A Week to Remember.

A Week To Remember 07/06/2019 – 14/06/2019

Back in March, at the 80th birthday celebrations of one of the COA’s founder-members, my father Robert Jones, Peter Coy asked me if I wished to sail with him on “Amazon Countess” in the Countess Owners’ Association’s  rally in June. I needed little encouragement.

The plan for the rally was to start with a meal at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club at Wolverston on the River Orwell on the Saturday and then a flotilla of boats would head up the coast to Southwold. The eventual boats taking part were Peter Coy’s “Amazon Countess”, Denis & Linda Bennett’s “Orion B” and Robin Traves’ “Pepsand”. The rally had been largely organized by Tony Kerry and it was, therefore, very sad that he and Pam were not able to participate up the coast.

Peter and I had arranged to meet at Titchmarsh Marina at around 7:30 on the Friday evening. After a meal in the Essex Clipper in Frinton late that evening we awoke to the all-too-familiar clattering of halyards against boats’ masts. A full gale had blown up overnight and I was relieved that the skippers concluded that it was too rough to sail / motor round to the Royal Harwich Yacht Club. My slight reservation in accepting Peter’s invitation was the fear of being sea-sick. Having been sailing since I was two weeks old, this had rarely been a problem for me. However, since moving back to Sheffield in 1999 my sailing ventures became infrequent and, when I did get on the water, I found my sea-legs were not what they were and I became quite ill sometimes. Admittedly, going straight into non-stop crossings from Levington to Ijmuiden was not the best way to ease oneself back onto the water!

Tony kindly offered to drive Pam, Peter and me round to the Royal Harwich. We arrived to see a spanking new club house since I was last there. The weather had moderated a little since the morning and teas on the short-cut grass looking out over, arguably, one of the country’s most beautiful rivers, was very satisfying. My parents joined us for the rally supper and we had a pleasant walk down Memory Lane through the woods to the timeless Pin Mill and a pint in the Butt & Oyster. When we returned the party had been joined by two of the newer members, Derek and Trish Ovenden, who had beautifully refurbed their Countess 33 “Lady Louise”. They had made such a good job of it that they were awarded the Ian Anderson Trophy for the previous season, but had not been at the AGM to collect . It’s great to see people taking up sailing later in life and to welcome new members to the COA.

On Sunday the weather had improved and we had a lovely passage up to Levington. We had only just got out of Titchmarsh when Peter handed me the helm. This was both encouraging and reassuring as I had not been on the water for years. When we sailed into Harwich Harbour, it was hard to believe it was around fifteen years since I had last sailed there; where has the time gone? As usual, there were around five or six huge container ships being loaded and unloaded. Levington was the last marina where we had kept our Countess 33 “Saebryght”; so, again, it was nice to visit it and see the changes. Those most appreciated were the new showers with heated seats!

At Levington we were joined by Robin and his friend Yvette who had sailed their Countess 28 “Pepsand” up from the River Medway. This boat had been fitted out by one of the COA’s founder members, Peter Major. Sitting below for coffee one evening after a meal ashore reminded me of my childhood sailing days in the family’s Offshore 8 Metre “Miss Moppet”, also in the River Medway; though I was a lot smaller then! The following day the three boats headed up the coast to Southwold. Sadly, it was a motoring job with the sails only offering some help to “Amazon Countess”. Entering Southwold was tricky and we scraped the bottom in one part as we negotiated our way into the rather old-fashioned harbour, which lives about a quarter of a century behind most of its counterparts on the East Coast.

The following day we had a tour of the famous Adnams Brewery. I sensed that they must be the biggest employer in Southwold, though our guide said no one working the brewery could afford to live in Southwold! The weather took a turn for the worse while in Southwold and we had to stay on an extra day. One of the great appeals of sailing for me has always been that it often takes one to places one would not visit from the land and provides the chance to explore. This weather-change gave Peter and me the chance to really ‘do’ Southwold. We visited the large, splendid church of St Edmond; a clear indication of the importance of Southwold and its port in yester-year. The Museum, Reading Room and Amber Museum were all worth our visit. When we got back to the harbour we visited the RNLI Museum and the immaculately restored old life boat. It was quite harrowing to think of operating such a boat compared to today’s powerful craft.

