Day 3

Wednesday, Day 3 of my adventure started with the return trip from Bradwell Marina. Jax, Tyler and John plotted our course back to the River Stour and Rich took the helm.

Coming out of the River Blackwater to open sea

Still making our way into open sea
There was a lot of sea, after all

The journey back couldn't have been more different from the journey to Bradwell. To Bradwell, we had miserable rain the whole way. Wednesday was chocker block full of beautiful sunshine and fair winds. In fact, the winds were right out of the West, just the direction we needed. This allowed us to vary our sails between a Beam Reach and a Broad Reach. Which all makes a LOT more sense to me now that I've done it.

Here is what the day looked like from my perspective.
It doesn't get any better than this
(unless of course you are sailing with girls in bikinis)

Once we got to Harwich International Port, we turned back west and headed up the River Stour. This is a very beautiful and usually quiet river (once past the port). We found a lovely wide part of the river and had lunch and a snooze. 

This was followed, once everyone woke back up, with a bit of Tacking and Jibing. I've always understood the principle of tacking into the wind, or beating into the wind as it's sometimes called, but jibing confused me. That is, until now.

We each had several goes at tacking, which is when the bow of the boat crosses over the oncoming path of the wind. Then we would turn downwind, and the aft end of the boat would cross the path of the wind (now coming from behind) and this is the jibe part. 

So, you tack into the wind and jibe away from the wind. Seems simple now. 

We had a lot of laughs during these exercises, one of which was centred around how Jax liked to stand when cranking in the jib. She would stand, bent over the wench, while Tyler (and later Bev) would hold the tail of the rope between her legs.

Pictures actually tell it best.

And here I am, my turn at the helm.

We tacked and jibed for several hours, although it didn't seem that long at all. Time didn't really exist too much on the water. Someone would take the helm, and everyone would be so busy trimming sails or just taking in the beauty of being on the water, that an hour would flash by and it would be someone else's turn on the helm. 

The boat rule was when you came off the helm, you made everyone a cup of tea or coffee, which was always needed, if at the very least to keep your hands warm. 

We eventually found a spot to drop anchor and stop for dinner. But we weren't happy with that spot as we were on the shallow side of the river, so we picked up anchor and moved to a better location. Cause, you know, you can do that on a boat.

After dinner, and after darkness fell, we opened the main and set sail once again for our night time cruise.

I learned SO much from this part of the week, and it was REALLY difficult telling lights apart. What is that white light up ahead? Is it a sailboat, a buoy or a car driving really slowly on shore? It could be any or all of them.

Knowing one's lights and buoys are vital for night sailing. Jax and Tyler did our night navigation from our anchor on the Stour to the Ipswich marina. They had also plotted our course from Bradwell, and did both with outstanding accuracy.