Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Wells-next-the-sea update

Alice and Allan
Bonita's crew has now been strengthened by the arrival of Allan and Alice who arrived late on Sunday night. We left the Royal Dock where we had been so well cared for by the Grimsby and Cleethorpes Yacht Club on Monday morning.  Today we are in the sunshine in Wells, a pleasant seaside town on the North Norfolk coast. A nautical claim to fame is that Nelson was born in a village nearby, and several shops are named after him or stock Nelson memorabilia.

Without wishing to be disparaging to either, the differences between the towns of Wells and Grimsby could hardly be greater.

After locking out of Grimsby yesterday morning we had a slow journey here with sun but little wind. Things became more exciting later. We were approaching the entrance channel in company with fellow gaffer Minstrel just as it was getting dark. The entrance to Wells is difficult due to constantly shifting sandbanks, can only be done at around high tide and may be impossible with any onshore wind. The harbourmaster kindly offers a service escorting yachts into the harbour so we called him up and waited for his launch to arrive.

Somehow this didn't work out as planned, and as we thought we were following him in we went aground in the dark in the entrance channel, closely followed by Minstrel who had unwisely assumed that we knew what we were doing. Fortunately after a bit of rolling around in the swell both boats got off quite quickly without damage and we followed the harbourmaster in through the winding channel. We eventually tied up to the quay at about midnight.

One reason for this embarrassing episode I think is that we had difficulty in absorbing so much information quickly enough. The multitude of flashing buoys close together, the harbour plan -not to scale-downloaded from the internet, and the harbourmaster's instructions seemed difficult to reconcile, while the tide of unknown strength was setting us across the channel. With the benefit of hindsight we should have asked the harbourmaster to keep his launch close alongside and trusted him completely to guide us in.

Anyway everything looks better in daylight and we are hoping that leaving Wells will prove easier than arriving.