Nancy Blackett’s Last Sail of the Season

Skipper John Smith recounts the final sail of Nancy Blackett’s 2016 season.

We had planned on a local area cruise before entering the River Deben, but, with several days of strong easterlies, we were left banking on a possible short break in the weather on the morning of the planned laying-up day, Saturday 15th October. In preparation for the hoped-for weather break, Sarah Peay, myself and my daughter Karen spent a few hours out on the Orwell on the 14th, to try identifying any possible problems that might delay our planned delivery the next day.

Fog on the Orwell. Photo: John Smith

Fog on the Orwell. Photo: John Smith

The weather forecast was still looking good, and, needing to be in the Tidemill as soon as possible after high water on Saturday, we planned for an early start just before 7am. Karen stood down as she needed to look after her dogs, but Sarah and I were joined by Robin Sadler for the delivery. Our biggest fear was of possible fog associated with nearly windless conditions, and sure enough, we had that on the Orwell. However, with the wind forecast to increase, I expected the fog to clear once we had passed Harwich harbour, and, thankfully, it mostly did!

Approaching the Tidemill from the Deben. Photo: John Smith.

Approaching the Tidemill from the Deben. Photo: John Smith.

We entered the River Deben at around 10:30 am, and then, aided by the flood-tide, we made excellent progress to the Tidemill, where we were greeted by several members, there to help with the unloading. By then it was nearly 1pm, so the burgers were soon sizzling on the BBQ, and lunch was enjoyed by all.

The Nancy Blackett Trust Raffle, with Chairman Roger Sturge and President Peter Willis. Photo: John Smith.

The Nancy Blackett Trust Raffle, with Chairman Roger Sturge and President Peter Willis. Photo: John Smith.

Once Nancy Blackett’s kit was all safely stored in Robertson’s sprat shed, we all set off for coffee and cake in the Cruising Club, where the raffle draw also took place. Around seventeen members turned up for dinner in the Cherry Tree, and we all had a very enjoyable evening with excellent food, too. Since then, Nancy Blackett has been moved to Robertsons, and is now out of the water awaiting her winter refit.

Nancy Blackett at the Tidemill. Photo: John Smith.

Nancy Blackett at the Tidemill. Photo: John Smith.

Originally published by the Nancy Blackett Trust.