A restful night and proof that a Stag is indeed a comfortable boat! We are up for a 7.30 departure out into the Orwell where we head out into a southerly, stronger than yesterday afternoon. This is not going to be so pleasant.
We motor down the Orwell. Some are steadfastly tacking there way out to sea; others like us are more lazy and have the diesel engaged. As we leave the protection of the Harwich Shelf, we feel the full force of the wind and the short, typical North Sea chop. Under power, the Stag cuts cleanly through it. Alan cooks up a fried breakfast and we then put up the sails with a single reef and beat past Walton and Frinton. We are too close to the wind, so tack in towards Walton. It's slow going, and we are one of a handful of boats on the same track.
I sit low down on both tacks and face the stern; I get queasy - surprisingly - and decide to lie down for a while. Both Alan and Ray are sceptical, suggesting that it will only get worse as the only usable berth (it has to be on the port side because we are on a long starboard tack and heeled over) is up in the forecabin and so particularly prone to the choppy sea. But I am tired and know I will feel better. Sure enough, I emerge an hour later, into the bright sunshine and the fresh breeze, feeling 1000% better.
We have, in the meantime, crossed the sands and are approaching the Crouch estuary. Fishing boats are out in the freshness, men relaxing over a small forest of rods. We skim close and raise a few frowns, then start the short tacks up the estuary. We join a procession of yachts punching the tide and tacking quickly and sharply between the high seawalls. In places, the seawall has been deliberately broached to create wetlands inland.
We cross carefully through a fleet of 707s racing into the Roach, before crusing slowly along the Burnham front to pick up the mooring.
Good Little Ship – Peter Willis’s book about Ransome’s boat is out now - Just in time for Christmas, I’d say! Here’s what publishers Lodestar have to say: ‘Generations of children and their parents have delighted in Arthur Ranso...
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