Cruising in Company
Eleven opportunities in 2016 to join with other Royal Harwich club members and participate in local cruises up and down our coast. One longer trip to London is anticipated taking a week or maybe even longer and possibly onto France if wanted.
Members should register their interest a couple of weeks in advance with the office secretary and the cruise leader by email. (All email addresses are listed in the members’ section of this web site.)
The programme is a great incentive to actually get on and sail somewhere. There’s no doubt that this is a good way to meet people and make friends. Also the ‘group’ planning is helpful and reassuring to all and even to the most experienced of skippers..
There is usually a get-together on the evening preceding a cruise in the club house where we have a meal and a briefing.
Cruise-in-Company dates for 2016:
|17th September||Brightlingsea - Allan Jones|
|1st October||Walton Pool / Ipswich Docks - Peter Wright|
To see a list of who is going to the CiC events, please log into the members area.
Cruise-in-Company to Burnham-on-Crouch, 30 April – 2 May 2016
Marguerite – Charles Nisbet and Bram van der Have
Keld – Mark and Lily Benbow
Windrush – Allan Jones and Nick Locke
Calidris – Chris and Val Hanson
Redshank – Dennis and Anne Kell
Eastwind – Nigel and Heidi Seary
Mornaque – Stewart and Wendy Wallace
After the traditional Friday evening supper in the Club House, seven boats set sail at about 9.30 the following morning in fine weather with a gentle breeze from the north west. Almost at once Mornaque reported expensive-sounding noises from her propeller and returned to Woolverstone to investigate; sadly that was the end of her participation in this cruise. We hope that she will soon be fixed and back on the water.
For the rest of the fleet the sail down the Orwell with the last of the ebb and into the Wallet with the start of the flood was going well, until around lunch time the sea breeze cut in and the wind went round to the south west, which didn’t help. Most of us managed to sail for some of the way, but motor sailing was the order of the day, except for Redshank, who doesn’t seem to understand the concept. All boats were safely moored in Burnham Yacht Harbour by 6 p.m. Nigel and Heidi Seary kindly stepped in to fill the breach left by Mornaque’s departure and volunteered Eastwind as host boat for a pre-dinner gathering which was much enjoyed by all.
The Swallowtail Restaurant was feeding four sailing clubs that evening, as well as its own locals, but coped well with our requirements, which included rearranging the table layout at least three times. (One thing that quickly became apparent was that there were plenty of chiefs in this party – it was us indians who were in short supply!) The food was good and the wine plentiful, so we all returned happily to our berths, passing a couple of noisy parties with music and dancing in vast motor boats moored on the same pontoon.
Sunday was warm and bright with the wind still in the south west. Windrush had to return to Woolverstone, but the rest of us crowded onto Keld and Marguerite for a gentle trip up the Crouch to North Fambridge.
We had lunch together in the Ferryboat Inn and then spent a couple of hours walking or otherwise enjoying the sun before sailing back to Burnham. Charles and Bram joined the Kells and the Hansons on board Calidris for drinks and then all migrated to Marguerite for an impromptu supper while the Benbows and the Searys got together for a rather more lavish meal on board Eastwind. A pleasant and relaxing day.
By Monday morning the wind had picked up to SW4 and the sky was overcast as all boats left Burnham at about 8 a.m. Once out of the shelter of the river the wind increased to SW5 which provided excellent conditions for a brisk sail home through the Swallow Tail and Whitaker Channels, the Spitway and the Wallet and then up the Orwell with everyone safely back in Woolverstone by the middle of the afternoon.
All-in-all this was a thoroughly enjoyable cruise, thanks to good company, fine weather and first rate sailing conditions for the trip home.
Stangate Creek and Limehosue Basin - Simon and Georgette Harrison
Simon and Georgette Harrison on Folie Douce - Leaders
Peter and Sally Wright on Dream Machine
Nigel and Heidi Seary on Eastwind
We made it! For Folie Douce it was third time lucky. Dream Machine and FD set off from Woolverstone on the Saturday morning at 0830 and our engines were on and off down the Orwell and half way down the Wallet as the wind was light, variable, and largely NE. Finally it strengthened and we were able to sail the rest of the way to the Medway.
