Waldringfield to Cuba then back to Waldrinfield and on to Melton

Left Kornog in Waldringfield and went on a family holiday to Cuba, they seem to love Castro and Che, cycling in the heat and humidity, I enjoyed it more in retrospect, but Cuba is amazing, very Latin American, not at all Carribean.

A week or so at home waiting for Neaps to pass, the earliest I could get into Melton (great sausage rolls from the butchers at Melton station) was the 15th September. Patrick came with me and we had a good time for a day. We spent a fair amount of time in the Maybush Arms. I have no picture, stupidly, of the dingy near the pub.  the toilet in the boat won’t pump in water, so that needs fixing. Patrick and I took out the reefing lines and, as per last year, lost one mousing line as we were threading it into the boom, will have to sort out the reefing next year, we also took the sails down and put them, very untidily, into the bags, they will be valeted and stored for us.

Patrick and I took the dinghy up river to Melton to scout out the route to Larkman’s yard where Fred was due to pull us out the next day. Good job we did as the route is difficult to follow and we ended up with less than 1ft of water below the keel at the yard the next day. We also managed to go aground in the dinghy.


Here is Kornog being lifted. The “weed”, I was told by Mark in Waldringfield, is, in fact, a type of shrimp that has infested the river Deben this year and has probably caused the intake blockage for the toilet. I scrubbed around the engine intake with a broom before starting the engine and had no cooling issues on the way up river.

Patrick and I then stripped the boat of everything that could be moved (we had got a taxi back to Waldringfield to pick up the car and say goodbye to Mark) and brought it all home in the car.

A very short season but very eventfull. Next season will be longer legs I think and I will need help. No news from the boat I hit in Ramsgate, except for an initial phone call, I have no idea how that will pan out.



Deben River 12th August 2016

Tonight is the night, apparently, for viewing the meteor storm, Last night was crystal clear so it looks good.

The omens for the trip here from Wrabness were less good, the weather forecast was for strong winds and they seemed correct when I set off, Although it soon calmed down, the crossing of the shipping lane was tricky, being very busy.

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I did get across safely but the wind was picking up and I was likely to be early at the entrance to the Deben, HW-2 being what I was aiming for.

Made it OK and up the channel, although it was a bit blowey and even got very shallow in places, too near the bank, although it didn’t look like it at the time, the river being so wide. A Hoby cat or similar was having great fun in the wind, a bit energetic and wet for me though.

Hated Waldringfield when I got here. The pilot said the beach was hard but it was full of mud when I left the pub after a very mediocre meal and one pint of Adnams (Southwold) bitter . The visitors dinghy left on the mooring had very poor rowlocks / oars which popped out when the going got tough. I stupidly decided to row and the wind and tide changed 180 degrees while I was having my mediocre dinner (pulled pork burger, which was mostly a pork and apple burger with a tiny bit of pulled pork). Found myself in the bottom of the dinghy at one point thinking that the trip to Kornog would never end. It did though and I got on board safely, although a bit damp and very muddy.

The next day changed my mind, I put the engine on the dinghy to get ashore, was lent an ordinance survey map by the boatyard, walked to Woodbridge and then on to Melton and found a place to over-winter the boat, assuming Wisbech in the Wash can’t do it, The Larkman yard would be my choice if I can get there, about half the price or less than Lowestoft.

Nice walk, but about 12 miles, so I am knackered. Michael will pick me up tomorrow and I will leave the boat in the capable, hopefully, hands of Mark until I return after a holiday in Cuba.

Then Michel may come with me to put the boat to bed for the winter. I still need to phone Wisbech to see if they can take Kornog, which would be better as it is slightly further North, although the Larkman yard looked nice and the guy in charge, Fred , was very helpful.

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Pictures showing early morning at Waldringfield and the walk up to Woodbridge (low tide), plus, a little bonus here, evening back at Waldringfield.

Looks like the engine may be leaking diesel. I found about 200 ml of diesel in the sump below the engine. It looks like it may be coming from the fuel bleed screws above the fuel filter, the ones Richard kindly bled the fuel with, many moons ago, in Hayling Yacht Co. Both screws were tight so I’m not sure what I can do, just keep an eye on it, if the engine has been running for over 40 hrs it is not so bad,but I shall get it looked at over the winter, just another reason why the Deben River pissed me off last night.

Wrabness 09 August 2016 (Up the River Stour from Hawich)

Waiting on a call from Virgin Mobile to sort some stuff out. Meanwhile it has been getting a little rocky (as in moving about) out here within the last 10 mins.

