First day back
After a very long winter, by 30th March Covid restrictions had lifted enough for us to make a day trip to Burnham and check on Idun. Needless to say, the winter sails that we had hoped for when we left her in the water over winter never happened! We noticed that the power wasn’t plugged in, and suspect that when they moved Idun for dredging, she wasn’t plugged back in properly. Luckily everything was dry and mould free so all ok. Dominic had great fun cleaning the decks with our newly purchased power washer!
We enjoyed being on the boat and out in the fresh air so much that we came back the next day for the first sail of the season. Hazy sunshine and warm enough to not use a coat! We sailed up the Crouch and had a lovely lunch anchored by Fambridge. Back to familiar routine!
By 12th April we could lawfully stay overnight in the marina so on the 16th we set off for a long weekend in Essex. We had lots of jobs to do, one of them putting on the new SSR number stickers and Idun’s name on the boom. Looks really good! We had nice sunny weather but like most of April the wind was freezing and it was bitterly cold at night. Despite this, lots of people were hunched over their drinks outside the newly opened pubs – must be pretty desperate for their pint! We enjoyed a glass on board instead, and had a lovely and very calm night anchored on the Roach.
One of the many jobs done during the spring was fixing the bow thruster. Dominic fought back and forth over many weeks trying to work out why it wouldn’t work. He checked all manuals, spent many hours checking cables all over the boat, talked to Inspiration Marine who sold us the boat (who in turn talked to the factory), the manufacturer of the bow thruster and in the end it turned out that not only had it been installed incorrectly by the factory, but what had caused the actual malfunction was that the cable leading up to the helm had been routed in such a way that it had been slowly ground through by the steering cables. Just as well Dominic is really handy and does not give up easily!
Liftout and last sail on the Crouch
At the end of the month we went down again and Daniel came with us for a few days on the boat. It was really nice to have his company! We took a walk in to Burnham in the afternoon intending to have some nice chips, but to be honest they weren’t the best ever. Daniel cooked us a really nice meal on the boat in the evening which more than made up for it! Early next morning we had arranged with Essex Marina (just across the river from Burnham) to have Idun lifted out, cleaned and to change the anodes. They also cleaned the propeller so it was shiny like new. We were so pleased with how professionally they did everything, and we didn’t have to take the stays down for lifting, that we have booked Idun in for lifting and overwintering there at the end of the season. After the liftout Birgitta helmed up the calm river in gorgeous sunshine and we anchored in our usual spot for the night. Despite the now freezing wind we were delighted to have first class seats for the evening show of the pink supermoon!
Sailing from Burnham to Chatham
In early May we set off for Chatham where we will stay for a while. It felt a bit weird slipping the lines ready for the last departure from Burnham Yacht Harbour!
We had a fast sail in mixed sunshine down the Crouch and out the Whitaker Channel and back down the East Swin towards all the wreck sites, and several moored tankers. Dominic crossed the precautionary area (where London-bound ships go) under motor as the wind had died down. I had imagined this to be a really busy crossing, but there were hardly any ships around!
As we approached Sheerness we came across a buoyed-off area in the water. This is the visible wreck of the SS Richard Montgomery, an American Liberty ship built during World War II. The ship was wrecked on the Nore sandbank near Sheerness in August 1944, while carrying a cargo of munitions. About 1,400 tonnes of explosives remain on board to this day.
We were also met by a very large ship and some very nasty looking clouds! As we came into the Medway, the thunderstorm came on very heavily with amazing (Dominic) / horrendous (Birgitta) lightning and thunderclaps. We stalled going up the river, but then continued in the rain. Dominic was happy to have the capacity of steering remotely from under the sprayhood! Two cargo ships passed right by us in the channel. When we got to Gillingham the rain had stopped right in time for putting out the fenders. We managed the lock to Chatham Marina with a bit of kerfuffle, and a bit more of the same when mooring up to the events pontoon. 8.5 hours of sailing, and the first proper sail this season. Later, Emma dropped round with delicious pizza!