Anyone who enjoys water sports is a hostage to the weather. Sailing can accommodate a wide range of wind speeds, but the direction is all important; if you want to make passage, the wind determines wether this is a pleasure or a slog. So it was today; I really wanted to travel up the coast, but the wind would be “on da nose”, so a different adventure was called for. With the full moon bringing spring tides, a trip to the navigable limit of the rubber Stour was called for. Last year, I sailed with Alice as far as Mistley, but I decided it would be fun tho follow the tide further, to Manningtree. Here we could moor and enjoy a (swift) pint at the local pub.
So it was with guest helm Jeff we set off with wind and Tide behind us. In fact, with staysail and main, we were swept downwind at almost 7kt. This put us in danger off teaching the head of the river before high tide, so we dropped the main and carried on with staysail only.
The channel narrows dramatically near the quay at Mistley and we ghosted past the boats, machinery and heaps of stone on this working quay. It then came time to start up Henry Honda too weave the last mile to Manningtree. We picked our way between the moorings and made a pass of the concrete quay. This confirmed mooring was possible, so we fixed warps and fenders, turned back around and came alongside. We had timed high tide just right, so we had time for a swift pint and some lunch before setting off back downstream.
Reversing our course was easy enough, as we could follow the path of our inbound track and we put sails up on reaching Mistley. As we had run up the river, we now had to beat back down it. We made great time most of the way upwith the starboard tack giving a track nearly directly along the river, with main, staysail and Genoa powering us along.
However, nearing the mouth of the river by the ferry terminal at Parkestone, the wind shifted right on the nose. At this point, I decided discreet was the better part of valour and fired up Henry again. The sun came out as we made our way up the Orwell to the Marina, making for a very pleasant end tho an interesting day.
27.8nm, avg speed 4kts.