Log Entry 18th June 2016

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 !


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