Having watched the magnesium anodes fizz away in the salt water of the river Deben, we knew we had to get them replaced and get Waterdog painted. We booked into Blackwater Marina dry dock in Maylandsea, Essex and started organising crew for our first coastal hop in the UK. It was booked for the only big spring tides that fitted with a scheduled leave period for Lawrence and luckily we had 2 friends who could come along to help.
The trip seemed to be a long time coming with lots of things to get arranged but finally we could let go the ropes and head to sea. The plan was to drive aft but have a bow spring ready to go ahead on, so that we could line the stern up again going slightly down river against the flood tide. As it happened (watch the video here), Waterdog went straight back and Pete was quick enough to flick the rope off the pile as we went. The flood tide started taking the stern around to stbd and a few pushes with the bow thruster helped the bow stay up to port.
It was great to be mobile with Waterdog again after 7 months of being moored, we couldn’t help tooting the horn, waving and grinning as we steamed away from Woodbridge. We had put up the ball, diamond, ball shapes that indicate that we had difficulty manoeuvring because the fairways between the moored small boats was very narrow in Woodbridge, Walderingfield, Ramsholt and Felixstowe ferry. This was compounded by a cross wind which blew the moored boats into the narrow fairway. We planned to stick to the centre and blow the horn and let the smaller boats keep out of the way, it was May bank holiday weekend and the river was teeming with pleasure boats. All went well though and we got as far as the ‘Rocks’ to anchor before the ebb really kicked in.