The last club cruise of the season, the Fireworks Cruise to Ipswich, took place last weekend (2nd – 4th November) and with a good weather forecast for the time of year, twelve boats signed up to take part.
Prior to setting off (on Friday 4th Nov), many of the crews met up for a pre-cruise dinner in the club dining room on Thursday evening. The crews were in good spirits but after dinner were going to have an early night, with an equally early start the next morning to avoid the low water predicted for lunchtime. Regrettably, this also meant that the fleet would be punching the ebb tide up the Orwell later in the morning, and would arrive at Ipswich lock near to low water.
Once clear of the creek, most of the sailing boats hoisted full sail and set off across Dovercourt Bay in a North Easterly Force 3 and made good speed towards Harwich harbour. The motor cruisers: In D Red; Beatrice; and Seahorse soon caught us up, with In D Red and Beatrice planing off into the distance while Seahorse proceeded at a much more leisurely pace.
Altering course to port as we rounded the Stone Pier to enter Harwich harbour, meant that the yachts were soon close-hauled in a falling wind and punching a strong tide. Most of the boats sailing furled their jibs and motor-sailed up towards Levington where it became clear that further progress under sail was going to be impractical, so mainsails were dropped and the passage continued under the “iron topsail”.
On our passage up the river we were soon overtaken by a small tanker on her way up to Ipswich and heard another Ipswich bound ship “call in” as it crossed Harwich harbour. The first ship was soon to cause mayhem among the boats waiting to enter Ipswich lock as she wanted to swing before mooring so we decided to increase our speed to arrive at the waiting pontoon before the second ship arrived. As predicted there was quite a long wait for the lock, especially as the previous lock-in was devoted to the Lady Galadriel and one of the small naval training boats based at Ipswich Haven.
On arriving at Ipswich Haven Marina, all of the club’s boats were grouped together on “K” pontoon, close to the main ramp, facilities block etc. Of the twelve boats booked on the cruise, ten made it up to Ipswich on Friday, and Bellaropa arrived on Saturday just in time for the fireworks. Unfortunately, Peter and Donna Dukes struggled with a wiring problem aboard their Southerly “ La Mouette“ but came up to Ipswich Haven Marina by car on Saturday evening to join in with our fish and chip supper and to watch the fireworks (from the old clubhouse at Ipswich Haven). Once again we’ve grateful to Ipswich Haven marina for allowing us to use their clubhouse and which provided an ideal venue for drinks and nibbles on Friday (everyone made their own eating arrangements) and our fish and chip supper on Saturday as we waited for the Fireworks to start.