A couple of hours into our journey down the long and majestic river Colne, Micha asked me how we were doing against the schedule. Now, for any south coast sailors who don’t know the river Colne, I should explain that that was irony. It’s just that an inconvenient southerly F5, a flood tide, and a very steep east coast chop were combining to make progress more than a little slow. The chop would stop Silver Pearl dead in her tracks continually until her ten mighty horses could coax her forwards once again.
I mentioned in my previous blog that when we made the passage to Calais there seemed to be a lot less depth in the SW Sunk than last year. East Coast navigators may be interested to know that (saint) Roger Gaspar of the Crossing the Thames Estuary website has been out to survey the location and has produced an updated chartlet, which can be found here, with additional discussion and some photos on the YBW forum.
The best route through the swatchway is now further to the NE as indicated by the chartlet. Many thanks to Roger Gaspar for all his efforts.
When I heard that the Little Ship Club Temperance League, of which I am a committed member, was going to foreign parts to engage in missionary work I, of course, jumped at the chance to lend a hand.
So it was that I motored away from Burnham on Crouch in Silver Pearl on a clear Thursday evening together with crew Mark “H2O” Hynds and Hugh “more water” Daley in calm, windless conditions despite the forecast of gales that was given 48 hours previously. Calais was the destination (this being the 86th Calais rally) where our teetotal ministrations were so sorely needed and as we crossed the Thames estuary with nary a problem, my reflections on the good work that we were going to perform kept me warm long into the cold night.
Flotilla sailing in the Greek islands doesn't mean that you have to follow the crowds.
It was a flotilla holiday that introduced the Hampson family (including my wife Nikki, and sons Alex, 12, and Oliver, 10) to sailing so, after skipping it last year, we decided to return for 2010. For those that have never taken part, the concept is simple: a small flotilla of yachts (normally between 7 and 12) meanders around an area of the Greek islands under the helpful guidance of a lead crew, whilst enjoying the local scenery, food, and culture, and hopefully not a little sailing too. The crew consists of a skipper, an engineer to fix any problems that occur, and a hostie to act as a knowledge base for interesting things do see in each destination, and good places to eat, right through to mundane details like the location of the bins and water.