Thursday, 29 April 2010

The blind leading the blind

We leave Titchmarsh Marina with the last of the flood, but Peter's task today is to navigate us blind, down from the Marina to Pye End. He is sat at the chart table and is allowed only charts - no GPS - and the curtains are pulled tightly closed so he is relying on us. We are only allowed to "see" 50 meters ahead from the topsides.
All is very tense as there is a very real risk of going aground - albeit on mud and with still a few inches of flood tide - but Peter is an experienced sailor and feedsback precise instructions as we return observations on what we see from the top.
It is relatively easy to navigate down the narrower channel, because the echo-sounder can be used to judge the channel but out in the bay we are more exposed and the channel is less distinctive and more shallow!

Peter guides us admirably to within 10 metres of the Pye End buoy and we are all impressed.

For the rest of the day, we practice a variety of manouevres around the bay, but also watch with some amusement as a brand new Oyster yacht twists a spinnaker badly and ends up with what - from a distance - appears to be a huge red bra. Large numbers of staff wrestle with a snuffer and the spinnaker itself while we tut-tut in disapproval.

We spend several hours repeatedly rescuing our danbuoy, enjoying the warm sunshine. All too soon we head in to join the ferries and dredgers and trawlers and container ships in Harwich harbour and pass them to moor up off Wrabness Point. Tonight will be our test night passage, from Wrabness to Ipswich. Keith and I will be making the pilotage plan and in charge of the voyage.

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