A race to Harwich with a 10:30 start was in the Cruiser Programme for the Spring Bank Holiday weekend but when the flood tide combined with a NE wind, the race was of secondary importance and crews developed their own plans for the journey to the River Orwell.
Anne and Arthur in Star Swan’left as scheduled- Andy and Gina Wood-Hill in their Motor Cruiser Boscollina left much later and, although conditions prevented planing, they overtook Star Swan’at the Naze and arrived first with a journey time of just two hours. Len, Amanda and Roy left ninety minutes after Star Swan in Amanda Louise and decided to overnight at Brightlingsea. Chris and Chrissie in their new boat Grace 2 of Burnham carried out engine trials in the Crouch and retired to the club bar. Steve and I in Verlette’completed a couple of fitting out items, including the installation of tricky sliding doors to the galley cupboard, and left the club pontoon at 15:35 to catch the northbound tide. Levington was plan A but plans B to F were ready for implementation if necessary.
We motored into the NE head wind and set the sails at 21:00 hrs when we steered west against a strong ebb tide at Felixstowe. It was dark by the time we arrived at Levington, after 30 seconds (that seemed like 30 minutes) on the mud north of the starboard hand buoys, we were back on track for the entrance to Suffolk Yacht Harbour, recording a 22:20 arrival. Anne and Arthur found a vacant berth for us which provided more shelter than the visitors’ pontoon and kindly hosted us for a late supper.
On Sunday Boscollina returned to Burnham and Amanda Louise’arrived in time for afternoon tea on Verlette squeezing a record seven adults around our modest cabin table. The Lightship (Haven Ports YC clubhouse) provided our dinner and drinks for the whole evening, a good time had by all.
On Monday Star Swan and Amanda Louise made use of the favourable wind and reached back to Burnham. We motored up the Orwell to Ipswich. Attracted by the live music from across the dock we made our way to ‘Isaacs’ and a very strange atmosphere. Many screens in several bars showed Norwich City (who had, the previous week, knocked out Ipswich in the championship play-off semi-final) at Wembley cruising to Premiership status.
Steve warned me that making any positive comments about Norwich whilst in Ipswich could result in hospitalisation and as if to reinforce the message our drinks were served in plastic ‘glasses’. Choosing our words very carefully we were soon chatting to people including a Spanish waiter whom we persuaded to switch channels from the Norwich celebrations to Andy Murray winning his match in the French open tennis.
Sheer laziness took us back to ‘Isaacs’ on Tuesday morning for a cooked breakfast, a south westerly breeze meant we motor-sailed all the way back arriving at Burnham Yacht Harbour at 17.30. At least the engine had a good run on the first trip of the season and the sliding doors to the galley cupboards proved to be of similar mechanical excellence.
Thanks to Anne & Arthur for organising and to fellow participants for their excellent company.