| Moving Southwards
We spent the winter
in Southwold and Lowestoft, surviving through one of the coldest seasons for
years. We had fierce winds, snow and worst of all icy decks like skating rinks
which concentrated the mind and body when leaving or boarding the boat. We now
have a colourful variety of cosy bed socks and a variety of heating devices
which supplemented our Webasco diesel boat heater. Hope not to experience that
again for a while.
Early morning December '08 in Southwold
achieved a lot of jobs with the support of numerous people including:
the inside of the boat revarnished under warranty (thanks Fox's and
the galley re-surfaced successfully at the second attempt (thanks
various rigging jobs done (thanks Paul)
the second alternator mount sorted out which means that our engine can now
generate more power for us (thanks Carl)
fold up dinghy built ( thanks Tim for the loan of a garage)
6 our beloved dog very happily re-homed (thanks John,
Gerry, Graham and Sue).
Benbow on Southwold Beach in the winter,
chewing a pebble!
We left Lowestoft on the
9th May. Our friends Tim and Juliet with their daughter Rosie came to
see us off.
Sailing off from Lowestoft to London via Harwich Old
Town, spending a single night on the "Halfpenny Pier" at Harwich. This is highly
recommended as Harwich Old Town is a very interesting visit with lots of
historical buildings very well kept and preserved. It has a range of restaurants
and pubs worthy of a much bigger place.
We enjoyed good winds going south, this felt unusual and exciting after
some of the awful winds we had experienced last year and with a rush of
enthusiasm we hoisted our new blue and white cruising chute made for us by
Crusader Sails. It worked wonderfully but L'raine immediately noticed that
one of the 8 white panels was in fact cream! We phoned the sail maker en route -
strange explanation. Apparently their workshops have flourescent lights and some
of the colours,such as white and cream, cannot be distinguished; they don't
check them in daylight. "What about code numbers on batches of cloth?" I
asked. "Yes, well, please send the sail back, we need to
So off it went,
collected from the Harbour Master's Office at St Katherine's Dock in London. We
then had a call to say that it had been mislaid and what had it been wrapped in
- well, in fact, it's sail bag with a large white cloth label. They found it and
yes we were right, one panel was cream not white and very sorry but they would
replace the panel and send the sail on to us. We had waited six weeks for
this sail and didn't have another six to spare so had to accept this in order to
have a cruising chute in time but there was discussion with them about the
difference between - a new sail - a sail with a replacement panel - a repaired
sail weakened due to replacement panels or repairs. Anyway, not one to give in
easily to this absence of quality control but forced to accept/compromise
because of timing, I have advised sailing friends that unless they enjoy utter
frustration and are prepared for hassle and arguement, that they don't use this
sail maker if they are thinking of changing or supplementing their sail
wardrobe. UGH! Anyway down the coast to the Thames estuary involved
a disturbed night at Queenborough where the boat attempted to butt the buoy we
were moored to all night
Next a much enjoyed, but bracing and choppy sail, up the Thames to London
We had an excellent week next to Tower bridge at St Katharine's dock which is
extremely attractive and although in the heart of London, afforded us a peaceful
St Katherines Dock, London
Hattie, boyfriend Ben and Peter were able to stay aboard for a few
and we saw our great nephew Nathaniel for the first time, with his
parents Alexander and Holly.
We did the tourist round of the Globe, Lyric Theatre,Tate Britain Art Gallery, the
Imperial War Museum and the Whitechapel Gallery, as well as Borough Market which
has the most wonderful produce and can empty the wallet fairly easily.
We retreated downstream to Gallions Reach, wonderful name but a rather
rough and ready marina at the entrance to the old Royal Docks in the East End of
London. We were moored about 50 metres below the flight path
into London City airport which gave us an amazing view of wobbly undercarriages,
flexing wings and interesting displays of wind dynamics on aeroplanes as
they come in to land. It is not an experience that would encourage one to rush
of and book flights anywhere. However it was a cheap
and cheerful place for Chris to stay and do some boat jobs, if
the wind would stop blowing Force 7+, whilst L'raine went
to help her mother move into her new sheltered
for the South Coast
route to Lymington, our final mainland destination, we stopped off at Eastbourne
which we are not fond of as it feels rather characterless especially after St
Katherine's Dock. However, the Marina charges included laundry facilities which
we needed and nearby was a large supermarket which we also needed. We discovered a rather good Thai restaurant
adjacent to the harbour, this made an enjoyable outing for L'raines
Taking the helm to
On to the beautiful Beaulieu River - £6 to anchor in perfect peace. Two nights of this tranquility was just right after our cultural but
hectic week in London
We had 7 days in Lymington to make our farewells with
C's mother and sister Mary and seeing our daughter Harriet on board for a
farewell weekend when she astounded her grandmother with 'the amazing things
young people wear these days' i.e. leggings and a short dress with various cross
coloured top layers - definitely not for grannies (or boats) but looks great and
certainly attracts the sailors.
As part of our final arrangements an inventory has been taken for the contents of every
locker so there should be no excuses when we cannot find the porridge, the tea,
the string or the battery tester.
Now where did I put my shoes?
We love Lymington at this time of year before the
really busy tourist season starts but when it is starting to get a little
lively. We were in the harbour surrounded by swans, squeaking cygnets, ducks and
flurrying ducklings, it is an excellent place to leave from and we were ready.
Crossing the channel, we left Lymington at 5.30a.m.
under engine. We woke before the alarm so it didn't feel too early. There was
little wind but the forecast was W4-5 possibly 6 later becoming variable 3 or
less. A couple of miles out off Hurst Castle spit the wind came up and so did
the mainsail and jib. We sailed fast through the Needles Channel with the tide
helping to sluice us through. We were, followed by another yacht in the far
distance and were keeping out of the tracks of various channel ferries, the
Commodore Clipper was just about a mile astern of us and moving fast. The Isle
of Wight and the white cliffs of Studland Bay disappeared about and Chris
started taking sun sights with the sextant, I was hoping he didn't drop it
overboard, sending it to look for his phone which was dropped in Lymington
Harbour a few days before.
The boat was expertly steered by George (our
hydrovane) but we were fighting a strong tide which wanted to push us east and
as we were sailing as close to the wind as we dared, we ended up in
rather than Alderney which is where we wanted to be.
That will have to wait until tomorrow!