Friday, June 29, 2018

A quiet summer...

Yesterday we had the pleasure of meeting Rob & Jo at the Geldeston Locks pub. Rob owns a Storm like ours and helped us work out how to go sailing with Sam way back in 2013. He has also been a reliable source of advice, information and even help with a spanner in the subsequent years.

Last time we met up was exactly two years ago in Piriac and we sailed in company with them for a while, down as far as the Île d'Yeu. Since then Sam & I have sailed about a bit in southern Brittany and got as far as Brest last summer, before giving up and getting someone else to bring the boat home. They sailed down to La Rochelle, decided Biscay was too hot, sailed home, and last year took the boat to the Baltic and got as far as Tallinn in Estonia before heading home. This year they are having a break from sailing, which is extremely understandable given the distance they covered last year. It was lovely to see them.

So I am reminded that our blog is very empty this year...mainly because we haven't done much sailing. I have added an update on maintenance and backdated it to the beginning of June, mainly as a record for me.

On May 18, only a couple of hours after Lindsay had serviced the engine, Guy came down to help us get the sails on... at which point we realised that they were already on. So instead we spent the time drifting gently out into the Orwell with me doing everything and Guy advising. This was practice, because on Saturday May 19, on a day of very gentle breezes, Sam and I set off on an epic voyage on our own. We sailed all the way to the Royal Harwich Yacht Club at Woolverstone, which is nearly three miles from SYH, just upriver. There we called ahead for help and around a dozen members of the Westerly Owners Association guided us into a berth alongside the jetty, and took our lines.

Westerlies at RHYC
We spent a pleasant evening with the WOA celebrating the 50th anniversary of the East Coast Group, and I discovered the showers, which I had never noticed on dozens of previous visits to RHYC by car for CA events. Then on the Sunday we sailed back to SYH, again on our own. Surprisingly there was no-one around on the pontoon, so I really did bring her in solo, fortunately with no problems at all. So, I know I can do it. Now I have to pluck up courage to go a bit further.

I felt a bit frustrated about not being in France or sailing abroad this year. So in early June we drove down to Burgundy and spent a few nights in a very pleasant adapted gîte. We didn't get away from boats entirely, though: we refreshed our memories of the delightful French canals and even looked at some rather nasty motor boats in St-Jean-de-Losne, but we didn't buy any.
Écluse spotted on the drive down. In 2008 we went past the end of this lock but we didn't go through it.

Lunch and a view of the Saône in St-Jean-de-Losne

This is what Burgundy is really about. A walk around the hill at Corton

The lovely Canal de Bourgogne, which we avoided in 2008 because it's silting up and has 189 locks (compared with only 114 on the Canal entre Champagne et Bourgogne)

Last weekend we finally had something like a proper sail. Guy is working again as ferry captain at Orfordness but up to this week has only been working Saturdays. We worked out that we could meet up at SYH on a Friday, sail to Orford, he could go to work on Saturday and sail home with us on the Sunday. There was only one weekend in the whole year when this would actually work out and the tides were at neaps (springs in the Ore can run at 5-6 knots). It meant missing a dinner with my dear old friends from Aviva, and missing the launch of the new Waveney Heritage Centre which I felt very bad about because I had promised my friend Tim that I would sing with him at the opening. But we did it, we went, the wind was on the nose on the way there, but with us most of the way back, and we had a really lovely outing with Guy operating our personal taxi service at Orford (although we didn't try to get Sam off the boat). Hooray!!

Orford seen from our mooring

The River Ore at dawn

A glorious day at Orford Castle

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