Autumn cruise Day 4 and 5

After the disastrous start to the week ,a day of rest, in which I ached like I hadn’t ached for a long time, day 3 (Tuesday) was a nice pleasant respite of doing absolutely nothing.

Day 4 started like any normal one, me up early, coffee and a smoke, then more coffee. After breakfast was cleared and all the evidence was removed we once again prepared for sea and shortly after 09:15 we slipped the lines from Bradwell’s ‘A’ pontoon and ventured out into the creek. All was pretty calm here until we got into the river, nothing spectacular and relatively calm once again. After clearing the entrance simon was set to do his job (after checking and double checking the waypoint he was aiming for), the genoa came out and the engine went off, here again a nice steady sail and I decided to once again try unfurling the extremely infuriating mainsail. Failed again! put it away again! another half hour wasted. Oh well, back to the genoa only.  All in all we had a pretty good sail from the Blackwater, up the wallet to Naze Ledge, although once we left the river it became somewhat obvious.

After making the turn at Naze Ledge and starting the run into the River Orwell the wind increased, the noise machine went on and the genoa was rolled away. Still we were making good time as I’d planned to run into Harwich with the tide. For once this trip something actually worked, which is more than I can say for the electrickery on board. Just after passing Landguard I hit the button that handed control over to simon and all the instruments died simultaneously. One quick panic later and Navionics was running on my mobile with Shelagh and a copy of ‘East Coast Pilot’ in her grubbies issuing instructions from within the cabin as a backup. Slightly ahead of schedule we arrived at Ha’penny Pier and rafted up to a boat we later learned belonged to Hilary Lister. If you don’t know who she is then look her up,, this is one inspirational woman. Shelagh went in search of milk and bread with her and her crew, leaving me on board to finish off tidying up. The wind on day 4 was a steady force 4/5 from the south/southwest, during the night however, and with no warning it increased substantially  and swung round to the west causing me to attend lines and halyards on at least two occasions. On the second of these visits it was apparent that our neighbours were also having a spot of bother with the same thing. An uncomfortable night of bouncing and snatching at the lines by both boats.

Halfpenny Pier, Harwich.
Halfpenny Pier, Harwich.

Day 5 saw us up early very deliberately to enable Hilary’s crew to extract themselves from the inside of the raft. This we achieved quite easily by sliding Pleinair back and alongside the piles astern of them, allowing them to slip out past us in reverse. Once they had departed we then hauled Pleinair back onto the pontoon in their place. A morning of doing very little other than showers. Breakfast itself was more of a brunch, taken in the pier cafe before departing on a walk into Harwich (more to the point, Dovercourt) in search of some cable and glass fuses. It turned out that simon had just blown a fuse in the main panel and it just happened to be the only one I didn’t have a spare for. Typical.

We actually got lucky on the fuse search as the first shop we tried pointed us at one over the road and slightly round the bend, about 500 yards total. So we headed back to Harwich via Cliff Park and the seafront. While walking along the beach esplanade at Harwich I needed to rest as my back was starting to play up and headed for the first seat available. Was I drawn to this seat for a reason I wonder. As you’ll see in the following picture there is a slight similarity in the family name.  A little research will follow when I arrive home. Quite a well loved local character by all accounts.

The seat plaque which drew my attention
View from the parapet, Harwich Redoubt Fort.

A brief rest then a quick walk up the hill and a visit to Harwich Redoubt Fort. Harwich Redoubt is a circular fort built in 1808 to defend the port of Harwich, from Napoleonic invasion. We spent a happy couple of hours just wandering around here, the views from the upper level are pretty spectacular and there’s no doubt why this spot was chosen to construct it. I’d certainly recommend a visit here and entry is cheap, very.

Once we’d arrived back on board, dinner and a peaceful early night ensued. Apparently we’d walked best part of five miles today.








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