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3rd May 2007 - Eve of the Big Day

Well, four months of waiting is almost over. We are now counting down in hours. The spare room is empty and the car is so over loaded it is questionable whether it will get off the drive!

Seriously, though, we are pretty much packed and ready for our departure tomorrow morning. The camera battery is fully charged and the flash card ready to record the big day. We even have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for the occaision!

We will be away for nine days and I'm hoping we can get some wireless internet access from Ipswich Haven Marina so we can post some pictures and an update of the event.

5th May 2007 - Up At Ipswich

We are having trouble getting internet access, something to do with Kim forgetting log in passwords! Anyway we seem to have got this to work although we can't yet upload any photos. We've taken loads , but we can't get Photobucket to upload them.

So you will all have to make do with narrative only for the time being. Yesterday we went out in the afternoon for a couple of hours in the Orwell and had a brilliant sail with Andy the commissioning engineer - we had 12 - 16 knots and occaisional 19/20 knot gusts. Realy great!

Today has mostly been spent sorting the boat out, going shopping and we had a little excursion to the fueling pontoon to top the tanks up ready for tomorrow.

So what are we planning for tomorrow? A trip (in company) up the River Deben. The plan is to meet up with Morgana & Stargazer of Harwich about 12.00 hrs and sail in company about 5 miles up the Suffolk coast and then sail up the River Deben - all subject to the weather!

So, wait for the next installment. And maybe we can get some piccies up.

6th May 2007 - Trauma In Ipswich

We are still having problems uploading photos. No, we are not having problems, we just can't do it. So narrative only again.

Rather a traumatic day! Cried off the Deben trip when we saw the weather forecast, especially for Monday. Felt like a couple of wimps but just didn't feel up to coping with a new boat in potentially adverse conditions. We need to get a bit more familiar with her first, as later events confirmed. Initially didn't want to leave the comfort of the berth, but decided we had to go for it so planned carefully and all was going really well until we just caught a guard rail and stanchion on another boat's anchor. This really is a ridiculously tight berth where you have to run the gauntlet of all the bigger boats, which are moored stern-to with their anchors sticking out like knives. Got over it and had a great motor/sail (genoa only) almost as far as Harwich, meeting Morgana en route for a quick chat.

By the time we got back in, the wind had become stronger and berthing proved another nightmare, although fortunately with no damage this time. Will be speaking to Peters Opal to try and get a more accessible berth since, at the end of the day, we are here to enjoy ourselves and sail and we won't be doing either if it carries on like this! A few glasses of wine and a good meal later and we are feeling a lot better but we are certainly in no rush to put ourselves through a repeat perfromance tomorrow.

7th May 2007 - A Trip to the River Deben

The weather forecast for today turned ou to be all to cock! Instead of 40mph winds we had no wind but solid rain most of the day. Decided to go to the River Deben (by car!).

Drove round to the Ramsholt Arms for a couple of lunch time beers, then drove on to Bawdsey opposite Felixstowe Ferry and the entrance to the Deben.

8th May 2007 - Another trip up the Deben!

Before we ventured out, we had a meeting with Andy (the commissioning engineer) to pick up from where we had left off on Friday. We had a few snags to discuss with him, but the biggest issue was the incredibly tight berth we are in and the fact that we had damaged the boat trying to get out on Sunday. Andy said he agreed, we had a sod of a berth and given the wind over the last day or so, it was hardly surprising we didn’t want to take the boat out again.

Andy has said he will try and find us a better berth, as even he had difficulty in getting the boat into it. He has even said that he will get our damage fixed as a “warranty issue” ie. at no cost to us. Well, you can’t say fairer than that!

The forecast for today was - quote:-

    “Force 5 to 6, increasing to 7, Gale Force 8”.

And that says it all!. So that is how we did the Deben again – by car! Eventually ended up at Felixstowe Ferry, where we went for a good long walk and finished up having cake and tea in a quirky little café.

Not much sailing, but a good holiday so far.

12th May 2007 - Back Home

Finally back home and we have decent internet access, so we can upload some photo's. The marina had wireless access which we signed up to for a month (£15.00) but it never really worked properly so we complained and got our money back. Wireless access is great if it works.

Anyway, here are some pics.

Emjaytoo in Ipswich Haven Marina.

Emjaytoo in Ipswich Haven Marina.

Emjaytoo on her first outing through the lock.

Wendy at the helm.

Champagne toast.

We had lots of visitors, culminating in The Admiral (Kim's mother) who carried out a very thorough inspection of the boat!

Showing The Admiral around.

The Admiral gets to grips with charts.

We did not get to do much sailing as the weather was awfull and the berth Peters Opal put us in was so tight, as previously mentioned. We had a Bavaria 39 one side of us, a Bavaria 42 on the exit side of us and similar sized Bavarias & Legends opposite as can be seen in the picture below.

A tight berth!

One of the boats opposite was a teaching boat, with a bow thruster and even the instructor had trouble, getting himself stuck on the bow of the 42 footer next to us and his stern rammed up against our bow.

We have been told the boat will be moved by next weekend, we shall see.

21st May 2007 - Weekend With Stargazer

I (Kim) went up to the boat on Friday night, stopping off at Tescos to pick up victuals for the weekend. After arriving at the boat, getting sorted, having an eaving meal etc it was about 1.00am by the time I kipped down for the night.

Up bright and early Saturday morning, John arrived shortly after 9.00am. We had a quick breakfast of bacon rolls, started up the engine and then decided it was too windy. An hour later, after a wander up to the Chandelry, we decide to go for it and executed a perfect departure from the berth. The wind hadn't actually got any less, more a case of deciding we had to go for it.

Peters Opal had moved Emjaytoo to a berth on "N" Pontoon, where there was plenty of room to manoeuvre, so it wasn't really that big a deal.