I left Shotley at around low tide (10:00hrs) The HM asked me to go to the waiting pontoon but then thought I wanted diesel The same pontoon. Just in front of me was Colne Clipper, a nice old boat whose berth I had in Brightlingsea. When he was told that I did not need diesel the HM let me straight into the lock, obviously I was much smaller than the Colne Clipper, unfortunately I was all geared up for port side too, but there was no room on that side so he swapped me to starboard and said he would help as I was by myself. Managed OK with his help (with a big boat hook) and eventually got enough fenders and warps arranged, then off, I went up river.

Turned left past the lock markers and motored gently up river in the sunshine, past the Harwich ferry terminal. I picked up a buoy at Wrabness point and am now rocking a touch more than gently, waiting for this phonecall. On the opposite bank is the Royal Hospital School, with its prominant tower, and in the picture you can see a green buoy called Lee.


Lovely bay, I will pump the dingy up after my phone call, or if it comes very late, do it tomorrow and visit the community shop and cafe, the only exciting thing in the village. Not even a pub.

Very close to shore in 6m of water so I should be safe enough depth wise. I couldn’t get on the first buoy so chose a second with ropes on, which I used to pick-up the buoy but have used my own ropes to moor. I hope that this is not a private buoy with the ropes, but my pilots say nothing about private moorings.

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Pictures of the Wrabness side of the river.

It’snow 10th August and I had a disturbed nihjt, the bouy I was on was very noisy and I had to get upand pull it comletely out of the water, easier said than done, I also had a halyard banging against the mast, which was easily fixed, then back to bed.

Up the next day and blew up my clean dinghy for a trip to Wrabness and the community shop

Lovely morning and a nice walk past All Saints Church (every village church is called “All Saints for some reason) and it’s bell tower. I met a couple of old boys walking their dogs on the “beach” who showed me where to go and said that the beach used to have two ft of sand on it, but it is all eroded away leaving mud and rocks.

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Morning view from the boat and Kornog at anchor


Bell Tower (complete with bell, no idea if it works)

Spent 2 hrs at the Community shop reading Private Eye (18 months old) with a cup of tea, waiting for the milk to arrive. I was told a different way back by another old boy, this time past Grayson Perry’s house, along a bit of the Essex Way.

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and then home on the dinghy, which was now muddy from my feet. It rained but is sunny again and getting hot.

Booked a berth for 4 weeks in River Deben (visitor berth #27 complete with complimentary tender.

Harwich for the Continent, Frinton for the Incontinent

Originally we had planned to go to Titchmarch Marina ( not many flowers I believe) but we were late leaving Brightlingsea, we had forgotten that we could not get out of the river at low tide, even so we managed to run aground very near the first pontoon, as did another boat, we were both towed off by the harbour master, good job he had finished getting the ferry out of the mud, so no embaressment required. The bottom line is that we missed the flood tide and the pilot book warned of very strong ebb tides, which we would get if we tried to go up the river, as much as 6 knots against us in the third hour, which is more than the boat can motor at, so a bit of a looser then. i was also abit worried about the amount of diesel we had, although as it turned out, when we filled up the ws a good 20 litres left.

Made a wise choice and went to Shotley Marina, on the Suffolk side of the River Stour opposite Old Harwich and also opposite Felixstow, the biggest container harbour in the UK and no room for Yachts.


Nice marina, although we had to enter via a lock which was OK but we had to wait our turn for

about 40 minutesIMG_4566 IMG_4569 IMG_4572Inside the marina all was calm but waiting outside was rough as hell, although the views were nice enough.

We took the ferry the next day across the River Stour to Old Harwich, which was very small but lovely, I have no idea what the ferry port Harwich is like.

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There is a listed cinema.



There are two lighthouses a short one, now a museum, and a tall one.

Trinity house have their base here thanks to Samual Pepys, who was MP for the area and head of Trinity, hence the last manned lightship LV18 is here.


Built in 1958 and decommissioned in 1994, it was used for a brief scene in “The Boat that Rocked”. Judging by the quarters, it is not a job I would have wanted. No engines on the boat but a few generators to start each other and run the light and foghorns etc. They were really off limits but the guy with the egg sandwhich showed me the Gardner generators.

There is an award winning beach in Harwich


I shall try to go up river to Wrab Ness tomorrow but also need to find somwhere to overwinter.

