Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Experiment with new camera - mud and birds

19-40 hrs: Treated myself to a new digital camera - and spent the afternoon wandering around snapping a few things. The one above is reduced to about 350 KB. The one below is the original - at 2.34 MB. The first  uploaded at the speed I am used to - without making the quality less bad in this page. (What is the brownish-reddish bird?) Much fun to be had now trying to take better pictures!

The bird - zoomed in using a simple picture editor. Impressive stuff!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Walton Backwaters to Woodbridge in one go

19-45 hrs: at home - not really intended today because I was going to pick up a mooring along the river and gross-out in the sun. However - when I got into the Deben- it started to rain quite hard - so I banged on up river with the tide.

All the pictures I took today were out of focus - so I give you one of my cockpit in 'sailing mode' - the bucket has water in it - green rope for moorings - red seat for comfort.

I had to use a useful technique for getting the anchor up - of driving quite hard in a circle to break it out. I then pulled it up together with a load of mud - all over the deck, the anchor, the genoa, my clothes and gloves. But at least the anchor came free.

I left the Backwaters at 8-15 am - with HW at 12-00 at the Deben entrance I thought I would have plenty of time to get in with the tide behind me in the entrance. This was true, especially as I went on a beam reach with all sails up, although the wind was variable and kept dropping away. When progress got slow - I put the engine on as well - with the result that I made fast passage and was at the Deben bouy by 10-30am. Quite tiring because I had to concentrate to avoid the shipping channels from Harwich harbour but it was much less intimidating than crossing the Tyne in a dinghy! 

The tide picks you up and carries you along the narrow entrance - where there are many swirls suggesting banks of gravel beneath. There was no surf - but I can see why it is an entrance to respect. There were a lot of outbound yacghts and motor boats on the wrong side of the channel - - - which made it harder.

And then it rained - and my idea of lazing in the sun for the rest of the day was scuppered - so I continued up the river helped by the tide and getting to Woodbridge before high water there. Spent the rest of the day lounging around in the sun and clearing up - and washing away the mud. I am, of course, exhausted and out of breath - but have had a shower.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Shotley marina to Walton Backwater again.

19-50 hrs: At anchor since 12-30 in the backwaters.

Awsome sail from Shotley - starting on a beat and then round onto a beam reach. Gusts to 25 knots - speeds to 4.8 k against a small amount of tide. 

Needless to say - pretty hard work to keep the boat going well, especially as I thought the wind was quite light so put the full main sail up. Spray over the boat but not into the cockpit. The rest of the day spent dozing in the cockpit - in the sun. A few birds and seals showed themselves and lots of other boats. I even felt a bit hungry - - .

Friday, 23 July 2010

Shotley Marina and Harwich by ferry

19-40 hrs: A 'lay day' hanging out in the marina, the chandler's and Harwich Halfpenny Pier.

All this sailing around does sound very energetic and hardly in keeping with my claims to feel off colour on occasions. Why don't I just stay at home, where I am certainly less challenged in managing breathlessness and indigestion? (Because that is not how I want to live, incase you don't know this).

It seems that I can do things for several hours and keep going to take down sails and the like. Yet afterwards I feel a kind of exhaustion that is hard to describe - not tired exactly - perhaps shaky and I don't feel like eating and feel some queasiness. Nor can I hit the coffee as I seem to have gone off coffee. I am also liable to get extremely breathless - even just moving around the boat. The inhalers  etc relieve it to a small extent - maybe 10%. A rest on the deck aids recovery - preferably in the sun! 

Thus the 'lay day' in Shotley - lunch in the bar - ferry to Harwich to drink tea. A small amount of clearing up - and a visit to the chandlers.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Walton Backwaters to Shotley via some open sea

19-30 hrs: The sea earlier - now snug in Shotley marina - with loos and a shower.

Upped anchor OK at slack water - one reef and full genoa out to sea and up the channel past Harwich. An awsome sail in southerly winds gusting to 23 knots and more - white tops to the waves - but the waves quite small by North East standards. Mostly a broad reach - surfing a little on the waves and then some hard sailing trying to goosewing in shifty winds. A small amount of spray onto the boat - very little into the cockpit. I only really appreciated the wind strength when I turned up into it to take the sails down.  Few hassles getting into the marina lock and the berth - this being a much easier boat to handle than LA Girl. Just as well as I have been exhaused since I got here. Boat speed at best - 5 to 6 knots - which seems very fast for such a small boat.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Walton backwaters: Wednesday 21st July

18-30 hrs: A view from the anchorage - it is not free of boating - -
I am resting up on the anchorage all day - feeling inactive. Sunny this morning - but wind gusting to 20 knots. Cloud and rain this afternoon. I cannot say I have done anything much, apart from clearing up the on-going mess - and browsed in the pilots for the local area and looked at the charts. Some very nice wooden boats have sailed by; a few seals have come over for a look - this is not the centre of activity. It is, however, a very beautiful place and it is no stress to sit it out here.

Felixstowe Ferry to Walton Backwaters - via the Deben estuary entrance. Monday July 20th

18-25 hrs: Leaving the Deben - the swirling water and the gravel banks.

I left at 8-00 - too early for my recent lazy life-style and barely had time for breakfast and coffee.

I see why the Deben entrance is treated with respect. Not that it was nasty - but the tide runs fast and if you get it wrong - - - . Not much wind and no surf so I escaped the river unscathed. No wind at all out at sea - and the tide was against me - so had the sails up and used the engine for most of the way, apart from about half an hour at the end. Anchored by 13-00 in the main anchorage along the river. The wind then came up and has not gone down since - typical. I was very tired after this -  and slept well and the anchor dragged about 10 meters.

