Monday 17th June Ref: 2019/4
The day of a well-timed cruise short notice on a fine and sunny day from Ipswich via the Rivers Orwell and Deben to the Woodbridge Tide Mill after the alternative of a visit to Southwold could not be managed in the available time. A steady cruise against the flood tide down the Orwell after a quick lock exit from Ipswich and then taking advantage of a following tide the Woodbridge Tide Mill arriving almost exactly at the ideal time of high water
After reviewing the weather and cruising alternatives for the next few days, I concluded that it was not practicable to leave Ipswich, pass through the lock and cruise down the Orwell and then down the coast to enter the Southwold harbour in one cruise safely. The advice is to enter Southwold just before or a little while after high water and that would not be possible or practicable. On the other hand, the tides would work out well for cruising up the Deben and passing over the barrier to enter the Woodbridge Tide Mill and so, when I woke Kathleen around 8:45 AM, I advised her of this new plan.
I just had to add a few waypoints to our cruising plan as the rest of the boat had been prepared for our original venture and, because the first hour or two would be spent cruising down river, we could make the rest of our preparations, eat our breakfast and stow the ropes-fenders etc. once we had cast off. I radioed the Ipswich lock-keeper and he set lock for our arrival once we were ready to leave half an hour later and we were soon cruising down the Orwell, eating toast and marmalade and drinking tea!
The weather was sunny and warm today, the breeze gentle in a South/south-westerly direction and the seas were smooth to slight and so it was a pleasant cruise with just a slight ‘chop’ as we passed Harwich. As the tide was making all of the while, I was able to take the ‘short-cut’ across the ‘Platters’ sandbank , but we never had less than 5 m of water under us. As we left the ‘Platters’ sandbank and approached the Woodbridge fairway buoy, we had to dodge a variety of fishing marks, which was no problem in the smooth seas and then we took the latest chart-let advice and instructions to pass safely through the shallow and tricky Woodbridge channel entrance and made our way upstream. This part of the passage, particularly on the upper reaches of the Deben as you approach the Woodbridge Tide Mill, is very easy to get wrong as the channel twists backwards and forwards with access only possible at high water.
My passage plan had allowed us to arrive at the Woodbridge Tide Mill Marina at exactly high water, and being 'Spring' tides. this was perfect and allowed the occasional navigational mistake when we did not keep to the centre of the channel. Upon radioing the harbourmaster on VHF channel 80, he was available to welcome us into a berth immediately opposite the tidal entrance and, after mooring securely and connecting up electricity, we could watch the tide gauge as the water ebbed out of the Marina until the tidal barrier isolated the safer moorings with passage no longer possible.
Considering the limited time available for organising this trip, it went very well which was a tribute to my former experience and expertise as well as the fact that I have again become familiar with the Lady Martina electronics and navigational systems. We left Lady Martina closed up with the air conditioning keeping the interior cool on what had become a very warm and sunny day and used the adjacent water hose to thoroughly clean off the accumulated salt from Lady Martina’s superstructure.
Later on, I wrote up my log entries at the end of a very successful day’s cruising and helped Kathleen as she successfully removed the large black rubber mark that had been despoiling the starboard bow after our mooring challenge at the Breydon Water tidal pontoon a few days ago. She wanted to stay in Woodbridge for longer and so I worked out some passage plans this evening which would make this possible, providing the weather was suitable and I then showed her the animations on my MaxSea Time Zero computerised navigation software, which showed the weather and tide implications for our next two planned cruises; the first onward from Woodbridge to Lowestoft and the second across the North Sea to IJmuiden, which parameters were automatically updated every time I downloaded a new weather file.
This evening, we walked to the Tide Mill and bought a bag of fine home-milled wholemeal flour with which Kathleen made some fine pancakes for our desert later in the evening.
19-27degC; RH 69→38%; 1017→1016mb falling slowly; smooth/slight seas with light 6-10 knot breeze, Sly veering SWly and backing SEly; good visibility