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Broadland and Coastal Cruising Club

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East Coast Cruise 2009

In 2009 it was decided to do a Club coastal cruise. The intention was to go from Gt.Yarmouth to Shotley on the river Orwell and back in four days. Three boats took part, by coincidence , a wooden one , a steel one and a glassfibre one.

We went in the middle of June and departed Gt.Yarmouth at 0945 in a SE force 2-3 breeze. Our first stop was Southwold Harbour where we arrived at 1230.

The next day started bright with a ESE force 2 breeze for our departure at 1045 and our passage to Woodbridge. Everything went well until we couldn't find the Cutler buoy, however we had a straight course and eventually picked out the Woodbridge Haven buoy and turned to steer into the river Deben and made our way to the Tide Mill Yacht Harbour in time to get over the entrance sill, mooring up at 1640.

Looking at the weather forecast for the next day on the Harbour Masters office it appeared we were in for another good passage to our final destination at Shotley.

It started calm and sunny when we departed the Yacht Harbour, taking the ebb down the river Deben to the sea. As we approached Woodbridge Haven and came out of the lee of the land we noticed that the wind had increased, so much so that as we were carried by the strong ebb to the narrow channel out to sea we could see white horses ahead.No chance of turning back as the tide was strong and the channel narrow. The wind was now ESE force 4-5. It was a five mile passage, mostly over the Felixtowe Bank which made the sea very confused with a very steep chop. We were being horribly thrown about until we reached the deep water channel into the Orwell entrance, much to our relief. The wooden craft heeled so much that its keel was visible at one time. However we locked into Shotley Marina before lunch which gave us time to clear up down below.Little damage was done, just a matter of putting items back where they belonged and hosing the salt off the boat. By now the wind had increase to force 5-6 so we were thankful we had made it to a safe haven in time.

The following day the wind was still high so we took the bus into Ipswich for the day. As the forecast was still for high winds over the next couple of days we decided to go further up the Orwell, and a phone call to the Royal Harwich Yacht Club secured us moorings for the night. That evening we had an excellent meal in the club dining room.

Being unable to get the forecast on the coastguard channel we listened into the main shipping forecast and it was looking favourable.

So on our seventh day away we made for home, providing conditions we ok when we reached the sea off Harwich. It was a NE force 2-3 and we turned on a heading of 52deg. at 0945. Although there was quite a swell left over from the previous days it wasn't to bad. That is until a call came through from one of the boats, when we were off Bawdsey, that one engine had gone down. As we had the tide to help us back to Lowestoft he decided he could make it on one engine. Later it transpired that what had thought to be a bearing noise turned out to be a coupling to the outdrive collapsing. As we approached the Newcombe Sand Buoy ready to make for Lowestoft another call on the VHF came through, it was the same boat as before and this time it was the other engine which had stopped. Thankfully he could use his other engine at low speed, to avoid destroying the coupling, and forty minutes later we entered Lowestoft Harbour. Covering 48 Nm. in just under nine hours

Next day we locked through Mutford lock at Oulton Broad and into the yacht station for repairs.

Our trip had taken a total of nine days and covered 143Nm.