Thames Estuary Sunday 18th September
Having decided to leave at about 11am and take the tide up the coast, necessitating a night in either Shotly or Levington marina due to the tricky entrance to the Deben, which can only safely be crossed at high water -3 to +1.
At about 9.30 last night Chris hit me with a curve ball. "We could leave really early, say, 4.30am, take the last hour of favourable tide and an hour of slack before we have to plug the spring tide, we should average about five knots and get to the Deben in good time, and it would be light before we have to pick our way through the sandbanks and wind farms". ......I set my alarm for 03.40.
It's 7.30 am now, we slipped our mooring at 04.06hrs and set course for home. The full moon afforded us some light, although behind us so wasn't really illuminating our track ahead, very lovely though! The sea much less rough, wind less strong than on our aborted attempt yesterday. We still had apparent wind of 20 knots, on the nose, and the couple of hours of favourable tide failed to reap the mileage we'd hoped for. So, despite our best efforts, it may be that we won't reach the Deben today. It doesn't matter, sailing plans can't be made too far in advance, over the course of our trip we have been able to sit out the adverse conditions and we have been incredibly lucky with fantastic weather and favourable winds for an astonishing amount of our five months away.
Meanwhile, to keep morale up I sought out some music to listen to, the radio had nothing to offer but their was a playlist on Chris's iPad titled "cracking tunes", an eclectic collection of music, first track opened with "oogachucka, oogachucka", just the job!
11am. I lied, I want to get into the Deben today with every cell of my body, it's touch and go, our speed dropped to an excruciating three knots for a while, and some jobsworth made us take a detour whilst crossing the wind array, there was a temporary platform/rig next to one of the turbines and has a 500metre exclusion zone around it , he suggested we turn immedoiately to port which would have taken us aground! We negotiated, and went to starboard, avoiding the sandbank but adding about a mile to our route. We're motor sailing, just about holding the main, it's precision stuff so Chris is helming, I tend to take a more wiggly route, so am on support duties mostly. So far this morning we've had tea, hot chocolate, coffee, orange juice and breakfast, which was left over curry from last night; it's strange what you fancy when you've been up since before four, it's that night-duty feeling. I'm wittering, it's now 11.32, exactly 2 hours til high tide on the bar, we would ideally like to be there by then, 10.7nmiles, presently making 4.1knots hmmmm, but, the tide should be easing any time. I feel I need to do something, useful; more of those 'cracking tunes' I think.
12.45 ....we are going to make it, speed now up to six knots, five miles to go, my nerves are settling. Hard to believe, it's been everything and more than we ever dared hope for and plenty of thoughts about future excursions, with and without Bliss. Bliss has made it easy for us, she's been reliable, comfortable and kept us buoyant. Chris has been calm, clever and patient.
Felixstowe Ferry is in sight, thank you for reading my blog, it's been fun to write and will be a record of this journey for us to reflect on.
So that's that, This is Helen Cook aboard Bliss, OUT.