Eastwind had had a new wheel autopilot fitted the day before and her engine would not start at 0830; however the problem was not related and, when a new solenoid had been fitted, a couple of hours later Nigel and Heidi set off in hot pursuit of the other two, down the Orwell, through the Swin Spitway and the re-buoyed Middle Deep, finally arriving at the new shore access pontoon at Queenborough at 1715, just a few minutes after DM and FD. Eastwind took the inside berth with FD and DM rafted outside, facilitating drinks on board FD, followed by dinner on individual boats.
In the morning, Peter and Sally Wright found a B&B serving an excellent "full English" which set them up well for the trip up the Thames. The low tide was at 1215 and we set off for Limehouse at 1000, nearly two hours before local low water. We arrived at 1715, having managed to sail for some three hours on the way with a light NW wind. Transitting the Thames barrier was exciting as there were two green arrows on adjacent piers both pointing to the left. DM was heading for one span when the lights changed indicating another span, we all quickly ziz-zagged after DM and passed through without further alarm.
It was choppy off Limehouse with the fast Thames commuter catamarans and tourist boats rushing past. We locked in together and assembled on DM for a debrief over a congratulatory drink and discussion of the programme for our stay.
Heidi was very keen to see Beautiful, the musical about the life of Carol King so we all met for coffee on board Eastwind on Monday morning to talk about this. She managed to book tickets for that evening for all six of us and Nigel booked a chauffeured car to return us to Limehouse after the show. We walked from our boats to Covent Garden, the show was excellent, most of the songs we recognised and we were reminded of our youth. A big thank you to Heidi and Nigel.
Eastwind had to get back home and set off the following morning with strong winds forecast. Off Gravesend their engine stopped and the PLA allowed them to pick up a mooring for the night where they diagnosed the problem as a faulty fuel lift pump which they were able to bypass. They set off the following day and made it back to the Orwell by late that evening, very wet and slightly battered. They had the foresight to 'phone the Riverside so that a hot meal was ready for them on arrival - now that's what we call passage planning!
Meanwhile DM and FD sheltered from the forecast F8s in Limehouse and visited the Ragged Schools Museum located a short walk up the canal, the schools founded by Dr. Barnardo, and the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch, recommended. The winds continued so DM and FD finally stayed five nights and passed down to Gillingham Marina for a couple of nights. By chance the annual Dickens Festival was on in Rochester, and this was well worth the short train ride.
On Sunday 5th June sadly we parted company after a great CIC. DM departed for Burnham, edging back towards home, and FD moved to Chatham. We each stayed for a couple of nights. By Tuesday 7th June, the tides dictated afternoon departures for NE passages. DM made the passage to the Orwell arriving at Pin Mill after dark and picked up a mooring for one last night away. On the same day FD moved from Chatham to Queenborough for lunch and departed for Burnham at 1500 arriving at 2250. It was dark as we approached the moorings off Burnham but we found that our CW radar was able to pick out even the plastic mooring buoys as we passed through them which made finding our way easier than trying to shine a torch on them from the bow. Unfortunately, we also explored the mud in the entrance to the Yacht Harbour which the radar did not spot. We managed to motor off after a few minutes of vigorous tiller and engine work. We were pleased to find a berth and slept soundly.
FD departed Burnham Yacht Harbour at 1625 on the Thursday to take the tide. Unfortunately, the light NE wind only allowed us to sail from the Spitway to Walton Pier where the wind died completely and on went the engine again taking us past the lights of Felixstowe in the twilight, quite beautiful. We arrived at Woolverstone at 2250 ready for bed and for preparations for the Queen's Birthday Parade of Sail with Dream Machine two days later.
Very many thanks to Eastwind and Dream Machine for making this extended cruise so enjoyable.
Simon and Georgette Harrison, Folie Douce
Orford - Jim and Irene Grant
We gathered in the clubhouse on the Friday evening for fish and chips. At that stage, we were to be a fleet of four boats which became five later in the evening. There was also the suggestion of a sixth boat but with the skipper reportedly at a party in Cambridge that evening, it seemed unlikely that she would make the morning tide.
Charts of the Ore entrance were examined. Verbal advice received from the harbourmaster at Orford Quay had afforded little comfort – “It is not as easy this year”; “Keep well off the channel buoys - I have been told they are not in the right positions”.
