One day sailing and already feeling gloomy about the progress of the trip. The steering cable had been chaffed through and we were not hopeful about the prospects of getting an engineer out. We were already working out how to get Paul to a train as it was looking increasingly unlikely that we would make Lowestoft on the tide. In fact we were considering the best way to spend a happy weekend in Harwich. However we had reckoned without Fox’s in Ipswich. After an early morning call, they made up new cables and got out to us in just over an hour having rearranged some other work to help us out. With the total fitting taking only 2 hours we still had time to get away before 2. This was a brilliant service from Karl Mark and Lucy in the office, for whom nothing seemed too much trouble.
It was with much lighter hearts that we dropped out of the marina lock and we had the sails up before we had even left the Stour. The tide raced us on past the entrance to the Deben into entirely new waters for us. We rounded Orford Ness and the wind, which had been playing increasingly hard to get became so fickle that we resorted to the engine to make the best of the rest of the tide up to Lowestoft. Paul became our human vang for a few miles…
We called ahead to the harbourmaster to book a berth for the night but were told that Lowestoft Sea Week meant that the yacht club marina was ‘rammed’ and they were already rafted up three deep. We carried on trying to get through to Hamilton Dock without success, but in the end just decided to go in anyway and squeeze ourselves in. The pictures show just how much of a squeeze it was…. Rammed here has a very different feel than trying to find space in Yarmouth (IoW not Great) on a Sunday lunchtime.
The old fish docks and associated infrastructure have not been used for their original purpose for a long time and regeneration on the scale of the old London docks or Bristol or even Gloucester seems a long way away. There are no signs of boutique restaurants or olive oil drizzlers here. However there are efforts to attract leisure sailors such as ourselves and the facilities were warm, clean and very effective. There is also something of a developing trade in renewable energy with boats servicing the multiple offshore windfarms, together with some solar and even tidal operators beginning to establish bases. Perhaps the real lesson for the future is never again to rely on single industries for financial and employment security.
A pub serving locally brewed beer together with some good fish ended the day in decent style.