Arrived safely in IJmuiden on the 27th June 2016 around 10.30 BST. We had light winds to depart Lowestoft which picked up to between force 4-5 after crossing the shipping lanes and then to force 6 as we approached IJmudiden.
We took the Yankee down before the entrance, and I believe I actually enjoyed the thrill of the deck work and sense of achievement – I felt fairly safe and used a tip from the Humber Life boat crew in that I doubled up the safety line round the jack lines … this not only means that if you fall over the side your likely to hang off the boat above the water line (rather than drown as your dragged through the water) – but if you want to unclip the line you can grab the doubled up line and pull some slack in on the line and then unclip from the harness – easier to demonstrate rather than describe.
The entrance was quite lively and it felt like we surfed in, the crew did not look impressed when I said we were getting a fair ground ride for free. Once passed the entrance the seas calmed and we took the sails down before proceeding to sea port marina.
All in all we had a good crossing but there was a lot of traffic (thank goodness for ais and cpa calculations) and there are more and more obstacles / restricted areas in the North sea – I do look forward to sailing some areas someday that you could actually get some sleep and leave the crew just to watch for the occasional ship.
Feeling quite pleased that so far we have sailed all passages and just used the engine to enter and leave a port.
The plan now will be to sail down the coast to Belgium and France and then back up the English coast.
Hope to visit Amsterdam … not sure if to cheat and take the bus / ferry … its good to have these decisions to ponder far better than the work related decisions of the past 🙂
Well the wind continues to blow SW, and the forecast does not promise much better – so we have decided not to battle the prevailing winds and hope to make a passage accross to the Netherlands, Ijuiden – Seaport Marina – tomorrow. The forcast is for a Westerly wind becoming SW – not ideal but better than on the nose.
Weather wet, and worse still winds South Westerly so will be here a while longer.
Crew remains diligent and ensures the ensign is raised, even if a little late.
Departed Grimsby 06.00 hours bound for River Stour – this years departure was uneventful and we were soon out of the Humber making our way across the Wash. Our conservative sail plan saw a fellow members’ boat Sutton Hoo overtake us, as we made slow but steady progress. There was the threat of some stronger winds in the forecast, however, the reality was the wind dropped and the tide turned as we approached Cromer. Thoughts turned to the possibility of anchoring for some sleep as it was now 21.30, there was still the threat of some stronger winds, and from the North West – so care would be needed. There is a charted anchorage at Cromer so that spot was chosen, it was now dusk but still sufficient light to see. The anchor was made ready, and best efforts were made to avoid the dreaded lobster pots, however, after the anchor was dropped and set in it was noted we were a little close for comfort to one. A call was made that it would be fine as the plan was only to anchor until just before the tide turned when it would be light.
After a couple of hours sleep there were signs the wind was picking up, so common sense said it was time to depart, however, the lobster pots could not be identified, and thus the risk of them fouling the prop was great, that risk was to be balanced with the wind and seas increasing. The point came where the devils hook on the snubbing line kept being thrown off the chain, leaving only the windlass taking the strain, which was slipping and letting more chain out. There was some light in the sky so the process of lifting the anchor began – the bow was rising and falling into the growing seas of the force 5-6. As it dipped some chain was taken in. At this point I need to acknowledge the sterling work of the crew who remained (outwardly) calm attempted to follow my hand signals. Slowly the chain was winched in – the actual amount of chain deployed being unknown as it had slipped and it was difficult to see any of the cable ties marking the length. Then the chain double up on the gypsy and in trying to free it came off completely running out of the chain locker, on the third attempt enough free chain was pulled form the chain locker to get it back over the gypsy before it ran out. It was sole destroying to have to winch in again 3-6 inches at a time, of about 40 + meteres. No fingers were lost and eventually the anchor pulled out and the last 12 metres came up more easily.. the task of man handling the 15Kg anchor through and onto the bowsprit took every last drop of energy. After a rest on deck a welcome drink of water was taken in the cockpit before hoisting the new stay sail, which along with the tide gave us a respectful 6 -7 knots over the ground. Lowestoft now looked a more attractive option, and we arrived at slack water around 10.00 BST, unfortunately no space in the Hamilton dock but a warm welcome was had in the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club. There is not much room to maneuver a long eel yacht, so the opportunity was taken to turn the boats with warps ( a skill shown to us by a fellow member of HCA, Neville), ready for an easy exit.
There was only one thing to do before hitting the bunk for some proper sleep – a safe arrival drink !
After what has seemed like an eternity we are ‘nearly’ ready to depart on this years adventure – just the small matter of a favorable wind. Thursday evening looks a possibility. If your reading this message on Facebook then we have succeeded in putting a system in place which allows a post to be made from our blog via HF radio using Sail Mail 🙂 Alas pictures would take too long to transmit.
At 13/06/2016 18:01 (utc) our position was 5334.70’N 00004.06’W
Back in the water, where boats should be. All polished and antifouled. Having a safe launch drink onboard, on a lovely evening in Grimsby. Just need a favourable wind and tide and our 2016 adventure shall begin.