Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Ramsgate to the Orwell River

Hi everyone,
Yesterday we sailed from Ramsgate to Pin Mill on the Orwell River.  The 50nm passage took 10 hours in slowly increasing winds from 5 to 18 knots.  Since arriving the weather has deteriorated with  showers overnight and mizzle (misty light drizzle) all this morning.  The river banks are muddy but have nice woods and green fields beyond - a very pleasant rural scene.

Here are the usual passage plots...

Zen Again track
Zen Again speed
And here are the vital statistics...
  • Distances/Speeds
    • Route Distance = 50nm
    • Logged Distance = 57nm
    • GPS Distance = 53nm
    • Duration = 10.5 hours
    • Average boat speed = 5.4kt
    • Average ground speed = 5.0kt
  • Weather
    • Minimum wind speed = 5 kt
    • Average wind speed = 10 kt
    • Maximum wind speed = 18 kt
    • Apparent wind angle range = 0 to 120
    • Seas up to 0.5m
    • High cloud with a little sunshine
  • Engine
    • Total = 4.5 hours
    • Driving = 4.5 hours
    • Charging = 0 hours
We motor-sailed for an hour or so after departing Ramsgate due to the light winds.  As the chart above shows the Thames Estuary is full of mud banks.  It is also very tidal with 3m tides and tidal currents over 2 knots.  We timed our passage to catch the ebb.  As a result we were often heading NNW and tracking NNE.

We sailed between Thanet and London Array wind farms - both of which are quite extensive.  Yachts can sail through operational wind farms but the idea didn't appeal, particularly in light winds and strong tide!  The London Array is still under construction so both it and the approaches to it are prohibited areas.
Passing the Thanet wind farm
Once past the two wind farms we passed Kentish Knock and Long Sand shoals.  We were able to sail during this period as the wind gradually increased.  We had a great sail NW across to Cork Sand where our route joined the Felixstowe entry channel.  From there the W wind was dead on the nose so we had to motor.

Once into the port and heading north up the Orwell we were able to kill the motor and sail quietly up the river.

Passing Felixstowe container port
Sailing up the Orwell, passing Suffolk Yacht Haven
We initially anchored directly off Pin Mill which is an interesting looking place.  There are several Thames barges alongside in tidal berths.  In the river there are lots of yacht moorings.  These forced us to anchor on the edge of the channel.  We hurriedly moved downriver to a gap in the moorings when we saw a large cargo ship coming up river!

We expect to stay here for a second night before continuing our passage north.

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