Planned departure times for the morning were brought forward as everyone wanted to cross the bar before high tide at 11.17 and we would be sailing against the tide for the whole way.
Five boats set off at around 6.30 – ‘Lochranza’ (Jim and Irene Grant), ‘Windrush’ (Allan Jones, Nigel and Sarah Martin), ‘Moien’ (Mike Woollard and Pom), ‘Angel of the Downs’ (Christopher and Sally Nash) and ‘Alchemy’ (Ed Harrison and Susannah Martin) and in a light NE breeze the first boats reached the Orford Haven buoy around 10.15. ‘Lochranza’ led the way in, cautiously following the harbourmaster’s instructions and her deeper draft was reassuring for ‘Windrush’ and ‘Moien’ following behind. No difficulties were encountered at the bar but there was an uncharted bank in the centre of the channel well inside the river, which could have caused problems at a lower state of the tide.
With the flood tide, we arrived quickly at Orford Quay where the harbourmaster came out and guided us to allocated berths. ‘Angel of the Downs’ arrived a little later and ‘Alchemy’ picked up her mooring in the early afternoon. There was no word of the sixth boat.
Dinghies were launched and some went off for exploratory walks around Orford. Early evening drinks were served on ‘Lochranza’ before a fleet of dinghies set off for the pontoon of the Orford Sailing Club. As we arrived there, shouts from across the river told us that the sixth boat had just arrived. ‘Sara’ (Tom Louth, Duncan McGoldric, and Sam Cockman), a Sigma 33 with a very respectable draft, had boldly sailed over the bar at around low tide!
The enlarged group of fourteen gathered for an enjoyable supper in the King’s Head pub, a short walk up the hill from the quay before the dinghies returned to their respective boats by torchlight.
In the morning our departure was timed to clear the bar as early as we thought safe and make the most of the flood tide and a fresh NE wind for a boisterous downwind sail back to Harwich. “Alchemy” showed the way, sailing through the larger boats (and older crews) and disappeared into the distance. All boats were
back in the Orwell by mid–afternoon.
River Deben – Dennis and Anne Kell - June 25-26th
The crews of the five boats taking part were joined by the crews of Dream Machine, Spree Three and CiC Captain Alan Jones at an early Club dinner before joining the bidding at the “Auction of Promises” raising funds for the Club’s new website.
In very light winds and under gathering clouds Angel of the Downs, Folie Douce, Half Moon, Keld and Redshank motored down the Orwell the following morning. Passing Lower Reach, the fleet was passed by the MV Balmoral departing Ipswich on an excursion. Built for the Solent Red Funnel Fleet in 1949, she steamed gracefully past with waving passengers as we searched for enough wind to sail.
After a few half-hearted attempts further up the river, the fleet was sailing by the time they crossed the shipping channel and headed north. However, by this time the skies had darkened further and thunder rumbled over Felixstowe. Eventually, the heavens opened and a squall came through, several boats reducing sail quickly.
The wind had eased, the rain had reduced to drizzle and eventually stopped by the time all boats were moored in a group off Ramsholt, enjoying a late lunch or afternoon tea and cake. Curiously, the sound of a cuckoo echoed over the water - as did the sound of inflating tenders.
At the appointed hour of 1830, all crews took tenders ashore to be greeted by the jovial harbour master George Collins, taking fees with one hand and feeding them into the RNLI box with the other. All crews enjoyed an extremely pleasant drink and meal together at the Ramsholt Arms who gave us a table overlooking our moored boats in the setting sun and turned a blind eye to our canine crew beneath the table. By sunset, after a further short cloudburst, we pulled our tenders to the very end of the concrete slip, paddling and motoring off into the night as a heron screeched in the reeds.
Presented with the choice of an early start on the morning ebb or a relaxed start in the afternoon, only Redshank slipped her mooring at 0630. Making the best of the tides, she sailed north to the Orford Light and returned south on the flood in strengthening winds, beating up to her mooring by early afternoon. The rest of the fleet had arrived safely back in the Orwell by late afternoon without incident.