Woodbridge to Felixstowe Ferry: Monday July 19th

18-20 hrs: Moorings at Felixstowe Ferry
The tides control sailing here in a way I am still getting used to. High water at 19-00 means that the best time to leave is at 18-30 - or at 9-00 in the morning. The idea is to catch the ebbing tide down river to the mouth of the Deben - about 9 N miles.

I leave at 18-00 - getting bored waiting. I put the sails up on a mooring and chug downstream against the wind and, for an hour, the tide; variable speed depending on the direction of the channel and the tide.

I pick up a mooring at Felixstowe Ferry - with some difficulty because the tide was strong and I tried to do it without taking the sails down. Too much for my strength, even when I did get a rope round the loop. Dropped sail and did it under engine - - .
It felt a bit of an adventure rather than a misjudgement.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Woodbridge at play - regatta day

19-00 hrs: The quayside with lots of people and stalls - and some boats dressed in flags. And mud - the sailing had to wait for the tide to come in - meantime a lot of eating and drinking and making merry. I wandered around - ate too much and finished up watching boats at the sailing club in the sun.

I am planning to leave tomorrow and go down river in LookFar. Then, on Tuesday, to leave the river and go out to sea for a few miles and end up in the Walton Backwaters. I will take the laptop but suspect the connection is too slow for writing blogs - but will try.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Update -

20-50: No picture - sorry - compensates for two last time. Still a lot of wind and rain forecast tomorrow.
I am feeling a lot better. Ups and downs are par for the course. But also I was not taking the medicine in the inhaler - and felt better after taking it again - as advised by the very helpful practice nurse. I am still breathless when I do things like carrying shopping up the stairs, but it seems more bearable now. I have mostly been at home doing work on the U3A website, but have written lists for taking LookFar away for a few days to the Walton Backwaters if the weather improves - and done the food shopping for the Great Expedition. It will probably seem every bit as scary as going to the Shetlands - part of me hopes so.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

umbrellas in rain and sun

In Lerwick - Shetland - in 2007 - with Iris May - in rain. The green umbrella blew away in Wick on the way home - sadly.

In Woodbridge - 2010 - LookFar - in sunshine.

14-20 hrs: Don't think it is sunny in Woodbridge just now! but I thought this summed up the differences rather nicely. We needed two umbrellas to keep the rain off for days in Lerwick - but notice that the town is very attractive in the background and a good time was had inspite of the rain. In Woodbridge last week, by contrast, the small umbrella is an essential sunshade - surrounded by dust and brown grass.

Monday, 12 July 2010

How am I feeling - - -

20-40 hrs:
I have not reported on how my health feels since June 2nd. I had then been feeling very breathless - but had improved a lot after getting  treatment from the GP. I have since then written about all the nice things in life - even work on the U3A website. I have - somewhat typically of my behaviour of late - chosen to ignore the innards when writing here. I did promise myself not to do this - but really old gaffers are nicer and easier to photograph.

I did actually feel quite well for a  while and the  breathlessness reduced after I used a Salbutimol inhaler and took antihistamine. I had a spirometry lung function test in late June - which suggested that I might be reacting to pollen etc and I started on another inhaler. I then rushed around on the river (as reported in earlier blogs), went out again all day Thursday (LookFar does sail well)  and did a lot of web site work - - but got to feel gradually worse - even more breathless, with annoying indigestion. 

And now - - just as bad as the end of last week - - . Have I 'overdone' it in some ghastly way -? And also - I wonder whether, maybe, the effect of the current treatment (vinorelbine) is beginning to wear off. This does not - as you might expect - send me screaming round the bend - who knows why? I have a short review at the hospital on Thursday - so maybe it will make more sense then - but probably not - - .

I don't feel very energetic and intend to keep off the river for afew days.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

for Nick -

12-40 hrs: Probably too many sails - but it looks good. Troublesome Reach on the Deben.

Monday, 5 July 2010

lookFar is out over night - - downriver - - and sailed like a dinghy

21-00 hrs: This is as far as I went - you can just see the gravel bars at the mouth of the Deben. And notice the sunshine and the sparkling waves - caused by a lot of wind and a lot of tide (coming into the river at 4 to 5 knots. ) You will notice the usual junk on the side of my boat!

I took the ebb tide downstream (leaving at  the back of 7-00 in the morning to get out of the marina) - and finished running in the new engine. I then moored up for second breakfast - which took a long time as I managed to get the rudder caught on a mooring. Escape involved removing the rudder and steering with the outboard. (Rudder replaced after much thought and effort, and after the tide had stopped running.)

I went out to the mouth of the river to inspect the moorings, the tides and the waves - I then retreated to another mooring upriver for an overnight stay. Today - I sailed off the mooring and sailed most of the way back (one reef to keep her uprightish) - until the wind was on the nose whichever direction the river headed. I also got the keel in the mud when I was tacking a bit too close in. She points rather well and will sail even better when I fix one or two annoyances - but the dinghy-inspired set-ups worked well.

It is much harder to sail here than anything I have done before - and good fun too.

Friday, 2 July 2010

dinghy fittings and a new engine - -

18-40 hrs: A laser tiller extension and cleats for the genoa on the deck - inspired by dinghies.

New engine - aquired this morning - inspired by liking new engines!
The plan - to run it in on Saturday and Sunday. Then to sail the boat as if it were a dinghy.