The weather doesn’t look promising for the OGA60 Jubilee Party and we have no crew for the trip to Ipswich.
We left the Tidemill Yacht Harbour at 1130, Monday 31 July and motor downriver to meet up with Edgar and Else, anchored at The Tips with ’Windbreker’, also on passage to Ipswich. After an enjoyable few hours rafted up, we cast off, reversing against a centre warp to avoid their two anchor chains. The wind wasn’t as bad as forecast, so we decided to stay overnight at Felixstowe Ferry, arriving at just about low water, 1700. Harbourmaster John gave us mooring buoy 14, as usual and we tucked into supper on board.
It was a quiet night but the forecast was westerly 15 knots, gusting 24 in the morning. Dropping the buoy at 1015 on Tuesday the sea state was lumpy crossing the Deben entrance, with a bit of surf, but not nearly as bad as expected. Before coming out of the Deben, we’d watched the Round Britain Cruise fleet on AIS leaving Lowestoft. Today was the ‘weather window’ to get to the Orwell. As we passed Woodbridge Haven Buoy ‘Recipe’ and ‘Hilda’ were ahead of us and we could see the others stretched back up the coast.
We motorsailed with just the staysail in a heavy swell, the morning sunshine disappearing behind an overcast, cloudy sky but it didn’t rain and the wind dropped. By 1415 we were at Pin Mill where we picked up a buoy, then motored on to lock into the Wet Dock and take up our berth in the newly-named Ipswich Beacon Marina. Several of the OGA Committee were there and we gathered at Isaacs Bar for supper.
As boats started arriving on Wednesday 2 August, we joined others in the OGA welcoming committee, clad in bright orange t-shirts, ably assisted by a team of ABP staff, wearing their corporate orange hi-viz. There was a buzz of excitement as the VHF crackled indicating another group of boats was approaching the lock. A careful berthing plan existed of who could raft against whom to fill the available spaces, rafting up in order of size. By Wednesday evening, the dock was full and we gathered on ‘Tannhauser’ for a shared supper. Thursday was the first ‘official’ day of the gathering with a visit to Spirit Yachts, Civic Reception and supper at St Clements Church.