Cruising Activities at RHYC
CIC Reports for 2020
As a result of COVID the early part of the programme had to be abandoned, but with restrictions being lifted, the programme
got back into full swing with great turnouts – and several new boats – including the Commodore for the first outing.
Following are reports of the various events.
Walton 19th/20th September
Many of the crews of the ten yachts signed up for this cruise attended a Covid spaced dinner at the RHYC on the Friday evening.
There had been a certain amount of banter on the WhatsApp group for this cruise which set the tone for the weekend. The
forecast was for wall to wall sunshine and that is what we got; wonderful and quite warm for September. The wind however
might have put off some, us included, if we had not been on a CIC which often provides that little extra encouragement.
The Inshore Waters Forecast of NE 4 to 5 occasionally 6 was spot on. We sailed off at 09:30ish and the first casualty,
with an overheating engine, dropped out less than a mile from the Club. When eventually diagnosed as a faulty impeller,
it was too late to make the gate at Walton Basin, a great shame.
Sunken Pye Channel was quite rolly with the following F5 to 6 wind and swell; at least one puppy, on his first CIC, disgraced himself in his quarter berth at the “dog leg” but, showing great pluck for one so young, agreed to crew for the return trip. This return passage enjoyed slightly lower winds. However it was still from the NE and now on the nose, which caused rather violent pitching with high spray as we motored against tide, making slow progress out towards Pye End. Directly the depths allowed, we turned our bows towards Harwich and enjoyed a lovely sail across Dovercourt Bay and up the Orwell on the sunny Sunday afternoon. Our only motor boat wisely decided to avoid the waves in Pye Channel and returned home on the Monday in much more favourable conditions.
Hospitality at the W&FYC was as warm as usual and the food excellent. Most of us made our annual pilgrimage on foot or bicycle to the Naze Tower on Sunday morning. After a quick lunch, we left the Basin over the gate at about 13:30, with the green flag flying.
Orford 5th/6th September
Four boats left the club in a westerly F5, Portia and Bluefin meeting Madicken on her mooring just by Clamp House.
Bluefin led the charge up to the the bar, kindly waiting for the others to catch up the 20 minutes that she had
gained owing to skilled helmsmanship/waterline length. The Ore entrance left us lots of depth and we crossed both
ways without mishap. Nushaba had to return to the Orwell with engine trouble on the Saturday morning, but we Joined
Morning Star, who had come down from Aldeburgh.
COVID restrictions failed to dampen a lovely sunny evening: the crews went ashore in their 'jolly boats' (as Madicken's rubber dinghy is affectionately known) and met up in the Jolly Sailor for supper – a convivial get together enhanced by the arrival of the Bloor family, who carelessly forgot to bring Columbine with them.
Similiarly good conditions gave the fleet a good start to the sail home on the Sunday, Madicken getting a half hour head start to beat downriver against the flooding tide, only once testing the depth on the way. The wind dropped off after leaving the bar to head south and iron topsails were deployed by all to avoid being pushed backwards out to sea. Bluefin gained so much time she managed to perform a rescue on a disabled motorboat - Madicken got the memo late and was the last to return to her mooring at dusk.
Woodbridge (Not) 22/23rd August
A shoreside recce on Friday afternoon from Felixstowe ferry, combined with the forecast for Saturday, decided that the cruise
to Woodbridge would be replaced by an impromptu BBQ in the vicinity of the Club in the evening to make the best of the
weekend. Shifter did go out in the afternoon and decided that with “3 reefs in the main and a small genoa” she was still
overpowered so probably a good decision.
Roughs Tower: 1st August
Coffee on the lawn and a departure reminiscent of an old style Le Mans grand prix start saw the fleet of 12 yachts heading
down the river with a good following wind. Ability or otherwise at raising cruising chutes saw the fleet spread out going
through the harbour before passing the Yacht beacon, when every-one hardened up to make the turn round the Roughs tower
against the tide, with the fleeter of foot heading home into the distance. Notwithstanding the “C19” restrictions in
place, spreading out on the lawn we were able to enjoy a sociable supper and evening (32 people there) meeting up after
weeks of isolation and meeting new members / CIC “novices”.
CIC Reports for 2019
Bradwell not Orford - 17th September
Holland - 19th July
Friday 19th July early morning saw Spree Three, Bluefin and Keld set off for Lowestoft in lightish winds. An uneventful sail up to Lowestoft where we met up at the RNSYC with Islay who had pre-positioned earlier in the week for the crossing to Den Helder. Saturday morning brought fresh winds from the south west so off we set at quite a pace. However a new gale force warning issued an hour into the trip saw the fleet return to Lowestoft as conditions on Sunday looked more promising. Arrival at Den Helder early the next morning saw us lock into the Willemsoord harbour, for a day of rest and sightseeing at the excellent ship museum. A motorsail on Monday alongside the Afsluitdijk dyke allowed the crews to practice communications with flag signals - possibly not all messages being internationally recognizable. The high temperatures temporarily caused the Lorenzsluisen bridge to malfunction Fire engine attendance with a large pump solved the problem and on to Hindeloopen. A large marina (with a good chandlery) but we had a delightful barbecue site close to the boats for supper - setting the theme for the holiday with everyone chipping in to communal meals (brilliantly coordinated by Lily Benbow and Heidi Seary) in lovely settings. 19th July
Predictions of good winds slightly petered out by Friday AM, but Spree Three and Somerset Lady set off at 04.00 to meet up with 3 other participants based in the Orwell (from the Colne YC and Wivenhoe SC) at Shotley spit at 05.00, With the wind faint from the west, it was a motor to the “start” at Long Sand Head(LSH) where the other 7 boats that started at Brightlingsea joining up. The rally’s main objective is to help newcomers to the North Sea crossing to make the passage in company, rather than a formal race, an objective achieved again. By the time we reached the main TSS the wind was dying so
on with the engines for the tail enders and time for lunch! Spree Three’s crew kept busy ship spotting to see if we could find a ship which they actually insured - to no avail. The boats that had rounded LSH slightly earlier however managed to hold the wind almost the entire way into Ostend. The RSNYC welcomed the fleet of 12 boats, and with their new pontoons, all were able to comfortably berth in close proximity. Police checks on passports completed Spree Three and Somerset Lady found an excellent restaurant close by (l’enfant terrible - Nieuwstraat) for a late supper.
Saturday evening saw a large get together at the RYCO club house, with several prizes awarded in a very light hearted manner.
After a slightly delayed start on the Sunday, the return leg started off on the motor but by late morning the wind freshened from the north east, so engines off and a cracking sail back to the Orwell .
A great way to do the crossing - particularly for “first-timers” and a very sociable event - to be repeated next year. It is also a good starting point for a European cruise, and indeed the timing usually occurs a week before the Round the Island race, with 2 of the participating boats entering this year.