CiC is great way to meet people and for most, the visit ashore at Ramsholt was a new experience. With wide ranging discussion from Jack Russels to Allotments and Border Collies to Brexit, a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all. Thanks to everyone taking part for the good company.
Woodbridge 23-24 July 2016 - Jason Vee
The CiC trip to Woodbridge started on Friday evening with an impressive turnout for dinner at the clubhouse. The fine evening weather and expectation of good conditions over the weekend generated a positive mood and spirited conversation. Nine boats and twenty five crew were confirmed during the skipper’s briefing along with the Tidemill Yacht Harbour entry window, pre-dinner drinks/ dinner arrangements and preferred departure times. The two tables received the briefing in completely different ways – the first needed an impromptu test at the end whilst the second were all ears!
The weather on Saturday morning was outstanding – clear blue and sunny skies with a very light SW wind. Marguerite was the first to leave around 0900 followed by Santana (who had returned from The Netherlands the previous day), Windrush and Freiheit. All had to motor sail initially to counter the tide and light winds and a flotilla like formation was maintained down to the mouth of the Orwell.
The wind picked up around Languard Point which made it possible to sail up to Woodbridge Haven. Windrush immediately switched to race mode which included reducing the resistance caused by wearing upper body garments! Santana was the first to arrive at the Deben bar where she gave way to vessels coming out of the river. She was then forced to stand behind a smaller yacht who had decided to take an ultra cautious (c2 knot SOG) approach to the bar entrance. This resulted in a Deben Bar ‘traffic jam’ as Freiheit, Windrush and 3 other yachts caught up. All had to maintain position against a strong cross-tide whilst waiting for some clear space ahead. Eventually a way past the cautious yacht was found and a stream of boats entered the Deben around 1230. The bar later proved to be a source of entertainment for other members of the fleet with Spree Three once again taking up a pilot role and Marguerite skillfully sailing almost perpendicular to the bar in order to maintain way without engine support.
Conscious of the need to maintain good mooring relations in the Felixstowe Ferry area, Santana handed over a fresh consignment of Amstel to the Harbourmaster whilst underway. She then led the way to Woodbridge and was the first to arrive at the Tidemill Yacht Harbour. With high tide at the marina forecast for around 1530, the rest of the fleet made its way up the beautiful River Deben at a gentle pace. Particular attention was required at Waldringfield due to the number of dinghies racing. All boats arrived safely at the marina by 1630 with Dream Machine mooring briefly in the Woodbridge area so that the family could have a swim.
At around 1800, the group converged for pre-dinner drinks on Lochranza and Spree Three who were moored next to each other. Irene, Jim, Caroline and Marcus kicked the evening off perfectly by providing a wonderful selection of tasty nibbles and a constant flow of drinks. We were also joined by Jan and Leigh as Chevin Star was able to rendezvous with the fleet as part of her summer sail.
Our 1930 dinner appointment at Prezzo arrived too quickly given the entertaining discussion, fine company and sultry evening weather. With choices having been pre-selected via an online menu that required a navigation course of its own, a 125 cell spreadsheet dispatched to the restaurant in advance and 11 separate tabs set up – expectations were reasonably high. On reflection, it would be fair to say that the dinner was eventful – food when it arrived was on the whole good, the staff tried hard to ensure that the dishes went to the right people (aided by some impromptu ‘food traffic control’), much humorous banter was had but the area we were sitting in was hot, busy and noisy.
Most of the group returned to the marina by around 2330 to find an impromptu party taking place on board a powerboat which had made the trip from Brightlingsea. Dr Jones was dispatched to attend to the noise and succeeded in lowering the decibels using an appropriate bedside manner!
Sunday saw a change in the weather with overcast skies and a stronger SW wind. The fleet left in stages determined largely by height of tide over the Tidemill Yacht Harbour sill. Marguerite was the first to leave with Lochranza and Lazy Days bringing up the rear. The Deben Bar proved to be entertaining once again with a 16-20 knot wind requiring boats to punch their way through waves whilst heading for the Woodbridge Haven buoy. Most boats sailed or motor sailed back to the mouth of the River Orwell on the lumpy sea. Conditions at the entrance to the Orwell were very unusual – steep rollers which appeared to be heading upriver (despite the ebb). These led to surfing and occasional cork screwing due to the combination of wind and sea conditions (plus lack of attention by those helming). On the VHF we heard that the Harwich Lifeboat had been dispatched to rescue a blue hulled yacht that was struggling with the conditions. Fortunately, all of our fleet arrived back safely by around 2000 with many boats enjoying a final sail up the Orwell
In summary, this was a really enjoyable trip with the first day definitely having the edge. The weather (on Saturday), crew turnout, sailing, pre-dinner drinks, discussion and sheer energy illustrated why it is great to be a member of this club.
