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Tollesbury - bump in over the marsh!

East Coast - 02 May 17 Cruising

The May Bank Holiday saw a rare visit to Tollesbury by the East Coast Branch.

As a green submarine lieutenant faced with de-generating generators I managed to persuade my team and Malta Dockyard to lift both armatures out of HMS OPOSSUM for repair. Returning as a 'goofer' to HMS OCELOT in Chatham Dockyard (a haunt of the East Coast Branch) I still can't quite fathom how we got them out and back in again? As you can see Tollesbury can present a similar conundrum but, of course, for the splendid North Sea spring tides we experience round here. It is probably the opposite of vertigo, whatever that is?

Our RNSA East Coast team, blessed with easterly winds and a rocketing tide slipped in over the 'sill?'( that piece of concrete in the foreground) on the afternoon of Saturday, 29 May, in time to get the bunting up so that it could flutter feverishly in the ensuing Force 7. Our Guest of Honour had sailed with us, Jules, an Apache pilot and member of the Army Sailing Association. However, we had also acquired a genial South African (Trevor), who had been gullible enough to take instructions from our secretary and in so doing arrived exactly a month early for an expected trip to Calais! As 1800 struck our stalwart ladies of the shore party sighted our stretched bunting and it was time for cocktails accompanied by lamp-swinging. We adjourned at 20.00 for supper at the Harbour View, which did us proud. (Inevitably, in such company our Extra Master took us on a tour of the flesh pots of Durban and its docksides).

Next day we had the privilege of a first time onboard for Lyra, an inquisitive one year old, who preferred our companionway to any playgroup; her Mum, Abbie, an RAMC surgeon raised a friendly eyebrow as we stuffed the charming little blighter with cake and icing. A tour of the lovely clinker built high street ensued with its cafe boasting bubble and squeak and a pound for a cup of tea.

Then, bets were on for the time when we could slip out over the sill for a reverse performance of the tide and, now moderated, wind in our trip back to the Orwell. After the fun of zigging between the Blackwater banks we settled down to a lovely beam reach. But at this juncture the boat boasted two of the better computer brains in Cambridge in its crew and, as luck would have it, there was a prototype AIS to test. For those aficionados of competing wifi protocols, data transfer options and user interfaces it was heaven! Suffice it to say that the dozen or so ships in transit around Harwich were given (unwittingly) a connoisseur's appraisal of their transmission. Perhaps our 'pilot' will develop a 3D model so that army air can join in?

Only bacon sandwiches as we transitted Harwich Harbour in the evening light provided a short lull in the exchange.

Home to bed at midnight.


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