Although our original plans had been to head for Southwold as our prime target for the week, with Shelagh needing to be home on Sunday and the predicted foul weather that the forecasts were showing it was decided to head back to Fambridge first thing Friday morning. With this in mind we departed Halfpenny Pier at around 0900 hrs. Once on the main river we took advantage of the south-westerly that was blowing and made sail, genoa only again as I couldn’t be bothered with the main. Ideally having the main out would have been a better option. Once we’d cleared Naze Ledge it was very clear that we’d be beating our way down the wallet and with wind over tide too, making it somewhat uncomfortable, certainly for Shelagh. So after about an hour I gave up and put the noise machine on, furled away the genoa and started heading back on route to Gunfleet South. At times it was a bit bouncy to say the least, yet it didn’t feel like very rough seas to me. in fact I’ve been sailing in far far worse. A fairly long run back with a foul tide, just so that we could enter the crouch as the tide turned.
Turning at the Wallet Spitway with 2 metres of water under us as we crossed over to Swin Spitway I noticed the wind was once again on the turn, and was indeed making more south-southwest than it had been, oh well motoring all the way back in then. To be fair, we were making a good 5 Knots over the ground so I wasn’t complaining. In truth, while cruising up the much calmer River Crouch with wind dead on the nose we were still going to arrive earlier than planned. Our eta was 15:10 hrs BST and we were nailed to the pontoon some 25 minutes early. A pretty uneventful journey back for a change, its just a shame that it was so chilly with a constant head wind.
Saturday (day 7). Completely by accident while scanning through weather and other stuff I noticed that the afternoon high tide would give us the opportunity to put Pleinair back on her mud berth, I need a 5 metre tide to achieve this even with her 1.1 metre draught and so, one hour before high tide I started checking the depth with my lead line. We were back on the mooring over half an hour before high tide, even though when the water went out Pleinair didn’t quite settle into her original hole.
One tide later and back she went, all nice and level, bilge keels hidden in the mud and the rudder back in the hole it came out of. Saturday was a day of rest again and I’m told were going home just as soon as the Sunday lunch things are washed up. Oh well another week aboard S/V Pleinair is over with. I’ve now got a lot to think about in terms of sails, refrigeration, hot water, electrics etc. that’ll keep me going for a while.
Back to reality.
Overall track for this year can be seen here