Our trip back down the coast on Friday 13th was testing, having to motor against the wind and tide in heavy seas. My fears of becoming sea-sick were raised and I stayed on deck throughout the passage, keeping a look-out for buoys, lobsterpots and other shipping. It is when in such seas that one really appreciates having auto-pilot; to steer in those seas would be very tricky and tiring. “Amazon Countess’” sprayhood was regularly taking on green seas and the protection was appreciated. We never had such protection in “Miss Moppet”, but one knew no different in those days. The seas did ease a bit at Aldeburgh, but our passage was brought to a sudden halt when the engine died on us. Peter calmly found that we had been using more diesel then expected and one of the make-shift fuel tanks had emptied. Somehow, in those turbulent seas, Peter managed to refuel and we resumed our passage. Once into Harwich Harbour we were able to set the sails and cruise comfortably to Levington at a faster speed then when we were motoring.

Our sail back to Titchmarsh on Saturday morning was smooth and comfortable and a lovely conclusion to my reacquaintance with sailing. I am indebted to Peter and his generosity and can see why Titchmarsh Marina and its surrounds are popular with several COA members.

Aidan N W Jones

Postscript.

The crew of Pepsand had left Southwold on the Thursday, since Yvette had a singing engagement in Chichester Cathedral on the Saturday. We endured a soggy but smooth ride to Harwich and then on to Ipswich and the Haven Marina. Here a train ticket back to Kent was obtained. Yvette duly left on Friday morning and was home for tea. Leaving Ipswich at midday I dropped down the river to moor opposite Levington to wait for the strong SW wind to drop.

As per forecast it did calm down by midnight, and a peaceful and uneventful night return was made to the Swale and Conyer Creek, arriving an hour before High Water. An hour later I was home, and an hour after that I was playing tuba at the Ticehurst Fete! Wotalife!

RHT

Annual General Meeting 2019

The 2019 AGM went ahead as planned. On a beautiful sunny day and in the extremely comfortable headquarters of the Cruising Association, the members enjoyed three interesting and very different presentations during the morning session, followed by a splendid lunch.The business session then proceeded smoothly. A full account will be included in the Spring Newsletter.

The Ian Anderson Trophy was belatedly awarded to Derek and Trish Ovenden for their outstanding refurbishment of Lady Louise (ex Kellogs}.

The Committee wish to thank all those who came to Limehouse., especially those from far afield.

For Sale

For sale Colvic Countess 28 “Buongiorno” 

£13,950

The Countess 28 is a high-volume family cruiser with a very spacious interior for her length. There are few other 28-footers, even now, with as much interior space.

For further details call 07733 207702 or email richard.helliar@talk21.com

Lying: Tuckton, Christchurch
Year: 1979
LOA: 8.54m
Beam: 3.1m
Draft: 1.2m
Keel: Twin bilge keels with encapsulated ballast and skeg-hung rudder
Price:  £13,950

Inventory:

Navigational Aids:
Silva 515 DSC with Navtext
Lowrance 3500 plotter
Nasa depth sounder
Nasa wind Instruments
VDO log
2 x Plastimo bulkhead compasses
Autohelm (tiller pilor)

Mechanical:
Engine: Vetus 3M10
Engine spares
100L fuel tank
30 Gallon water tank.

Sails and Spars:
Fully battened mainsail in Stack Pack.
Roller reefing genoa
Cruising chute in snuffer
2 x winch handles
Anchor ball & motor sailing cone.

Equipment:
Plovey anchor with 35m chain.
Kedge anchor on chain and warp
Electric windlass
Sparyhood and rear cover
Dodgers
Boarding ladder
2 boathooks
8 fenders and various warps
Cockpit table
Bosun’s chair

Safety:
MOB horseshoe lifebuoy, light and danbuoy
Coastal flare pack
3 x fire extinguishers
First aid kit

 

A Countess 33 for 5000 Euros!


This is a restoration project. The previous owner died before he could finish the refit of the the interior.The hull is in good order, and was painted two years ago but not used since. The BMC 38hp motor is in very good order. Mast and rigging are also in good order. Apart from a genoa (missing) the sails are there.

The present owner reckons the boat could be back in the water within a few months.

On the hard at Olhao, about ten miles from Faro. Further details from peter.j.engels@gmail.com

Calling Sean McDonald

We have received a subscription from Sean, but have no contact address or phone number. If you read this, Sean, please contact the Hon. Secretary.

Sean’s Countess is “Domino”. If anyone knows how we may contact Sean, please let us know.