Filled the boat with water and diesel and bought some pasta . Also cleaned out the dinghy and did  a small bit of sanding the toe rails to even the bumps out, caused by injudicial use of the belt sander, and also to tke off the remaining varnish from last year.

Frinton is not far south of Harich but we didn’t go there ,  No harbour for a start, as far as I know.

Ian left to go home today

Aug 2nd Queenborough to Burnham on Crouch and then Onwards to Brightlingsea

Ian Little has joined me. Originally from Glasgow I worked with him when I left university in Aberdeen for a defunct company called Amoco, since taken over by BP for whom Ian worked until retiring this year.


I have sailed previosly with Ian in my first boat “Lady Liberty” in the Canaries and we also hired boats a couple of times on the West Coast of Scotland.

We sailed from Queenborough to Burnham on Crouch, which proved to be a nice sail initially but a real pain slogging up the river to Burnham against the tide and waves and wind. Made it to the marina but failed to get into the berth alloted initially as we were blown off by the wind, so the harbour master put us on the first available finger we could get into, which was fine. They were firing, what looked like incendiary artillary on the firing range as we approached the Crouch River, at least there was a huge short lived fire-ball near the twin towers target.

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Nice Art Deco boat club and saw an egrit. Also saw a seal in Brightingsea. Nice houses in Burnham, looks expensive.

Had a nice meal in the White Harte Hotel and visited the museum the next day. Also saw Prior’s boat yard where Charles’s boat Blue Saluki was built in 1964.


It was very windy during our stay. I had ordered a new wind mast head instrument and picked it up from the chandlers at the marina, although I didn’t fit it, too much wind to go up the mast, although I refitted the read out instrument which gives speed but not direction. This is probably enough for now, I am in no rush to fit the mast head unit as wind speed is enough and you can tell the general wind direction from the manual arrow, so a bit of a waste of money but I will fit the unit sometime.

Not much to say about Burnham. We sailed on to Brighlingsea, which has a nice accessible pontoon, although I did fall in the river Colne, my life jacket worked but I had to pay to get it rebuilt. Morgan’s Marine did it for me, although it wasn’t much cheaper than buying a new lifejacket. They did it so badly it would never have gone up, not packed back up and the trigger broken. incompetant and very dangerous. Took it to Dansen Marine in Sidcup in th e middle of august

Colchester was nice, we went the 9 miles by bus and saw the castle from the ouside but missed the museums because I had to do my laundry and get a new phone, 5 minutes they said to activate it and I am still waiting 8 hrs later, maybe 24 woud be more like it. I am still waiting for it to be activated after 18 hrs, finally got it sorted a couple of days later.

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Off to Walton Backwaters tomorrow, altough the marina does not look easy to navigate to the course is all ready. We will lave at 09:30.

Ramsgate 24 July 2016

Managed to mangle the back of the boat getting fuel in Dover- lesson – always go stern to wind. I should have learnt my lesson as the wind took the bows again in Ramsgate and I could do nothing.

The trip to Ramsgate was nice, close inshore, not to bouncy and, eventually everything I needed in the cockpit, I have now got a check list so I won’t get caught out again, (if you don’t have your auto pilot ready to go you can’t leave the helm), foresail up with a following wind and bright sunshine. All the bouys coming up clearly and quick as the tide carried me. I must check the chart plotter log and I  note that as the usual log seemed to reset at 100 miles and was significantly wrong. The trip meter, now reset on the GPS said 185 miles , which may be correct. Will start again now

Getting into Ramsgate was a bit like a simple Dover. Call the Port Control and then onto the marina, where the engine died on me and the strong wind blew the bows into another boat, bending their pushpit, hopefully that is all the damage. Altogether a bit of a disastrous day, but you live and learn ( and pay for your mistakes, although I haven’t yet seen the owner of the boat I hit, a rather scrappy Sigma)

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I went into town to the tourist information. Ramsgate only has a nautical museum, closed on Mondays. When asked what was there else to see in Ramsgate I was told,”the architecture on the front”, and that was it, I’d seen it, so I walked North to Broadstairs, the museum there didn’t open ’till 14:00 hrs so I walked home.  It’s not far. Nice walk though, and I quite liked Broadstairs, including the lift to Viking bay. Charles Dickens seemed to have lived in every house and wrote some or all of Great Expectations, Nicholas Nickalby and Barnaby Rudge. Saw the real Bleak House, now a hotel, and numerous Old Curiosity shops and pubs of the same name.