Participating boats and crew on this trip were as follows:
Chevin Star – Jan and Leigh Baxter
Dream Machine – Peter Wright and family
Eastwind – Heidi and Nigel Seary
Freiheit – Jason Vee and Jeffrey Green
Lazy Days – Jill and Clive North
Lochranza – Irene and Jim Grant
Marguerite - Charles Nisbet, Derek and Lynda Simonds
Santana – Julia and Bill Wallace-King
Spree Three - Marcus and Caroline Bucknall with the Patterson Family
Windrush - Allan Jones plus two
CIC to Tollesbury 6-7th August 2016
Bram and Penny van der Have, Athena of Lymington
Chris and Val Hanson, Calidris
Dennis and Anne Kell, Redshank
Michael and Anita Abrahams, Fyrklover
Simon and Georgette Harrison, Folie Douce, Cruise Leaders
A jolly evening was spent in the Ashbury on the Friday night over dinner with the bonus of the company of two crews not able to participate in this cruise; their company was much appreciated. We were also lucky enough to gain the participation of our President and his entourage for the cruise; they preferred the prospect of being stuck in the Blackwater rather than the Ore for the start of a week's cruise with strong winds forecast from Monday.
It was agreed that an 8 o'clock departure on the Saturday would be early enough to catch the last of the ebb, whilst nodding to the fact that it was the weekend, and on the dot Athena of Lymington with Bram, Penny and crew; Calidris with Chris and Val; and Folie Douce with Simon and Georgette, all cast off and proceeded under power to Harwich with a light following wind. From near Pye End a F3 from the west allowed us to sail for three hours. At 1100 off Holland on Sea, there was a growing roar as the new Fyrklover VII, with Michael and Anita holding on tight, came past doing her most economic speed of 20kn, on the plane, with a large white wake created by her 300HP outboard - quite a sight.
The forecast 3 to 4 occ 5 never materialised and we had to motor for the rest of the way over the shallows at the entrance to the River Colne to the Nass beacon, on through Tollesbury Fleet and Woodrolfe Creek, and over the 2.1m sill into the Marina. It had been a hard passage with the sun beating down and not enough wind. Athena went out almost to the Spitway looking for shade and wind but they also eventually had to motor the last few miles in the sun.
Redshank with Dennis and Anne were already away afloat on Friday and so unfortunately missed the pre-CIC dinner. However when we arrived at Tollesbury, they were there in their canoe welcoming the arriving boats which was a very pleasant surprise.
Drinks on board Athena with Bram and Penny proved that the HR 34 with the longer cockpit will seat twelve - see picture. We almost had a room to ourselves in the "Tollesbury Marina Harbour View Bistro" and were looked after very well by the proprietors.
Tollesbury Marina offers tennis and indoor swimming but we were not aware of any of our crews enjoying these passtimes, most opted for a walk.
The forecast for our return on the Sunday was SW 5-7 with more wind on the Monday so we were keen to get over the sill and make best use of the tide up the Wallet. We departed between 1420 and 1500, depending on draft, and opted for genoa alone, or a combination of main and foresail for the run home. The strongest gust we had was just over 30 kn but much of the time it was around 20k from the SW until 1700 when it veered to W, enabling us to sail on the other gybe which we carried until eventually, approaching Levington, the F4 wind headed us and on went the engine.
Calidris arrived back on the club pontoon at 20:15 after a fast five and a quater hour run under genoa alone. Redshank surfed the waves at up to nine knots and having taken a more southerly course out of the Blackwater were an hour later than Calidris. Folie Douce, with their sails' reefing capability fully exercised put in a respectable 5 hours 50 minutes. Fyrklover had to slow down a bit so as not to be bounced around too much and arrived at 17:45 after a three and a half hour passage.
