The Eventider's News




Issue 14 Summer 2010




Page 2

The Glasstide adventure!


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June 2010 and we have a crew, a boat and the weather!

Time to get Glasstide back to Essex.



So it was 0500 and the crew of Mobri II, a 30ft Catalac Cat, were lifting anchor off Bradwell  after a few hours sleep, having snuck out of Tollesbury at 0100.  The early start was to catch the last of the ebb down to and through the Swin Spitway so we could ride the tide all the way to the Swale. John W had worked out the speed needed (and allowed a bit for problems!).


As the morning progressed we motored steadily south into a slight F2, passing the Red sand towers, a good landmark, as we crossed the shipping lanes.  This is the tricky bit, we had to stop and gill about for 3 different ships, before we could make the dash, bear in mind these boys are in a hurry and are doing in excess of 15 knots!


We pass close by the Kentish Flats wind farm, another good landmark, just on the south side of the shipping lane.

  Brian's  crew man Chris takes turn at the wheel, this was a first time out for him and an alien environment, but I think he enjoyed it!
  On arrival off the creek at Conyer we nudged onto the mud, a little too early, good timing!  We put the kettle on and John plans his escape route!

Here Brendan our (now ex) webmaster is having a well earned cuppa, we have just crept into Conyer Creek about an hour before HW.  Brendan is to jump on board Glasstide with John Stevens the Database manager, for the trip back.


Some found this just too much after the early start, Brian's friend John his other crew, crashed out in the cockpit for an hour!

  From the shelter of the wheel house JW gets to pilot the boat up the narrow channel, at times it seems we can touch both banks! The weather has begun to deteriorate sadly.


As we sneak in to Conyer it tries to rain, more like fine drizzle, but we are on a mission.  The idea is to load up Glasstide with the bare essentials to move her off the berth and out into the deep water outside again, where we can anchor or pick up a Marina waiting buoy for the night, ready for the return dash the next day. as it happens we now have time to cart all the gear along to Glasstide so they are fully geared up!
  We load all up on to Glasstide, John has the motor running, a slight worry as we had all sorts of problems getting it going, but it sounds fine now and is pumping water well!  We return to Mobri II so we are ready to cast off and leave, it is about 15 minutes before HW and I want to be away,. no wish to get stuck in here, a muddy hollow when the tide is away!
  As we motor out, keeping pace ahead of Glasstide, I take this pic of the log, newly calibrated!   The speed is 5 knots, just about.  OK it is flat calm and not a breath of breeze, but the little Volvo 7hp is working well!


Glasstide following close behind.  No time to lose here and we have little time to admire the changes in Conyer.  there is a nice new Marina where once there were hulks, a decent clubhouse too. sadly the Ship pub has closed, as has the yard where Maurice had his dealings with the Bay Class boats and the Noontide 32 was built.  A lot has changed, now there are rows of smart barges with live-aboards, posh motor boats too, though by all accounts they do not move much!

  Out in the deep water again we relax.  Mobri II is nestled onto a mooring buoy, where I reckon we will just stay afloat over night.  John has a chance to motor round in circles and get the hang of the steering and engine controls, something he will be practicing in private I suspect.  A boat like this with long keel and small motor is all a new experience.  He comes alongside to raft up for the night.  We have planned a meal together as John has limited cooking facilities on board, one ring and a grill at the moment, enough for the kettle, a pot meal or toast and bacon though!  Job for the future, replace galley!


That evening we all sit round to enjoy a hot meal and discuss the events of the day, it is not long before heads are nodding and we are off to bed, after the early start and disturbed night before that we are all dog tired.

  Before we turn in though there is a magnificent sunset.  This bodes well to the trip back.  The forecast is not too bad either, except the southerly we had on the nose on the way up, is now to be a gentle northerly on the nose on the way back, Ho Hum!
  About lunch time we set off, managing to unroll genoas after a few miles, the sun is out and the general feeling is for a good day.  HW is about 3pm, a good spring tide, so the idea is to punch the tide out of the Swale, cross the Estuary at slack water and then have the tide under us for the sail up the Swin.

About this time I notice the water has stopped coming out the telltale on Glasstide....  There is certainly a loss of flow.

John sets too to change the pump impellor, something Brian has just had to do on Mobri II when steam is noticed by the crew of Glasstide, from the port motor.   John will retrieve the water pump screw from the bilges another day!



As we motor sail out of the Swale we fall in with a Peter Duck, we get a few great shots then sidle over to speak to her owners, turns out I know the man, he had the Eventide 'Metisse' years ago!  We exchange pleasantries and stay more or less together the rest of the day, they are bound for Brightlingsea!
  At this stage the wild all night party catches up with John, and he finds a new use for the wander fender!  with the motors ticking over and the genoa pulling it is a pleasant sail, the mainsail ties are off and soon we will be able to set it.
  One of the locals is sailing into the Swale as we leave, bound for her home port of Faversham maybe, the HQ of Shepherd Neame, the brewers.
  Glasstide looks a picture as we sail up the Swin, the wind, though slightly ahead of us is free enough to sail and she powers away from us on the Cat.  Mobri II has a small jib up today, soon Brian hopes to fly a full size Genoa with a sacrificial strip, at the moment there is the choice of the small or a ghoster, far too big for everyday use.
  She powers past and it is not for a couple of hours that we catch up again!
  We catch up as we near the Swin Spitway buoy, the wind has piped up to a good 5, and is right on the nose as we fight our way across the hard ebb flowing out of the Crouch to sniff out the shallow water of the Spitway.  We can see what a good job we did on the antifouling as she pitches into it.  we sidle up close for a bit, then move gently ahead, the twin Kubota's purring away gently.  We keep station and a tow rope is made ready, just in case John's little Volvo has a problem, but she powers on.
  We spend the evening at anchor in Tollesbury north channel, a quiet enough place if there is no south in the wind.  In the morning we putter out, past the little East Cardinal mark on the end of Cob Island, and back round into the south, or main channel.  We make for one of the waiting buoys off the entrance to Tollesbury's Woodrolfe Creek,  John and Brendan have set off a few moments earlier and instead of waiting, find there is just enough water to enter the creek and make it to Fiddler's Green's mooring buoy.
  We spend a little time tidying up on Mobri II until Brian is convinced there will be enough water up at his mooring right at the top of the creek.  We drop alongside Glasstide to  load the last of their gear, then set of, all 6 back on the Cat, for the last leg up the creek.

Must say I am quite relieved that all the planning and trial runs on Brian's boat has paid off.  The trip was really quite uneventful, all gear seemed to work as it should and the trip was a good one for most to gain a little experience of the Estuary.

John W.