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Another day in Ramsgate, to see the nautical museum and the museum in Broadstairs then to Queensborough in the Medway on Wednesday.

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Ramsgate might be about Greenwich +5 mins, Littlehampton was Greenwich -100yrs

The museum was very keen on showing a Dunkirk small ship “Sundowner”

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Also back to Broadstairs

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Broadstairs beach stairs ( I never used the lift)

Cramton Tower Museum was good if you like toy trains (Hornby moved to Broadstairs from liverpool) and Victorian engineering (Crampton did loads with steam trains, tunelling machines etc – ahead of his time by far) 21st Aug 2016 there is an old bus day. Well worth a visit if you like old buses and the weather is fine.

Ramsgate week saw a week long regatta, so the harbour was full, and some art on the harbour wall (the words as per the lighthouse in dayglow, covered at high tide – I failed to get a photo)

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“Refuge for those in trouble”

Next it was on to Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey. Initially it was wind behind with only the foresil up (too windy for 2 sails), then head to wind and motoring along Thames Estuary – lots of sandbanks and wind farms. Then the wind eased a bit as did the point of sailing, the sun came out and I had a lovely sail with two reefs in the main and a full foresail.

Getting into the Medway was fun, the big ships channel, which I crossed was well marked but suddenly there were more buoys than you could shake a stick at and a big sunk freighter in the middle.

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There is not much in Queenborough since they demolished the castle 300 years ago, even getting back to Greenwich appears to be difficult. Will get a cheap swinging mooring for 5 days and do my stuff at home.

Dover End July 2016

I came back to Brighton and the boat with Ronan. There were no trains from Maze hill into town and when we got to Victoria there were no trains for 2 hours to the Sussex Coast. Fuckin’ morons.

Ronan didn’t seem to enjoy his trip , he just wanted to sleep. He had no interest in the pier and none in the pavillion.


He was supposed to help me get to Dover but just slept the whole morning, smiling only once, when I told him to.

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The cliffs were great and Dover was surpisingly historic ( apart from what they wanted to charge to even see the castle, which, as far as I could figure was full of virtual guides and other shite I have no interest in, so we went to the Drop Redoubt), the Napoleonic fort on the Western Heights instead. lovely day. Breakfast in a cafe next to one of the oldest chandlers in the country, the same cafe, I think that I went to many years ago with Charles Hurst.

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That’s about it for Dover -really shit to sail into but once there it was actually quite nice, I expect that the castle may have been nice too if I wasn’t so mean.

Leaving Dover by myself was also a real pain, although the seas died down after leaving. Motored some of the way to Ramsgate but then put the forsail up and was going 9 knts over the ground thanks to the tide.

Vibrant Brighton

No Osho today, he is working, but I met him last night and he took me to his local, “the Basketmakers Arms”.

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Just down the road from his place. Nice pub and nice area, totally different to Littlehampton, although I did see a slightly sleazier side to Brighton today when I got the #7 bus from the marina, past the hospital. Not so bad on the way into town but on the way back it was not the quaint, white, middle classes (like the houses around the pub yesterday) but white – yes.

Visited the pier on the way.

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Got a lot of my list done today whilst waiting on the electrician to come and fix (or condem) my windlass. Towards the end of the morning a new boat came in, with no idea where their mooring was, the usual shit, I assume, as it happened to me yesterday. Got them to the right place and helped with the ropes. thay said that they could do Brighton to Dover in 10 hrs, so I will relook at the charts, so I may not need to anchor off Dungeness (safe but not comfortable, so I am told). The electrician should come first thing tomorrow, let’s hope

So after doing all the stuff on my boat I went to the museum,

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which is next to the pavillion. I didn’t go into the pavillion because it was £13 and the pictures didn’t make it look worth it, lots of laid tables with silverware etc. The museum was a much more reasonable £5.30

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Lovely gardens around the pavillion and museum, stunning Holyhocks.

The museum was good, although overrun by foriegn,  I assume, language students, nice place to come, better than Littlehampton.

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In the local history section there was one picture of the mods, throwing deck chairs, and one picture of the rockers, not throwing anything but smiling for the camera

I have reset the new radio but can’t get Sam FM, I guess I can live with that.

I walked to town yesterday to meet Osho and went past the Concorde Club, which they were reburbishing. They let me use the lift though, it was a smaller version of the Greenwich tunnel lift when it had an attendant.

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Looks like a good music venue. The Zap Club was mentioned in the museum, I went there last time I was here (a weeks sailing course 30 years ago).

