Archive for July, 2015

Notes from the East Coast – Wrabness to Woodbridge

Saturday, July 25th, 2015

We left Wrabness to join up with Torsten on Folia in Titchmarsh Marina. It is a while since I’ve sailed in the Walton Backwaters and I’ve always had fond memories of anchoring at Stone Point. Torsten was due to arrive with a couple of friends late on the Friday evening so while we waited we walked into Walton on the Naze to do some shopping and have a mooch around. I hadn’t realised that the beach disappears at high tide. We went down to the pier and stopped at an appalling pub for a lightly iffy beer while the most incredibly noisy game of pool was being played. Glad to escape. We picked up some food and returned to Sumara for an evening meal. I’m tending to avoid marinas when there is another option so while we are in one we take full advantage and fill up with food, water, fuel and have showers and hose the boat down. We set off in the morning joined by Folia and decided to have lunch back in Wrabness. Folia arrived first and anchored. We joined soon after and tied up alongside.

Sumara alongside Folia

Sumara alongside Folia

I know Sumara is small but when tied alongside Folia she looks tiny. We had a wonderful lunch and set off to Pin Mill to find my new mooring for the first time. We had booked an evening meal at the famous Butt and Oyster pub and arranged to meet more friends Martin and Katie and their children Dylan and Tess. All the buoys all looked occupied so I was surprised to find number 32 was still vacant and waiting for us. This is to be Sumara’s new home. Torsten picked up a larger buoy on the other bank. We rowed the 20 minute row ashore, found a nice table outside and we all had great pub meal. Torsten sailed off on the early tide. Next week he is sailing to Norway. The following day we walked to Wolverstone along the river.

View of Sumara from Pin Mill Field

View of Sumara from Pin Mill Field

 

Pin Mill Field

Pin Mill Field

We decided our next stop would be Woodbridge. It is necessary to arrive at the bar couple of hours before high water to allow enough time to take the tide up the River Deben to Woodbridge Tide Mill Basin.

Woodbridge Tide Mill Basin

Woodbridge Tide Mill Basin

We had no problems on the bar and arrived at high water to be allocated a berth which was later reclaimed by a rather angry owner. Peter Willis popped down to see us and we had a beer on board. We were lucky enough to visit the Tide Mill while it was working, well worth the trip. The following day we strolled up the river to visit the Sutton Hoo site. We spent most of the day there and joined a conducted walk.

Mrs Pretty's House

Mrs Pretty’s House

Old Wrecks up the Deben

Old Wrecks up the Deben

Another Old Wreck up the Deben

Another Old Wreck up the Deben

A Well Snugged Up Boat up the Deben

A Well Snugged Up Boat up the Deben

Peter Duck up the Deben

Peter Duck up the Deben

Sutton Hoo Burial Mound

Sutton Hoo Burial Mound

Replica Treasure from Sutton Hoo

Replica Treasure from Sutton Hoo

Inside Mrs Pretty's House

Inside Mrs Pretty’s House

A Vicious Warrier

A Vicious Warrior

Ramsholt Church

Ramsholt Church

The house belonging to Mrs Pretty who owned the land was an interesting addition the day. The following morning Peter took us to visit John Criech (sp) who has spent eight years restoring a canoe yawl (Albert Strange?). It is a joy to behold. John is hoping to launch very soon. Currently engineless, John will decide whether to install one later but it will need to have an offset prop. After lunch we motored down to Ramsholt and picked up a buoy. George the Ramsholt Harbourmaster is great character who is very helpful and he seems to be on permanent duty. My friend Philip has his Vertue moored there and always sings George’s praises. The next day was very windy with a force 7 forecast so we went for a walk to Ramsholt Church and had fish and chips in the Ramsholt Arms. The village seems to be a pub and a church with a few houses. We had to set off on Saturday as our holiday was drawing to a close. It was still quite windy 4-5 but at the time we left it was from the west. We left two hours before high water and motor sailed into a strong spring tide barely making progress. The wind sadly then veered so it would be on the nose going over the bar. With no pull from the sails and a lumpy sea it was a long struggle to reach Woodbridge Haven buoy. We did make it of course and bore away out to sea before making a couple of long boards towards Harwich. With the wind behind us we flew up the River Orwell and picked up our buoy at Pin Mill to end our East Coast Holiday.

A Very Fine Set of New Gates at Ramsholt Church

A Very Fine Set of New Gates at Ramsholt Church

Inside of Ramsholt Church with its Unusual Pews

Inside of Ramsholt Church with its Unusual Pews

The Round Tower Church Society

The Round Tower Church Society

A Beautiful Boat Sails by on the Deben

A Beautiful Boat Sails by on the Deben

View from Ramsholt

View from Ramsholt

John Criech's Lovely Yacht

John Criech’s (sp) Lovely Yacht

John Criech's (sp) Lovely Yawl

John Criech’s (sp) Lovely Yawl

Deck on John Criech's (sp) Lovely Yawl

Deck on John Criech’s (sp) Lovely Yawl

Vertue Corina in the foreground and Vertue Sumara behind at Ramsholt

Vertue Corina in the foreground and Vertue Sumara behind at Ramsholt

Which Vertue is this 1507

Which Vertue is this? I think it is on the Deben but could be the Orwell

Which Vertue is this? I think it is on the Deben but could be the Orwell

Vertue Chinita

Vertue Chinita

Notes from the East Coast – London to Wrabness

Monday, July 20th, 2015

After a hectic year it was with some relief that we were able to slip out of South Dock on a late Sunday afternoon tide with two weeks of sailing ahead. There were no exciting voyages planned just a bit of gentle sailing around the muddy waters of the Thames Estuary. The tide kicked in as we waved goodbye to London’s Canary Wharf.

