Speedwell of Rhu Ship's Log

11 th of June 2010 - Lowestoft-Shotley

Crew : Andy and Helen
Destinations : Shotley Marina.
Distance : 64 miles

We left Lowestoft at 1120 heading out into the North Sea in the direction of Den Helder. We sailed on a beam reach for an hour or so with reefed genoa. The wind increased and the sea state was fairly rough so Andy decided a reef in the main sail was called for. We were making 7 and ½ knots and would have been in Den Helder in good time. However, after a couple of hours Helen didn't feel confident that she would be able to keep her food down for the whole trip, especially when it came to going down for some sleep, so we decided to divert to Harwich. After changing course the motion of the boat became more comfortable and the sun even came out.

Off Southwold, around 6pm, we saw a grey customs ship, a UK Border Agency vessel. (We have nicknamed them the vampires as they don't show up on the AIS). It was clearly interested in us and changed course, following behind us for a few minutes. We hoped they would decide we weren't that interesting after all and go away, however, they launched their black rib and came over with 3 men dressed totally in black with black helmets and visors. If it hadn't been for their rather undignified entrance over the guard rails we might have been more frightened. They also greeted us with friendly smiles and it was clear they were just having to do their job. We agreed to them swabbing the boat for signs of drugs or weapons. (We did say we couldn't vouch for the previous owners of the boat). They must have been having a boring day to want to visit us. We didn't offer them a cup of tea and weren't sorry when they went, but it did add some excitement to a slightly disappointing start to our trip. We decided to spend some time in Shotley Marina arriving just before dark around 2145. Were given a berth miles from the showers in a hidden corner that we didn't know existed.

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