Brighton Marina

Arrived safely after another early start to catch the tide out of Littlehampton. Lovely sunny gentle sail to Brighton, but the wind was cold early i the day. The marina is different than I remembered – worse. It is now fully functional, although they are still still putting up a few buildings – huge, they say 1200 people live here , no Lidle but an Asda! Hard to find the berth 1363 as there are no numbers on the fingers. I used guess work and got it right, I had found 1371 and 1367, next door to each other (they were the only ones that did have numbers). Will get the windlass sorted because I will need it if I anchor in the lee of Dungeness. I like Dungeness, but maybe not so much if I am on a boat.  Will visit Brighton proper this evening and will try and get hold of Osho, but I don’t have his number and Cara is not picking up her phone. Next leg to Dover could be hard, too long for a single handed passsage and no decent harbours on the way.

Littlehampton or Bust

Just arrived at Littlehampton, the first leg of the trip, so I will tell you all about it, whether you are interested or not. Meanwhile the boat is falling apart. Also meanwhile here is the Nab Tower, without scaffolding, a first for me. Big boats go very close to the Tower – and me.


Before all the equipment failures I have to say that I screwed up putting the main up, mind you it was the first time in about a year. Then the foresail sheets wrapped around each other. Full house! sail fuck-up wise.The wind instrument does not tell the  direction, I assume the speed readout is OK. I had to stop outside Littlhampton for 3 hours to wait for enough water in the entrance. I anchored but it was very rough and very uncomfortable,  have been thrown about before but not like this and am very bruised, the anchor dragged at first but settled down, probably because it fouled a lobster pot marker, when it came time to leave the windlass worked for about 10 secs before giving up the ghost, so I had to pull the anchor by hand, and nearly went over the side as the boat rocked on the big waves, luckily not as big as they were as it had begun to rain. Got to Littlehampton and parked with only a small scratch on the new paintwork. Huge tidal stream going in, never saw the tide gauge that was supposed to be there but had plenty of water, the harbour master tells me it is on the East beacon but is damaged because it has been hit by a boat, the boat must be in some state, but was probably a scabby old fishing boat anyway.  By the way I saw a scabby fishing boat being towed into harbour by the RNLI whilst I was being thrown around at anchor. It is now pissing with rain, again, Will go for a pub dinner and explore tomorrow. Here for at least 2 nights then on to Brighton, weather permitting. The harbour master is young and very helpful. Completely knackered and need a shower (tomorrow will have to do).

Well, after that little preamble of disasters that I wrote last night here is the low-down on Littlehampton. the milk has gone off but the good news is that there is a Lidl, I’ve never been to a Lil but I assume that it is like Asda, in that it keeps the riff-raff out of Waitrose, not that I go there either. So Lidl first then the museum. Apparently you can take the dingy up river (Arun) to Arundel, not that I did it, Lidl was enough exitement for one day.

I was up early, about the first person abroad, showered, shat but not shaved as yet. The place was deserted then slowly the incontinent made an appearance (Harwich for the Continent, Frinton (or Littlehampton) for the incontinent) generally pushing a wheel chair with some poor soul in it.

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This picture was taken on the front. I went to look at the drying bar in the entrance but it didn’t, dry that is.

The harbour silts up due to a longshore rip of sediment. Duing WW2 the army (bless ’em) tried to open the entrance up with explosive. It worked by showering the town with sand and gravel, the bang could be heard miles away (amazing what the museum tells you). The museum also tells that the town was very pleased with the revolving bridge installed once they got rid of the ferry after 2000 years. That went in the 60’s to be replaced by this footbridge, which pulls back to allow big ships through, although why a big ship would want to go through I have no idea.

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Next to appear were hordes of primary school kids festooned with dayglo waistcoats, it’s easy enough to spot 30 small kids and their teachers without these dayglo fashion accessories. A bit like the biggest lorries on the roads have the loudest horns and the most flashing yellow lights- why for God’s sake?

Finally the language school students appeared about lunchtime.

Altogether Littlehampton (Hampton Wick, I am told, is rhymimg slang) is less exiting than I had thought, footbridge excepted, the height of sophistication here seems to be a barber shop called “Jimmey Riddles” next door to a hair dresser’s called “Hairlucinations”, very droll!

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Littlehampton’s only other claim to fame is that they were the recipints of the Blue Peter 1. The inflatable inshore rescue boat provided by the Blue Peter appeal paid for by millions of bottle tops or stamps or some such.