It was an early start for some of us as we crept out of the TideMill at the crack of dawn on Sunday but we had time to relax on moorings down the river enjoying the sunshine before six or seven boats left the river on the lunchtime rising tide. For once the wind was on the beam and we had a great sail up to the mouth of the Ore and on up to the Butley river.




Several boats were already anchored and by late afternoon the river had 16 WCC boats at anchor (and several more around the corner in Abraham’s Bosom). An elderly gentleman from Boyton remarked he had never seen so many boats in the river and what a great sight it was!



SADs on Boyton Dock was magical with a fleet of tenders tied to the steps and a large crowd of us (plus three dogs) enjoying delicious dips and biscuits.

P8110026Barbecues were then lit and the evening ended with a glorious sunset lighting up the river.

Next morning a small fleet of dinghies set off to discover the source of the Butley, led by Freeman and Ruth (Ruth with trusty ipad in hand to steer the course!). We never quite made the source as things got a bit shallow but were rewarded with views of the lovely woods and fields along the river. Then it was off to Orford, where it was always going to be a challenge to find moorings for so many boats….and unfortunately the Harbour Master wasn’t quite up for the challenge! However, finally, most boats found a mooring with a few brave souls anchoring in Short Gull battling with wind against tide and Amy, who had been chased off a buoy, ending up back in the Butley river. Later that evening the Jolly Sailor was overflowing with WCC members who arrived by dinghy, water taxi and car. The staff coped brilliantly and provided an excellent meal and Sally gave a well deserved toast to Freeman and Ruth.

Tuesday morning brought more sunshine and another great sail up the river to Aldeburgh. Sails were hastily taken down just in time as a fleet of dingy sailors appeared through the moorings and we wove our way up the river to Cob Island arriving just as the barge Cygnet sailed single-handed off her anchorage. In the late afternoon we made our way to shore to join Fred and Sue Bentley who had kindly invited us all to their lovely garden for a barbecue overlooking the river and our boats at anchor. Another wonderful evening with Fred’s excellent gas bbq making cooking so much easier than on our disposable non-lighting version!

Wednesday dawned bright and sunny and we were looking forward to the planned trip in the dinghies up to Snape. However, it was just too big an ask for five glorious days in a row and the weather forecast for Thursday was for high winds and rough seas. Freeman prudently called off the trip and we set off back to the Deben instead.

An orderly row of boats basked in the sunshine anchored off the shingle at the mouth of the river waiting for the tide to rise and the bumpy bounce back along the coast made us very glad we hadn’t attempted it in any rougher conditions. Then it was into the welcoming calm of the Deben for a final great sail back, even if we couldn’t quite catch up with speedy Hotspur!

Thank you, Freeman and Ruth, for a really memorable cruise and for showing us some delightful new anchorages..and we have that trip to Snape still to look forward to!

Participating boats:

Alice May, Amata, Amy, Antares, Aythya, Brighteyes, Boystrous, Captain Nancy, Coila, Coranto, Expression, Hornblower, Hotspur, Kalypso, Miranda, Mirza, Nelli Kim, Segret and Sheika.

Clare Richardson