Today I set off for Ipswich.
The annual exodus from St Katharine Docks was in full swing, an annual phenomenon ever since the marina implemented an annual only berthing policy. There used to be a lot of globe trotting sailors, that would sit it out in St Katharine Docks over the winter, and then head out to explore new sailing grounds over the summer. However with the annual only berthing policy, many sailors see paying for an unused berth over the summer an unnecessary expenditure.
This mornings lock was busy, and I sat behind Charlie and Murray who were taking Citizen Kane to Limehouse Marina. Little did I know this was an end of an era for the both of us, but more on that in a future post!
Becoming complacent in familiar locks is asking for trouble, today was no exception. The bow line came off, and because I was tied up on the wall instead of the floating pontoon, I didn’t consider that I would have to slacken the lines off as the water level went down in the lock. The final comedy moment was realising Dave had better get his butt off Excalibur quick smart, as the opportunity to clamber off was diminishing quickly! My final moments in St Kats will always be scared with the vision of Daves ass in my face as I help push him up onto the pavement.
Sailing alone the Thames has now become routine rather than the novelty it once was (sadly). After passing Dame Helen Mirren’s house (supposedly), I’m off on a well trodden path to Queenborough. Sailing (or motoring) on your own sometimes requires a bit of creativity to pass the time. As I passed under the QE2 bridge, blue skies and shades on, I took out the Uke and causally picked a few notes to whatever was playing on Spotify, looking up at the passing traffic I gave a little nod to all the poor bastards going to work as I had my little rock star moment.
A night on a mooring buoy in Queenborough isn’t great reading, so we’ll move on swifty.
The trip to the Felixstowe was pretty bloody marvelous. The sun was out, I had a wee bit of a sail, and the serenity of the trip washed away any thoughts of work and impending deadlines.
Arriving at Felixstowe was a sight. I’ve been this way only twice, and now as a skipper the sight of the gigantic cargo ships were awesome.
I felt pretty smug when I predicted Boaty McBoatface with an impressive helicopter launch pad was intending to turn into Harwich. As I swung around instead of crossing over the entrance, he called up the boat behind me who had intended on playing chicken with Boaty, and told him to basically jog on if he thought he was going to make it across without being mowed down.
The River Orwell is beautiful, especially coming in as the evening started to set in.
I swung into Fox’s, had a sniff around and asked if I could raft up to a boat which I had already been informed by Gus was a permanent resident, he kindly offered to help me raft up to the boat in front. One thing about Excalibur is that without any throttle she can drift slowly and still retain steerage. I came within a cigarette paper of the boat behind the one I wanted to raft up to, and came to a standstill next to the one I did want to raft up to. I’m not sure I could pull it off again, but in this instance I could have easily rafted up singlehanded. Sods law, but at least it was an uneventful end to a brilliant weekend.
Once tied up, I dumped my stuff and went for dinner with James, which involved beer, mixed grill and me falling asleep at the table (sorry James)