Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Two Good Days

Tuesady, 31st July 07

As the sun set yesterday a veil of gossamer cobwebs streaked horizontally from the mast and rigging; a large white moon lifted above the southern horizon. Night was not as peaceful as I had hoped, but whenever I woke and glanced around there was beauty in the moonlight.

Up early as usual I listened to the shipping forecast and after breakfast we were away with the last of the ebb. I was surprised that a huge barge carrying a crane and a new north cardinal buoy overtook me on the way to lay the sea mark. There was very little wind, just a NE force 1 that saw us close-hauled. Shortly after 0800 we passed the Sunken Buxey Buoy near Foulness Sands where a dozen seals lay contented on the beach. A beautiful black and cream smack with a blue and white topsail overhauled ‘Faith’ and her girl crew asked permission to take a photo of the little boat.

By 0900 the wind petered out as the flood was intent on sweeping us back to Burnham; therefore I dropped the hook to await the anticipated sea breeze. An hour and a half later a large blue cargo ship with a white superstructure passed to the north and a gentle wind came in from the South East which meant we were on the wind again. Taking advantage of ‘Faith’s’ shallow draught I laid a course for the Buxey Beacon to the north and at the same time the wind came in from behind. Shortly before half eleven we were within a quarter of a mile of the lattice structure. Beyond lay the entrance to the River Colne and Brightlingsea could clearly be seen. Some anchored fishing boats were on our course.

At 1340 I anchored at Mearsea Stone for a break and refreshments, but an hour and a half later I moved because there was only 5 feet of water and a small rapid developed as the ebb made itself felt. With only a scrap of sail ‘Faith’ ran up river to the entrance of Pyefleet Creek where I again set the anchor, but in sufficient depth to allow us to remain afloat. Many yachts passed us on their way into the Creek and after my evening meal one anchored almost on top of ‘Faith’s’ anchor. I just hope we do not collide during the night.

Wednesday, 1st August 07

The anchorage on the River Colne became peaceful, but despite this I had a restless night and at 0430 I noticed a yellow Snapdragon 23 dragging her anchor; therefore I shouted “Ahoy” several times before a sleepy young man emerged from the cabin. He very quickly re-laid his anchor and disappeared below but not without thanking me for my warning.

There wasn’t a drop of wind, but the last of the tide was ebbing so I took up my anchor and used the yuloh to take ‘Faith’ with the current. Two hours later we were not far from the Colne Point buoy when a gentle wind came in from the SW which very soon backed to the SE. Progress was non-existent because the flood tide began to sweep us back into the River Colne. There was no way we were going to reach the Walton Backwaters and the only alternative was to drift with the current towards Bradwell Power Station where we arrived near the outfall at 1125. I decided to call into the Marconi Sailing Club for drinking water and on the way I followed the line of the perches marking drying mud at low water springs.

There was a lot of activity at the Sailing Club because hundreds of youngsters were sailing lightweight colourful dinghies such as Picos and Toppers. As I pulled into the new jetty many willing hands attended to my needs and the water was aboard in a few moments after which ‘Faith’ drifted with the current to anchor in time for lunch. It was really enjoyable in the summer sun watching many dinghies sailing to and fro.

When I had finished my afternoon snooze I made sail for a freshening wind that developed into a force 3 from east by south which meant ‘Faith’ was on the wind towards Bradwell where I intended to anchor in the lee of Pewit Island. I had a difficult moment near the north shore when ‘Faith’ would not tack; therefore I ran the boat before the wind and brought her round on the starboard tack which made it easier to reef. On the dot of 1630 I set the anchor in 15’ of water off Pewit Islalnd. I judged that depth of water would mean we would remain afloat.

As I type this I’m well fed and the wind has dropped altogether. It’s really peaceful here. The sun is reflected off the water to starboard and the birds on Pewit Island are making their characteristic trilling call..

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