With an offer of a cabin for a few nights, we headed off to Ipswich on Saturday to meet up with Bruce and Graeme for a Sailing and Cruising Association East Coast Spring Bank Holiday gathering. The plan was to sail from Ispwich, to Paglesham for drinks on the river Roach. Then to sail to Bradwell Creek on the River Blackwater for a Sunday evening BBQ.
The weather forecast was lousy, however, and we had a good idea that we wouldn’t be following this plan. Graeme and Bruce met us at the train station in Ipswich and we transferred onto their very nice 26ft Bright Oyster. By 10.15 we were heading down the Orwell towards Felixstowe with a great view of Trinity Docks. Plans did change, and we agreed to do some local sailing, so that we could escape back home to avoid a weekend of rough weather or being stranded further afield
We had a good sail out to Pye End Buoy, following the channel out of the Orwell, then headed up the Walton Backwaters to go to Titchmarsh Marina. The weather forecast for the weekend was for Force 6–8 winds, and rain and Titchmarsh offered us better prospects for a comfortable night’s sleep! On the way we rafted up beside Nick and John’s boat for a late lunch and ended up eating rather a lot.
We all met up again at Titchmarsh and had some drinks on John and Nick’s boat before walking into Walton on the Naze which was surprisingly empty for a bank holiday weekend: although we shouldn’t have been surprised given the weather forecast. We tried a nice looking pub on the sea front, the Walton Tavern, where we bumped into the Bursar of Homerton College who was sailing with a 6ft 6 Canadian guy who was imposing. The atmosphere in the Walton Tavern wasn’t that special, so we transferred to The Victory, which is a far more comfortable pub. A group of colourful women, celebrating a 30th birthday, kept us entertained with their wild 60’s and 70’s outfits (incl gold lamé pants and blue glitter shoes). Walton was empty and we were turned away from the fish and chip shop at 9.05, because they stopped serving in their restaurant at 9. GGrr. It was a good thing in the end because we had a lovely meal at a good Thai restaurant, sharing lots of spicy dishes and free mango mousse form the owners.
The night in the marina was very comfortable: no wind or rain until about 8am. The forecast was grim though and even before we had breakfast we pushed on to come back to Ipswich. Bruce ‘s stint down below produced some very welcome bacon butties, which cheered us up in the rain.
The crossing outside the rivers was a bit bumpy, motoring head to wind against the tide, but it was fun too riding the swell (the waster is only 3-4 metres deep, so the wind made a swell quite quickly). The other boats heading for Titchmarsh looked at us heading out as if we were mad. After the bumpy bit, and reaching Pye End Buoy, we could get our sails up and sail into the Orwell. Once there, the Orwell was quite flat and the wind dropped and we had to motor eventually. The rain didn’t stop thought and we were sodden by the time we arrived back at Ipswich. You can see from the photo’s though, that we were having fun!
Bruce did a great job of cleaning up the boat in next to no time, while the rest of us unloaded the (uneaten) food and all the wet weather gear. We had dinner at home with Graeme and Bruce (some lovely paella) and then headed back to Cambridge on the 7.02.
It was great to met Graeme, Bruce, John and Nick, and we hope we’ll get another opportunity to go out sailing with them again. The weekend as very relaxing and good fun, despite the weather, and particularly because of the good company.
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