Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Aretia is back on Freshwater.

With the fine weather window we had over the bank holiday, it was a good time to start the trip back to Nottingham. With a good forecast, spring tides, and just enough daylight it seemed like a good idea to take the Jaguar 22 into the Wash and to in to the port of Boston. For once, my god for once, the plan actually worked.!
The overall plan is to take Aretia from Boston up the River Witham to Lincoln then on to the Fossdyke Navigation before finally joining the Salty section of the River Trent before heading to Nottingham. At Nottingham Aretia will be dragged out and taken by road to Langar Marina.
From Wainfleet Ditch to Boston is approximately 10 miles. A 3 hour trip along Boston Deeps and then anchor off Tabs Head in Clay Hole. The trip covered the full length of the Wash from the Steeping River to the Witham.
So on Bank Holiday Monday it was an early rise 0400am to get out by 0530am. We weren't the only ones. Pride was making a journey to Grimsby and FV Challenge was on it's way to do some surveying off the Bombing Range at Friskney.
The weather forecast was for F3-4 NW dropping. Obviously we hit F4-F5 SW. But hey localised must have been conditions. We headed out over the channel after being overtaken by Challenge and waved off by Sammy the Seal. Pride followed us as we headed in to the wash on their way to the Parlour Channel. We were on a tight reach touching 5knts and having to reef down the Genny, with much more and the main would have had to been reefed. John helmed most of the leg whilst I concentrated on the charts and working out which navigation marks were actually missing (plenty). One thing it was, was bloody cold. almost like an October morning rather than August Bank Holiday. After an hour the sun started to come through and we could make out Boston Stump.
With John at the helm as he doesn't like popping below decks 'sea sickness and all that' time was made for breakfast and a cup of sludge.
Following the navigation marks made the pilotage pretty easy. Past the Freeman Channel there were several other boats coming out of Boston. A couple of sailing and also a few motor cruisers, including Antigua whom we moored against over in Wells.
After coming in to Clay hole we dropped the 'pick' in 7m of water and settled in for 6hours. The whole Boston fishing fleet seem to bomb past plus also another 10 boats coming out from the Witham.

After a cooked breakfast, a spot of fishing, a beer, read of the paper and a little sunburn it was time to drop the mast. This all went pretty well and eventually we got this strapped to the boat. I wouldn't fancy doing this in much more wind.

The entrance to the Witham is all fairly straight forward, the only thing to catch you out getting to the first 'pen' at Grand Sluice Lock. Basically 3 hours before HW you can make your way over the bar at the entrance to Tabs Head. Tabs Head basically splits the Witham from the Welland and the tide as you can imagine does like to push you a little closer than you may wish. After that it's all deep water. Big container ships, but deep water. You then have an hour to get to the sluice prior to the lock closing over HW for 4 hours or more. Obviously we just scraped in literally by the skin of our teeth. The lock gates were closing as we were going through.

After mooring up in Boston it was off home. Returning in a couple of weeks to make our way up the Witham.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Possibly on for a Cheaky one on Monday.

The weather is looking promising. The tides are OK and enough crew to set sail. Bet it goes foggy! Chris.

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Friday, 3 August 2007

Sailing in the Sun!

Well it's been a good few days at the coast. Unfortunately due to circumstances out of their control the regular gang couldn't make this week so alternative crew volunteered (press ganged). Wednesday it was off for one a 'tide run' with a 6.6m tide and some day light left, we whizzed out for a quick jaunt off along Wainfleet Roads. Having arrived in good time the tide was a little slow making an appearance but managed an hour or so out of the channel. Julie volunteered for this one, well the Pimms anyway. Good weather, a little wind and Sammy the Seal putting in an appearance. Julie on the Pimms On the way back in, having just managed to get in with the last of the daylight. Having driven back to Nottingham on Wednesday night it was back to Skeg, for 07.00am. A high tide of 7.1m meant that in theory there was quite a lot of scope in getting out of the creek. The weather was forecast as being ideal, so a passage plan was made for a trip up the coast. The only trouble with a 7m+ tide is that at stages you struggle to get to the boat and the surrounding wetland is under water. The forecast was for a F3-F4 from the NE. So out we went, up the coast towards Skeg. and the Centrica Windfarm. They are currently in the process of laying cables from the beach, but luckily not that day, as there is a 1mile exclusion zone around the working barge UR101. Caught inside this perimeter and it's a royal bollocking and a fine! Up past the Windfarm the wind hit a F4, so I reefed the Genoa just to keep the boat under control, well making it easier for 'Dave to helm anyway'.

Dave at the Helm!
No point reefing the main as it's a little like a sieve and lets more wind through it than it catches. I made 4knts going windward whilst at the helm, Dave only managed 3.7knts. By 1300 we'd made Mablethorpe where Ian Martin was surveying. It was a spin around and back down the coast, with a target of being at the Fairway 2hr prior to high water. The wind was variable and had veered to the SE, before picking up to a very steady F3. a great tight reach topping 4knts again. Approaching Skeg just after low water it's quite remarkable how steep the shoreline is. No wonder the currents are so strong. Sneaking back along the roads it was time to anchor of the Swatchway. No easy job on your own with a 2.5knt tide running. I'd already dropped the Main and furled the Genny along with prepping the Anchor just in case I touched bottom in the Roads. I put the engine in to tickover heading in to tide and dropped the pick. Boy did it grab. Once secure and having checked the GPS/transit for any dragging it was time for a little grub and finish packing the boat up. Whilst waiting for the tide to surge in to the creak the Sunset was cracking. Having made our way back in to the creak a slight technical issue occured with a tree becoming stuck between the outboard and rudder, meaning Aretia was shooting past the mooring. So having removed the offending 'Beech' it was time for a handbrake turn, otherwise known as ramming the bow in to the bank to spin the boat. Finally having strapped the ship to the mooring it was off to the pub. With all the rain recently and the high tide the jetty has taken a bit of a battering. In fact the new section added this year was now not supported as the mud had all been washed away. A job for the morning. Friday. A great start to the day, fixing the jetty then out for a quick spin prior to returning to the mooring. Hopefully a few more trips still possible before we bring the boat back to Nottingham via Boston, the Witham, Lincoln and the Trent.

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