A Thames Barge on the Orwell
The week was almost up and I wanted to spend at least one night up the Butley river which I have heard to much about. So it was off on the rising flood again and off my mud patch. I encountered quite a few yachts attempting to get to Snape on my exiting Iken and I am sure they were confused as to how I managed to get up so far – not realising I spent the night!
As soon I was beyond Iken all canvas was raised and on a freshening wind Roach was running at 5 knots. At Aldeburgh the river turns South and the apparent wind was then felt. A freshening 5/6 I reckon. Roach was scuppers under and powered down stream. I was amazed at this Eventide that left its mooring when I past it at Aldeburgh and it was gaining on me. I tweaked the sails and Roach kept her at bay, but I am sure that Roach should have outrun her well and truly. I think that towing an inflatable tender does not in anyway help and juts pulling on the painter by hand made me realise how much drag the dinghy was giving. Soon we were both overtake by a 18’ Cornish Shrimper – I had no hope. She was really moving and had a topsail set. Well, three cheers for the gaff rig!
My contest with the Eventide was not over yet, and when the River turned towards Orford, beat hard-pressed through the moorings. I decided it was time to shake-off Mr. Eventide and gain some confidence in Roach. Well, all I can say is that Roach behaved admirably. The small cockpit is good fo a single-hander and the new Tufnol ratchet block I got from Classic Marine was working a treat. I could hold the tiller in one hand and sheet-in with the other. Roach was heeling considerably, but she stayed balanced and tracked very well once through a tack. It requires some nerve doing this, as being a classic long keeler, she does make good leeway on the tack itself, but once the sails are drawing she hits the groove once again and you can once again steer confidently. Mr. Eventide, with his cutter rig, was making slow progress and Roach was soon beyond the next turn in the River reaching towards the Butley tributary.
Once anchored off the ruined wharf, I took the dinghy ashore to try and find a pub in the nearest village, Boyton. But there was nothing there but after a long walk to Hollesley I managed to get some bangers and mash and well deserved pint.
The following morning I decided to explore the upper reaches of this very pretty river in the dinghy. But it is very shallow and I aborted. My time was up. I had to be in Pin Mill by tomorrow evening. So I weighed anchor and motored at 1knot on the flood over the bar. The sail down to Pin Mill was non-eventful and I was on my mooring at dusk. A lovely week's cruise!