From the Orwell to Eastbourne
W. Eric Faber
Fri 12 Jul 2013 11:15
> Thank you to all those who came to the re-launch of Luna Quest and a further thank you for all your good wishes. On the Monday following the beautiful Sunday at Fox's Marina, I victualled the ship for the entire crew of one, a major brain-challenging exercise as my experience in that direction is somewhat limited. On Tuesday morning at 0600hrs I managed to manoeuvre Luna Quest out of her slot without bumping into any body else's craft and motor with the tide, down the beautiful River Orwell out to sea. The wind, of course, came from the wrong direction and if I wanted to make Dover in a day, it required the engine rather than the sails. Since I sailed last in the Thames Estuary, a plethora a wind farms have arisen, far too many to count (thousands), with most of them standing idle and some turning slowly into 15kn of wind. Luckily, there was a slight sea mist, so that some of Estuary's idiosyncrasies appeared preserved.
> I had the mainsail up whilst motoring into the wind to give the boat a little stability. I turned right, then left and right again to avoid grounding on the many sandbanks in the Estuary, which have proved to be so attractive to wind farm developers. The engine never ceased (TG) and got me to Dover by 18.30hrs. One ferry after another leaves or arrives and only by quick reaction to the instructions of harbour control can one nip into the harbour to find one's way to the marina. I said to the marina master that I would be unable to drive my boat into the slot he had available for me as the size of the slots seemed smaller than any of the slots in Waitrose car park, where one can feel decidedly out of place unless one drives a Mini to negotiate a little room for opening the door and without the car next to you bumping their door into yours. He put me on the 'hammerhead' of the pontoons after he had clearly decided that he was dealing with an incompetent boat driver. Wonderful, tout seul on the vast hammerhead, meant for super yachts, ready for a quick get-away the following morning towards Eastbourne.
> A second day of motoring into the wind and tide causing Luna Quest to make barely 3.5kn over the ground. Soon after leaving Dover, however, misfortune struck. The autopilot began to malfunction and for a time had me heading back to Dover at over 6 knots. I had not liked Dover much and was pleased to see the back of it, but now it reappeared out of the sea mist....Grrr. There was nothing for it but to hand steer Luna Quest to Eastbourne. However, my tummy was rumbling and demanded attention. I fiddled with lines to secure the helm to help Luna Quest steer herself so that I might be released. I managed it in the end and arrived at Eastbourne at around 1800hrs. That was Wednesday evening. I am still here (Sunday) while the 'engineers' are trying to effect repairs. One lives in hope...
> I shall write to you again as soon as I have news.