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf

 

 

 

 

One tide will get a small yacht down to Southend so long as you don’t hang around. The flood will then help you into the Medway where Queenborough

awaits as a handy overnight stop. I hadn’t realised that the all tide landing had been revamped so we picked up a buoy. The Sheppy launch came over to collect £12.00 from us (£18.00 alongside). We intended to stay the next day but a poor weather forecast prompted us to whizz across the estuary to Pyefleet to avoid getting “holed up” for a few days. The Thames was empty, not a yacht in sight, which is amazing considering it is so close to London. Once again the late tide meant a night time arrival and inevitably it involves scraping over the swatchways with little water under the keel. We entered the River Colne and dropped the sails off Brightlingsea. I prepared the anchor as we crept up the creek under power, there being too little water to attempt entering Brightlingsea. Stupidly checking the little illuminated chartplotter rather than the dark chart led us promptly into a very sticky mud bank while in theory being surrounded by 2.2 m of water. Nothing would shake Sumara out so we pumped up the dinghy, threw in the aluminium Fortress anchor and a long warp and I tossed it over in deeper water to avoid the brisk breeze blowing us further onto the bank. With a bit of time and a bit of winching we eventually swung around and began to float. I hauled up the kedge, found a bit of deeper water and laid the Rocna out for the night.

A Twister in Pyefleet Creek?

A Twister in Pyefleet Creek?

 

Pyefleet is a very peaceful spot, well it was once we had stopped frigging about. Even with many yachts it seem very remote. We spotted what looked like a Twister hauled out on the south bank. After breakfast we waited for a bit of flood before mooching into Brightlingsea. We were here last year and it was a bustling little town with children lining the jetties crabbing and people swimming in the outdoor pool and the sea. There were queues at the ice cream shops and the chippies but this time there wasn’t a soul around. Apparently the schools haven’t broken for the holiday and until they do the town remains on standby. I preferred it busy. The weather wasn’t great so we went for a drizzly walk along the river bank. it occurred that it might be nice to walk to Wivenhoe. We asked directions from a lady being walked by her dog who told us it was not possible to walk to Wivenhoe. Armed with her inspirational answer we marched onwards determined to prove her wrong. Sadly she was right but that wasn’t going to stop us. We diverted up along a creek until we hit a main road and then walked along the pavementless road for what seemed like 8-10 miles. Why is it so many country roads don’t have pavements? We almost caught a train at one point but pushed on to eventually arrive at a splendid pub by the river at about 7pm.

Wivenhoe Pub

Wivenhoe Pub

 

 

 

East coast boats certainly have more “character” than those on the South Coast. We admired some of them over our beer before catching the bus back to Brightlingsea.

 

Outside the Wivenhoe Pub

Outside the Wivenhoe Pub

 

 

 

Some "characterful" East Coast Boats

Some “characterful” East Coast Boats

 

 

 

 

 

The next day we set off for Wrabness. The wind died en route so we started the engine. By some weird fluke I decided I would have a look at the engine, something I often do when motoring through calm patches on ocean crossings but not normally on little trips like this as I always check the engine before setting off. I lifted the cover only to find the diesel fuel pipe had come adrift and was squirting diesel onto the hot exhaust. It only took a few minutes to repair but I wonder why I decided to look at the engine just then? Our friend Peter has a caravan and his yacht at Wrabness. The caravans come with a mooring and a very fine mooring it is too. We picked up a vacant one having been assured it has been empty for ages. For years Wrabness has been a quiet sleepy place loved only by those who live there or happen to be lucky enough to have a beach hut or caravan there. That changed slightly last year when Grayson Perry built his special house in a nearby field with beautiful views across the Stour.

Wrabness Caravan Site with Grayson Perry's House

Wrabness Caravan Site with Grayson Perry’s House

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grayson Perry's House

Grayson Perry’s House

 

 

Despite its new fame Wrabness remains a wonderful place with gorgeous walks along the river and through the woods. We visited the community shop which has a café and on some evenings a bar too. Inside the café are works by the local art group on the wall. They look like paintings that people have really enjoyed doing as part of the community. Next to the shop we were admiring a little railway garden when we met the artist who created a “Four Seasons” painting to brighten up a corner. It would be nice to think that the new famous artist has maybe inspired the locals to enjoy their painting. If you moor at Wrabness be sure to visit the garden and shop. I picked up a book called “No need for a Boat” by Peter Caton about tidal islands. I instantly bought the book because I enjoyed his Essex Walks book so much. A great shop.

Wrabness Railway Garden

Wrabness Railway Garden

 

Wrabness Garden Picture

Wrabness Garden Picture

 

 

 

 

 

 

To be continued – Wrabness to Woodbridge