Athena of Lymington were at the start of a windy week away and departed Tollesbury for Bradwell. We hope that they enjoyed the warm weather and found some comfortable sailing during their time away.
The weather was hot over the whole weekend and we loved being able to sail in a F6 in shirtsleaves and sun cream in home waters. Having endured wind blown hail on the first trip this season to Titchmarsh on the way there and on the return, this trip to Tollesbury was a marvellous improvement.
Many thanks to the crews who joined us on Friday for dinner and to all the participants for their company during the rest of the weekend.
CIC to Southwold - 27th - 29th August
6 boats set off from the club on the Saturday with 4 boats finally making it to Southwold. With the winds increasing Zarang took cover in the river Ore to avoid a crew mutiny and Lochranza having left later sensibly decided, in the face of the worsening weather at landguard, to exercise discretion and return home. Spirit had gone ahead on the Friday from the Deben, Fyrklover V11 powered over the waves leaving Spree Three, Folie Douce and East Wind battling their way in pretty lumpy conditions against the strong North Easterly gusting to 30 knots! We were able to all moor up together and after drinks on Spree Three, were warmly welcomed by the Southwold Sailing Club to their Summer BBQ - conveniently only a few yards from where the boats were moored.
Sunday afternoon saw the team walking into town for a most interesting and fact filled tour of the Adnams Brewery with the obligatory tasting of fine ales. The skippers of East Wind and Spree Three ensured that no samples were left untasted!
Most of the crews managed to get a table together in the Harbour Inn for supper after drinks on East Wind. The sail back on Monday was a different story - light winds (but predictably from the wrong direction) and calm seas.
Spree Three - Marcus & Caroline Bucknall & Julie Thorp
Fyrklover V11- Mike & Anita Abrams
Folie Douce - Simon & Georgette Harrison
East Wind - Nigel & Heidi Seary
Spirit - Peter & Gabriel Allen
Lochranza - Jim & Irene Grant
Zaranga - Phil McGoldrick & family
Cruise in Company to Brightlinsea 17th - 18th September
Seven boats eventually signed up for the week end with 15 participants as well as Tobe the dog. Charles Nisbet who was due to sail solo on Marguerite was press ganged on to Folie Douce due to the inclement feisty conditions.
A strong northerly f5 gusting 6 ensured a fast passage down the wallet but the passage up the Colne with wind against tide proved challenging with force 7 gusts and the myriad of dinghies out racing across our bows. Those arriving later with the ebb tide experienced even more challenges with winds gusting 8 and there was damage to Lochranza's genoa. The harbourmaster was most helpful in berthing us altogether and took all lines on arrival.
Pre supper drinks took place on Windrush and the Colne Yacht Club made us very welcome later.
The following day proved much lighter winds and all had a very pleasant sail home.
Cruise in Company October 1st and 2nd - Peter and Sally Wright
The last cruise was not to the Walton Basin as there was maintenance in progress and doubt that
we would be able to get into it. The Walton and Frinton Yacht Club were unable to accommodate
us either for a meal as they had another big function.
Titchmarsh marina became the destination for seven RHYC yachts and a pleasant sunny Saturday
morning enable them to comfortably make the shortish passage and berth before a short deluge of
rain in the afternoon.
All boats returned safely on Sunday managing to beat the tide and strong northwesterly coming
home up the Orwell. Another glorious, sunny October day.
May I finish by quoting part of Charles Nisbet’s email who thanked us for organising and also said,
“…We thought it was just how such a cruise should be: no mad rush to get to the other end and
pour alcohol down our necks, but a real flotilla sail followed by a cheerful, sociable gathering and
And many thanks to Chris Sally and Toby for hosting all of us on Angel of the Downs and providing
delicious nibbles and the environment for so much conversation.
Until next season!
Charles and Jessie “
Dream Machine Peter and Sally Wright
Marguerite Charles and Jessie Nisbet
Caladris Chris and Val Hansen
Windrush Allan Jones and Graham
Freiheit Jason Vee and Mark
Angel of the Downs Chris Nash and Sally Matthews
Athena of Lymington Bram and Penny van de Have