Friday 25th/Saturday 26th April
Living in Stourbridge, I felt we had to have another sail in the *other* Stour (or “stoor” as the locals pronounce it). So, when Alice asked for a “sleepover” on the boat, it seemed like a good choice. With the wind from the South, it would also provide good sailing. We set out in mid afternoon with Alice at the helm, but with little wind, we were forced to motor into a glassy Felxistowe docks.
Turning from the Orwell into the Stour, Alice demanded to have the sails up, so we drifted on the flood tide up the river. Passing Parkestone dock, we were passed by the ferry to Hook of Holland. It came within a few boat lengths of us and I started the outboard, expecting to have to motor across its wake, but I needn’t have worried; its hull must be a very efficient shape because it produced barely a ripple.
As the tide slackened, we slowed down and admitted defeat, starting the engine once more and motoring to Wrabness point. I had intended to anchor there, but there were plenty of free moorings, so I picked one of those up instead.
We passed a peaceful night, though first mate woke me early; “dad, can I have breakfast now?” No sooner had that been consumed, Alice was eager to get underway. Not wishing to blunt such enthusiasm, we were soon sailing off the mooring.
There was no shortage of wind this morning and Alice helmed again as we shot along towards the head of the river. There was less wind up-river, visibility was poor and the wind variable. A suitably misty Mistley made the furthest extent of this voyage, as we were too early in the tide to continue to Manningtree, which is only accessible at the top of the tide.
The return trip was a close reach, increasingly fast, until I dropped the main sail and turned into the Orwell on engine and staysail. Conditions were quite challenging as we left the shelter afforded by Harwich and the wind had clearly built up during the morning. There was considerable swell caused by wind over tide and I was glad to be travelling “downhill”, surfing down the backs of the waves. Entry back to Suffolk Yacht Harbour was challenging, but Aurora was soon safely on her trailer and in receipt of some well earned scrubbing, before her trip home tomorrow.
Distance travelled 21.2nm. Average speed 3.5kt