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Wheedling out the secrets of the River Ore 23-26 August 2019

East Coast - 27 Aug 19 Cruising

The East Coast Branch Rally to Harwich then Aldeburgh and Orford must have received Arthur Ransome's blessing

East Coasters discovered the remedy for a blistering Bank Holiday: the River Ore. Jacqui-B, Nirvana, Woodwind and White Rose converged on Harwich on Friday, 23 August. Sue the Dockmaster (a bit of a wizard on George Orwell) asked us to wait for ten minutes for the Halfpenny Pier berths, while a Thames Barge dropped its passengers. We discovered that life onboard a barge leaves you only capable of counting in hours. But then you can't be impatient with such lovely ladies! Nevertheless, sixteen of us fell in for Dinner and to be marshalled by the delightful Alma staff by 2030. I'm afraid the Welcome rather trumped 'Our cockpit is our Clubhouse'. Pepys was right; austerity(not quite a byword of the East Coast) foundered.
Fred Harris,our local, got the latest on the Orford Bar so we added an hour to the Almanac's LW+2.5 and on Saturday dawdled (a term which included White Rose's swimming party) in the beaming sun until we could slip across the bar in mid-afternoon and race the ten miles up to Aldeburgh - which was celebrating the last day of its Regatta. White Rose, on frigate duty, found an anchorage a mile past Aldebrugh and by this time Dancing Bear had caught up with the rest of the flotilla. Idyllic weather meant all five boats could raft up on White Rose's substantial anchor. Bunting was hoisted aloft in time for Pimms at 1830, a prelude to the Piece de Resistance - a 'Royal Yacht' dinner afloat, masterminded by Brent Crosland. Singing after dinner somehow led to the odd spirit test. After our own efforts, despite being a mile away we were able in the clear night air, to sing along with the Aldeburgh Ball Band. All slept well and on Sunday morning we had the treat of touring, perhaps the most assiduously renovated yacht in the country, Nirvana (Well done Sarah and Peter!). We then dropped down the river to a couple of buoys for a walk round Aldeburgh, throbbing beautifully in a heat haze. The controversial Benjamin Britten Memorial was assessed and given the thumbs up as the best sun shelter on the beach, and for hiding from the kids to read a book.
A pint courtesy of the friendly Aldeburgh Yacht Club and we were off down to Orford, where Phil, the ever alert Harbour Master found us each a buoy, prompted by Fred, our Fixer. The conversation on a walk round Orford contemplated a new Midsummer Murder Plot (it just seemed to invite such a discussion). Fred had booked us supper at the Jolly Sailor, which was well received. Then, still in shirt sleeves and sandals we 'dinghyed' (or 'tidied') back onboard about 11.00. Tides each way meant Mark Ashford could pretend to row, albeit something of a necessity as his outboard had refused to wake from the dead.
Everybody greeted a beautiful dawn over the marshes on Bank Holiday Monday as we slipped just before six to catch the bar on the last of the flood at 0730 before dispersing to home ports.
[We did spot a clinker red sailed yacht sporting the RNSA burgee several times in the Ore. Despite courteous waving there was no response.... but then Giles scribbled his famous cartoons out near here.Perhaps the spirit of 'Granny' lives on......?]


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