After a long winter in Southwold we finally moved Millie this weekend to her new home 25 miles south at Felixstowe Ferry, at the entrance to the River Deben. Changing from winter mode (looking like an untidy workshop inside) to summer mode (ready for sailing, visitors and entertaining) is always a challenge and invariably there are things forgotten, things that don’t quite work, and things that aren’t quite finished.
We did a lot of work during the winter. Apart from adding the bow thruster and the solar arch, I have almost completely rewired the battery cabling and charging systems, so I guess it’s not surprising that one or two things weren’t quite right. Firstly after starting the engine, the alternator didn’t seem to be generating any output and the tachometer (driven from the alternator output) wasn’t working. The output was now driving through a new split charge controller, so the wiring was the first suspect. I couldn’t see anything wrong so I got the electrician from the yard to have a look and he couldn’t see a problem either (at least I hadn’t done anything too stupid). Decided I would probably need a new alternator, but not the end of the world.
As for not finished, there’s still a long list – not least the equipment to go on the arch, but none of it essential to going sailing. The most urgent thing that needs doing are the guardrails. At the back where the arch was added, these are now too long, so need replacing. Also the rest of the guardrails are made from plastic covered stainless wire. This is never a good idea as if water gets in, even stainless wire can rust, and in fact has, so these also need replacing.
Nothing essential forgotten, but when we went to put the ensign up discovered that the socket for the pole was attached to the rail that the yard cut away when they installed the arch – so nowhere to put it.
The trip south was very easy. Jim and I left Southwold about 2.5 hours after low water and never had less than a metre of water under our 2m keel. There wasn’t much wind so we motored most of the way with the tide under us, easily making 8 knots over the ground and arrived at Woodbridge Haven buoy exactly at HW 1154. The line of the entrance seems to be exactly the same as last year. If anything the channel seems wider although difficult to tell at high water. The shallowest part was between Knoll Spit and Mid Knoll with about 0.5m water at LAT.
The last problem was to find our mooring. I had mooring number 224 written down, but we couldn’t find it. There seemed to be no logic to the numbering so we spent half an hour going round buoys trying to see their numbers to no avail. Eventually Jim got hold of Andy Moore, the boatyard owner, on the phone who said “I can see you, you’re right by it.” It turned out to be number 244, which we’d gone by at least four times.
Finally moored up, we inflated the new (2nd hand) Europa 2.6 dinghy, fired up the Tohatsu 2.5 4-stroke that came with it and headed for shore, where a delicious fish barbecue was waiting for us in the scorching bank holiday sunshine (which is something we don’t often say in this country!).