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04 September 2014

Saturday the 23rd of August saw the start of our 6th cruise of the season, the” East Coast Cruise”.
16 boats gathered at Berney Arms the previous evening ready for a skippers briefing at 0800hrs after which the boats made their way down Breydon for a 0915hrs Haven Bridge Lift. The forecast was a reasonable, W 3-4 with a bit of chop.

Once south of Lowestoft and the East Barnard buoy we varied our course further inland to gain the most shelter from the land and conditions were comfortable. We made our way down the coast on the last of the ebb to Orford at 20 knots where we lost the benefit of the tide. We routed inshore via Hollesley bay and down to the Wadgate Ledge before turning south to cross the Harwich Deep Water Channel and then into the Harbour. We had a pleasant run up the beautiful Orwell at 6 knots before arriving at Ipswich Lock. With such a large group of boats we could not all fit into one lock but managed to squeeze into two locks. By around 1600 hrs we had the fleet moored together in the Ipswich Haven Marina. At around 1700hrs the crews gathered on Evita for a few drinks and to mingle with the other crews and socialise. Everyone was in good spirits. At around 1930 the crews departed to various restaurants or their boats.

The following day we stayed in Ipswich taking advantage of the marinas excellent facilities and the numerous bars and restaurants in town.

We awoke to grey skies the following morning and a stiff breeze. By the time we went through the lock on free flow the rain started exactly as forecast. The fleet made the short trip downstream to Woolverstone marina and the support crews assisted mooring. Later everyone met at the fantastic Royal Harwich Yacht Club for dinner. We were superbly looked after and enjoyed great food and a few drinks. Nobody was surprised when we announced that the Brightlingsea run for the following day looked doubtful in view of the grim forecast. We hoped that Woodbridge might be possible.

On looking at the forecast the following morning the decision was easy. Easterly force 6 to 7 meant we were going nowhere by boat. Never to be beaten by the weather we donned our rain coats and embarked on a walk to Pinn Mill for a very pleasant lunch. After which the children did some enjoyable activities in the local craft shop.

The following morning greeted us with bright sunshine so after discussion with the various crews we departed Woolverstone in 2 groups the first of which wanted to take advantage of the beautiful morning and do some anchor practice in the Orwell whilst the rest wanted to take advantage of a leisurely 1100 hrs start. The 2 groups met near Levington at around 1145 hrs for the short run round to Titchmarsh Marina on the Walton Backwaters. We were all safely tied up by 1330 and had a relaxing sunny afternoon. Most of the crews later went to the Harbourlights restaurant on the marina and were well looked after.

The following morning was fairly leisurely for the fleet while the support crews did their checks and assisted those who required fuel whilst Evita prepared the passage plan for the route home. We left at 1330 to catch the tide back with a forecast of SW 3 or 4. With a residual swell from the night before the ride was rolly down Hamford water but soon improved as we headed up the Sledway. All the boats and crews enjoyed the ride up to Lowestoft and the Royal Norfolk and Suffolk Yacht Club. We had a pleasant evening and great food as always.

The following morning we left at 1200 hrs in plenty of time for our 1330 Haven Bridge and onto the broads.

Great boats, great company, great fun.

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