Out of the River Deben at last, 2021

Out of the River Deben at last, 2021

Since her launch in August, 2017, ‘Cachalot’ has never actually left the Deben!

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 there were problems with the hull, no sails until July and still lots of ‘fitting out’ to be done. There were too many family commitments elsewhere in 2019 and in 2020 Covid19 locked us all down! In searching the archive, it’s nearly 15 years since she last crossed the Deben Bar. After leaving the Tidemill YH, Steve and brother Peter spent the night on Billy’s buoy at Ramsholt, enjoying supper and a tot of rum as they made plans for their passage south. This passage would be the first time ‘Cachalot’ crossed the Deben Bar since September 2006 when she returned from the first OGA East Coast Summer Cruise we took part in. 

As they waited on a buoy for sufficient water to cross the bar at Felixstowe Ferry, Peter decided to try changing the depth sounder from Steve’s preferred ‘feet’ to ‘metres’. Not the ideal time to disable the display completely! Fortunately, Steve managed to reset it as they motored out of the river in very lumpy conditions. The sea-state remained poor as they motored along the coast to Harwich Harbour and decided to come into the River Orwell. Wednesday found them enjoying a sail up the Orwell to Ipswich, with reefed main and staysail. Peter hoped to be able to purchase a fishing rod to relive childhood adventures so they took a berth at Ipswich Haven Marina and went ashore. After sailing back down the Orwell into the River Stour, they moored on a buoy at Wrabness when Steve was somewhat concerned to notice the boom had slipped down the mast by about three inches! While he repaired the gooseneck, Peter unpacked his new purchase and started fishing from the stern: #1 catch, a large piece of seaweed, #2 a crab but third time lucky yielded a reasonable sized sea bass for supper! 

Friday dawned with fair winds and blue skies, perfect! HW at Woodbridge Haven was not until 1634 so they had plenty of time to enjoy a sail in Harwich Harbour. OGA member John Warren was out on his Morecambe Bay Prawner fishermen’s lifeboat replica ‘William’. Thanks go to John for a great collection of photos under sail and video footage. Peter and Steve sailed back up the coast early afternoon, crossing the Deben Bar and sailing all the way up to Waldringfield. Touching the mud on the final tack could have ended the trip badly, but Peter jumped on the rear deck and freed her in time to take in the sails and get back into the Tidemill just in time for supper.