Schooner Sailing on Trinovante
7-10 May 2010
Stephen's farewell gift from his former colleagues was a long weekend
tall-ship sailing on the schooner Trinovante
with Schoonersail, a "taster weekend" from Ipswich.
Trinovante - from the wrong side of the dock at Ipswich. At this point
the right thing to do would have been to retreat to the car and drive
round, but we walked down towards the lock, then ran back to the car
when it became apparent that this was the wrong tactic and that Stephen
was going to be late.
Lucy's picture of Trinovante from the pontoon as Stephen has already got
on board in rather a hurry due to being seven minutes late, although it
turned out that it would be quite some time before we got underway.
7.40pm, and we've just passed under the Orwell bridge, motoring down the
River Orwell, approaching Wolverstone Marina.
The boats, buildings and houseboats at
At Harwich Harbour we turned right at what I learned was the cardinal
buoy into the River Stour and anchored out of the channel past Parkeston
Quay. It was rather a late dinner, but set us up well for the next day's
Saturday morning, and after a slow start to the day we are getting ready
to get underway. The weather is cold, breezy and grey, with the promise
of some rain later. In the background can be seen the pier at Shotley
with the cranes of Felixstowe Docks behind them; just right of centre is
a retired lightship, and some of the wind-farm construction works can be
seen on the right.
Trinovante looking forward from near the wheel, past the mizzenmast,
mainmast and foremast.
Helen, one of my two crewmates in addition to the skipper and mate, John
Paul gets ready to remove the sail-ties on the mainsail, with Su and
John behind him.
Jib, staysail and foresail (with mainsail set behind me) as we make our
way out of Harwich Harbour.
Looking back past the mainsail to Helen and John
Landguard Fort at Felixstowe as we head out to sea
An intent Paul at the helm with Su keeping a weather eye on things.
John tweaks the set of the sails
Helen at the helm as the weather turns a bit wetter.
After a really enjoyable grand run down the coast, we turned into the
River Blackwater, where the water was much calmer. We made our way
up the river towards Maldon before anchoring for the night. Two Thames
barges are in the distance.
The view from our spot for the night.
From the bowsprit, the view back past the staysail.
Next morning, John and Helen at work winding up the anchor.
Some of the many ropes to be understood and worked.
The tide was with us until about 2pm, but it remained a stiffish NE
wind, and so it was tacking all the way back, but we did at least get a
growing amount of sunshine.
It was still quite chilly, though. But these foul-weather suits were
superb - really comfy and water- and windproof. Not terribly easy to go
to the toilet, though!
Above the foresail you can see part of one of the fishermans topsails
which are rather unusual - perhaps unique among British schooners. They
enable Trinovante to sail closer to the wind as well as faster, but do
require lowering and hoisting again with every tack.
After a great sail up the coast, we come in to moor at Ha'penny Pier at
Harwich. Two more retired lightships are on the right.
Trinovante moored on the other side of the pontoon, beyond a Dutch
Returning to the boat after a very welcome shower on shore.
And returning again later after an equally welcome trip to the pub for a
Next morning, and the skies are blue as we look across the Stour to
There was time for a little walk around Harwich - this is the beach from
where the dinghy sailing club operates, with Felixstowe Docks on the
other side of the harbour.
The Low Lighthouse, now home to the Harwich Maritime Museum. It was
built in 1818 replacing an earlier wooden structure, and together with
the High Lighthouse acted as the leading lights for the harbour entrance
until 1863. It was subsequently used as a pilot station.
And a little further inland, the High Lighthouse.
Another view of Trinovante on the pontoon, now with the Dutch yacht
We had a gentle sail up the Stour in relatively light winds. These are
the enormous turbine blades for the Greater Gabbard offshore windfarm:
the scale is huge - the rotors have a diameter of 130 metres and the top
of the blades will be 170 metres above sea level.
The view of the river from Pin Mill as the onshore party waits for
Trinovante to pass. (Photo: Winn Dawson)
Further upstream from The Strand, Trinovante coming up the Orwell under
Passing beneath the Orwell Bridge
Coming into the pontoon at Ipswich Haven Marina - Stephen is in the
centre, poised ready to step ashore and receive the mooring lines.
So, a great little holiday, and a great introduction to schooner
sailing. Perhaps more another time.