Had a good run down the Orwell under Genoa only and then raised the main around Felixstowe, put two reefs in and were later glad we had. Headed out beyond Languard Point and the wind steadily built up to in excess of 20 knots. She slammed a bit but otherwise took it all in her stride. Eventually the wind got up to 25 knots and after we saw the Harwich Lifeboat towing in a Britannia Sailing School Janneau 35 with her mast in bits all over the coachroof, we decided to turn around and head back towards Shotley.

Locked in to Shotley without any problems, thanks to John's "local knowledge" regarding the cross tide on the narrow channel leading up to the lock. After sorting out the boat and then ourselves, we found our way to the Bristol Arms for a few well deserved pints and a substantial evening meal!

A leisurely start to Sunday, with a full fried breakfast. Exited the berth and locked out in to the river in text book fashion (it has to go wrong again soon!). We part sailed, part motored up the Stour and anchored for a late morning coffee break and then turned round and beat back towards Felixstowe. By the time we got back in to the Orwell the wind had dropped right off and we motored all the way back to Ipswich. Got to the lock bang on high tide so got free flow straight through. With little wind, the stern to berthing went absolutely to plan and we tied up around 3.30pm.

Cleared the boat up and headed back home to Kent.

The weekend was a roaring success, finally managed to put Emjaytoo through her paces and had a great time with John.

For those of you who want a picture, here is one.

And here is another one of the “Proud Dad”

22nd May 2007 - Part 1 Registration

Called LA Marine (Lester Aldridge) the solicitors handling our Part 1 Registration, to be told it won’t be through in time for next week’s departure. They suggested going for Part 3 SSR as an interim. Contacted the Maritime & Coastguard Agency and they quoted 3 weeks to process a Part 3 Registration! Even using their “on line registration”!

Anyway, further discussions revealed that for an extra £180.00, they could “fast track” my Part 1 application and I could have the Registration Certificate in about 2 days! As they say – money talks!

So after faxing various forms backwards and forwards I now expect the Certificate and the “Marking Board” by Friday.

I then had a call from Al Jones to confirm the Liferaft and EPIRB, which I am now picking up on Saturday. Fourth crew member is lined up and should be calling me in a day or so.

24th May 2007 - Part 1 Registration Comes Through

Our Part 1 Registration came through in today’s post along with the brass tonnage plate, so that is all the paperwork in place. It has been a bit fraught, but we got there in the end. All that remains outstanding is some work by Peters Opal – repairing the stanchion and guard wire and fitting the cockpit repeater for the VHF. As of Wednesday they did not appear to have been done. Will chase up on Friday.

Our 4th crew member contacted me on Wednesday and now we have our full compliment – Peter (Delivery Skipper), Kerry (Crew), Trevor (Crew) and myself (Skipper). The plan is, I skipper the boat and Peter keeps a watchful eye over my shoulder and provides backup where needed.

Still got a few things to pick up over the weekend – engine spares etc.

27th May 2007 - Final Preparations

Or are they?

Just got back from Ipswich, having been up at the boat sorting things out for next Tuesday/Wednesday's crossing.

The big let down is that Peters Opal have done virtually none of the things they said they would get done, despite 3 "chasing" phone calls during last week. They have replaced the broken guard wire, but have done nothing about the stanchion (okay, that was self inflicted damage, but nevertheless, they did offer to fix it). The cockpit speaker for the VHF got finished off on Saturday morning (after I arrived with the key for the cockpit locker, as they had to run the wire through the locker - so, fair enough). But, they have done nothing about the sticking heads door, or any of the other, albeit minor, things that were recorded on the handover sheet.

The weather is the big question at the moment. Depending on whose forecast you look at, next week really doesn't look very good. I don't want an 18 hour "white knuckle" ride, nor do I want to be soaked through for 18 hours.

It is unfortunate that I spent most of Saturday bombing backwards and forwards in the car. I had to go to Ipswich first to drop off the keys so they could complete the cockpit speaker, then I had to get to the Volvo dealer at Wolverstone to pick up the engine spares, before 1.00pm. Then it was down to Southend to pick up the life raft & EPIRB, then back up to Ipswich.

In the end everything got done and now I wait and see what the weather will do. We are very keen to get Emjaytoo over to the Veerse Meer so we can start to enjoy the second year of our "Dutch Experience". But equally I'm not prepared to compromise safety, or comfort for that matter. Of course if it does get delayed, it will give Peters the chance to finish things off properly. At present I'm going to be insisting they pay for the Dutch marina to carry out the work at Peters' expense. Which could be fun trying to get Peters to pay! I do have a card up my sleeve on that score, more later - if necessary.

28th May 2007 - Everything is Set

The winds are dying down and everything is on for tomorrow night's departure. Have spoken by 'phone to all the crew tonight and we meet up in Ipswich tomorrow at 6.00pm. After an evening meal and briefing we aim to leave Ipswich around 9.00pm

The question now is whether there will be enough wind! At one point this afternoon were forecasting 4 knot winds on the Wednesday morning! That has improved slightly to 7 knots!

Wendy will drive me up to Ipswich in the morning, stopping off at Tescos to stock up. Then it will be fuel and water up the boat and generally potter about getting everything ready for the crew arriving at 6.00pm.

The next post will probably Thursday night when back home unless I can get some free WiFi in Vlissingen. On the other hand I'll probably have better things to do - Trev is bringing a few bottles of Mithos!

31st May 2007 - Emjaytoo arrives in Vlissingen

Kim and crew home safe following long (21.5 hours) and bumpy crossing of the North Sea. All great fun and according to plan. Are looking forward to the final phase when Kim and Wendy finally get her up the Walcheren Canal and into her "home" waters of the Veerse Meer. More details to follow.

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