YH bar during the daytime. The weather looks to be set fair too for a short trip out in the river to pick up a buoy and hoist the sails. It would be good to have another pair of hands and by chance, Leigh pops round to say he may be around to help after collecting his boat from the Orwell. So, today’s the day we go out in the river (with sails) for the first time!

The decks are cleared and everything stowed neatly in the cabin, sails are made ready, fenders cleaned of all the slimy sea squirts that have clung to them and off we go as the mark on the bar just covers 1.5m at 1400. Gently does it, but what’s happened to the engine? It’s making a horrible noise and Bev is keen to return to the marina. However, Leigh and Steve listen, take a careful look and decide it’s OK to continue with our project down river . . . we motor down past Loders Cut and pick up a buoy. We play for a while with the mainsail then motorsail back with the staysail.

  • Leigh and Steve set out from the Tidemill
  • Picking up a buoy
  • What are they looking at?
  • Checking out the mainsail
  • Mainsail hoisted

We need to make sure to get back over the bar by just after 1700. Bev takes the helm on the return trip and motors upriver, over the bar and into the marina, doing well until the last turn into the berth, when a sudden gust of wind knocks her completely off course . . . thankyou, Leigh and ‘Mrs Brown’ (Richard and Eileen) for helping to get us safely back into the berth with damage to nothing but Bev’s confidence. Once the engine’s fixed, we need to practise tight manoeuvres under power.