This cruise was originally planned as a visit to Walton Pond, however the W&FYC is currently being re-built and therefore their facilities were unavailable. The earlier planned cruise to Shotley scheduled for May was cancelled due to adverse weather and so John Harrison seized the moment, which pleased Shotley Marina, the Shipwreck and us boaters.
As always, the weather plays a part, particularly affecting those of us based on the Deben. Kalypso and Miranda set off a day early, preferring the wet rather than the predicted strong Southerly winds. In the event it was not too wet and conditions were relatively easy for berthing. The ‘lockie’ was upbeat when cheerfully telling us that we had been allocated berths in the north bay of the marina as there was a wedding party occupying the linear pontoon. He suggested that it might be prudent to enter the berth stern first as our allocated berth was tucked up in a corner….he was right! A combination of ‘kiwi’ prop and well mannered Westerly, with help from John and Daphne Warwick saw us snugly secured.
On Saturday the remainder of the cruise boats arrived in dribs and drabs to give a total of 14. The wind had increased as predicted and made entry to the lock ‘challenging’ – wind up the stern and plenty of it! By mid afternoon, all of the boats excepting one had arrived and were safely secured. Newcomer to the occasion was Lynette, a Deben Cherub with a substantial bowsprit, owned by new member Leigh Birch. All hands to the pontoon to assist with berthing when a formidable prodder appears on the horizon! The commencement of SADS on the pontoon was heralded by the arrival of Coranto with a birthday girl aboard. The pontoon choir made the appropriate noises and it all added to the jolly occasion.

The assembled group then retired to the Shipwreck for a pre-booked meal which was eclipsed by the presentation of a very tasty birthday cake! cakeWe did enjoy your birthday Sally…and John Warwick’s Norfolk tales.
The following day Sunday, Kalypso, Amy and Lynette returned to the Deben whilst the remaining members shared 5 boats and set off for Mistley. We thought that we should make a point of using the quay even though it is still fenced off. The campaign to “Free The Quay” and have it declared a village green is awaiting the result of the formal Enquiry – due in October. Some had a good sail there others got caught in a heavy shower, however there was limited berthing space so we rafted up in order of arrival Nelli Kim, Brilliant, Coranto, Aythya, and Nyang. We then partook various shared lunches. The time soon passed and we commenced departure at about highwater for the return to Shotley. A heavy rain squall hit the fleet on the way back and knocked over several dinghies, but we all achieved a safe return to the marina.
Monday morning was cloudy and the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday was for strong winds. This produced changed plans for several boats who decided to take the opportunity to get back to the Deben. And then there were 6 boats who proceeded towards Ipswich for Monday evening. The passage commenced with some sailing but the rain came and a late plan to call for lunch to inspect the new Royal Harwich YC premises was cancelled.NightcapGansa had left earlier for Ipswich and Bernice kindly booked a meal at Pizza Express across from the Haven Marina and a good time was had by all before returning to Brilliant for night caps.
Tuesday morning saw more rain and accompanying wind, however some boats are berthed in Ipswich so stayed put. Brilliant was first to depart down the Orwell followed later by Amata and Nelli Kim. A pleasant social cruise with some good weather but lower temperatures than we had become used to over the summer. Thanks to all who participated: Amata, Amy, Aythya, Brilliant, Coranto, Expeditious, Expression, Gansa, Kalypso, Lynette, Miranda, Nelli Kim, Nyang, and Sea Witch.
Reporting by Chris and Tony Patrick and John H.