Weather set fair for the next week. Hot, sunny and
October. Trilobite ready for her first salt water adventure. Off to the
River Orwell by road on the brand new trailer.
it had all come together, the refurbishment, the new custom-built trailer and decent weather. Trilobite had been languishing
on berth 30 at Somerleyton feeling a bit neglected, what with
the gale force winds interspersed with absolute mirror calms!
Lifted out and balancing perfectly, we trundled down the A12 via
Lowestoft and Woodbridge to Levington Marina on the North shore
of the Orwell about 4 miles above Felixstowe.
Old Bill everywhere, flak jackets, sniffer hounds, suspicious
glances at yours truly. Too late to do a runner, they're on to
me, I thought. No, a convoy of sirens and a Roller, brought
Princess Anne down the narrow lane to the marina just as I
parked up. Jolly nice of her to come and see me off, I mused.
Well actually she was visiting a local project getting
handicapped youngsters afloat. Good for her, she works hard, so
I didn't ask her aboard, even though her dad, inspected Shrimpy
in a swimming pool years before.
||The slip there is very steep, so engaging the services of a
local chap, we launched her a tad more rapidly than either of us
would have chosen, but she relished the prospect of the water.
Mast stepped, sails bent on, off we ventured into the river. Low
water and an awful lot of mud showing. The channels are dredged
for commercial shipping, so the depth gadget soon showed 6+
metres. A steady sea breeze, genoa and main up, off we went speeding up
towards Pin Mill on a rising Spring tide.
The Orwell is nothing if
not full of things to see (and avoid, like container ships).
Drifting serenely down towards the sea amongst it all was the
Aldous Bawley 'Gladys' ca 1904. Magnificent.
||Trilobite was assigned a pontoon berth in the main basin.
Surrounded by 400 vast Jeanneaus, Bavarias and the
occasional luxury model from somewhere exotic and across an
ocean. The owners had expressions ranging from pity to secret
envy (or not) as they wheeled their carts of victuals to their
boats. Mostly they see very little of the open water, I like to
imagine, but many went out everyday, not returning until late
into the evening or the next day. The the chap next to me, Sun
Odyssey 40 something, was very friendly, enquiring about the
marque and the exploits of Shrimpy.
Levington Marina is enormously expensive,
though visitor moorings at £10 a night were an exception to
However, they are very friendly and helpful in all manner of
ways, so a good base, with access at all states of the tidal
|The weather stayed hot, dry and initially windless for several days,
so the outboard got well used. Each afternoon, a brisk sea breeze
sprang up allowing for perfect cruising up the Orwell, past
dozens of moored yachts to the A12 bridge below Ipswich, down to the estuary and up
into the River Stour as far as Wrabness. Again lots to see, including
Thistle, a Thames Sailing Barge, which does afternoon tea and
cake trips, mostly under power, but sometimes, spectacularly,
under canvas, acres of it.
||The estuary is an extremely fraught area. Vast container ships
unload and reload simultaneously at Felixstowe, RoRo ferries to
Holland depart on time from Harwich whoever might be in the
channel and cause a huge swell and fishermen carve a swathe
through the private yachts. Moored alongside Halfpenny Pier
in Harwich town, Trilobite pitched and rolled alarmingly against her
fenders, but somehow survived.
A flat battery left me in
darkness one night, but otherwise, no mishaps!
The Orwell and Stour are wonderful cruising rivers, as fine
as any, with
access to the sea just a couple of miles to the East. I did see
another Caprice towing a heavy dinghy, so we are well
represented in the area.
If anyone would like more information, please do contact me.