We started off well, skirting our way around the Thames barges down the Orwell, and around Kentish Knock BB started sailing herself. The wind dropped soon after, however, and we were forced to motor sail for four hours. To make up for this we threw an old line out the back of the boat and as we approached Ramsgate we got a bite! It could only be mackerel so as I pulled in the line it went taught and then snapped. Arse.
It’s funny how one can sail the Atlantic, around the Caribbean, through the Pacific – even across the English channel to France and the Netherlands, to Portugal and Spain, and completely forget that some of the prettiest sailing territory is around the Essex and Suffolk coast. Our quick 12 mile trip from Felixstowe Ferry down the River Deben took us briefly into open waters and then back up the River Orwell.
We stayed on the boat and didn’t go anywhere today. The weather was miserable and by the time we had stocked up with provisions it wasn’t worth going anywhere anyway, so we remained tied to the mooring. I made myself comfortable in the forward cabin, though it was a little tight. Barnacle Bill was, after all, built as a racing boat so the designers, Sparkman and Stephens, had clearly prioritised speed over sleeping comfort. The saloon, however, was very accommodating and was begging us to get through a couple of bottles of red.
You can tell from the crew photos that this trip was a bit of a giggle. In fact it was a complete scream, but the emphasis, for me at least, was to learn much about navigation. This was due to Jon’s methodical and considered approach to passage planning and sailing, but when you own a boat like Barnacle Bill then you’re going to be a proper sailor, aren’t you? This boat is a real head-turner!