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Old 23 December 2015, 08:00   #1
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River flow - Deben

Hi,

So I have my new SIB, I have my new Honda BF20 and I'm forward planning my run-in for the engine.

I'm fairly confident that launching at Felixstowe Ferry onto the Deben is the right place for me but I have a few questions.

For the run in, the first 15 minutes need to be at near idle with the prop just spinning, after that I can crank it up a bit to a max of 2000-3000 RPM for 45 minutes.

I'm trying to establish the best period to launch so that those first 15 minutes don't run me into trouble being that I can pretty much only idle the engine.

So, I'm thinking the tide needs to be coming in but I have no idea what the flow will be like say 3 hours before high tide at Felixstowe Ferry (basically that's the entrance to the estuary/river if you don't know the area).

Is this the right time to launch being that I can only idle the engine. What will the river flow typically be at that point? I'd like to land about high tide so that I'm not fighting with a flowing river and outgoing tide giving me about 3 hours on the water. Does this also sound sensible?

Would the same stand for 4 hours before high tide?

I'm a novice when it comes to river estuaries but have felt the considerable flow of the outgoing tide in a narrow channel out of a large natural harbour so don't want to go screwing things up on my first outing.

I could take my electric trolling motor out with me to rely on should I need a bit of power during those first 15 minutes - thoughts?

I tried to find out some reading/websites that might help me understand the flow rates in such scenarios but didn't find anything.

Thanks

Stig

(weather permitting I'm aiming for the 29th December, high tide at about 2pm)
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Old 23 December 2015, 09:12   #2
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why not go to the beach at harwich haven authority quite protected there untill you get use to the boat its not far from trinity house & pier
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Old 23 December 2015, 09:21   #3
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Hi Stig,

the tides down at Felixstowe ferry are horrific at any point outher than high water or low water. I think you'd be much better launching further up river or even in the Orwell. Somewhere like Pin Mill or one of the Marinas. that way you could have a little pootle about and get the engine up to speed on your terms rather than be dictated to by a 3 or 4 knot tide.
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Old 23 December 2015, 09:46   #4
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Pin Mill sounds just the ticket - thanks Searider... not knowing the area the launch at Felixstowe sounded good but pin Mill sounds very accessible.

Looking at Google Earth there doesn't appear to be any parking at all - do you know if this is an issue?
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Old 23 December 2015, 10:45   #5
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The Deben has some charms but the tidal flow plus mud doesn't make it an ideal winter first outing location.

Forgive me but I forget if I've heavily promoted the suitability of West Mersea on Mersea Island for your purpose. I'm guessing 10mls nearer for you than Felixstowe ferry and so much better with minimal tidal flow at the launch point, parking, free slip good for all states of the tide, great pontoon, toilets etc... even the RNLI station on site! It's the perfect location for running in from scratch.

For the very first trolling stages you can turn North on leaving the slip/pontoon and there are two different legs of the creek heading inland that are totally sheltered.

Launching question West Mersea
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Old 23 December 2015, 11:02   #6
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Thanks Fenlander, Mersea Island is definitely on the to-visit list but isn't it the open sea and thus (in my mind) more susceptible to wind and wave and I was looking for somewhere a little more sheltered for that first outing.

In terms of distance the others are a little closer, but only by about 25-30 minutes.
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Old 23 December 2015, 11:30   #7
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Trust me with 50+ years on the water since a kid I wouldn't advise a place that was unsuitable for a first outing. So Mersea...

This time of year there's always parking somewhere, the slip is hard to the end even around low tide (packed gravel type material) and an easy push down/pull back up with transom wheels.

The area of water at the bottom of the slip is very sheltered with almost nil tidal flow and no waves. If the engine cut out in the first 30sec or some other issue then you'd just paddle back in.

As you motor away from the slip as I said above you can turn north up the creeks in total shelter and lose an hour or so pottering at your own pace. Then you can come out to the south past the slip again along the lines of moored craft where it is still sheltered unless the weather is terrible. There is still a bank either side of you and loads of craft and buoys to drift onto if you had problems. You could then easily use another couple of hours in the fairly sheltered areas near the mouth of the blackwater also going back up the Blackwater itself which is not proper open sea.

If it's nice and settled you can motor round to Brightlingsea, perhaps up the Colne a little.

Honestly... from Mersea slip you can do as little or as much as you want which is far safer than launching into an estuary with fast flows, from a beach or out from a harbour where the entrance could be a challenge when you return (Southwold to name just one).
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Old 23 December 2015, 12:16   #8
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Stigo

I would take fenlanders advice he knows the area well sounds perfect for the first outing 45 mins will soon pass then you can venture out and get some hours on her take your trolling motor for peace of mind anyway have a safe trip.

Cheers
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Old 23 December 2015, 13:51   #9
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@Fenlander I appreciate the advice and please don't for a moment think I have been rejecting your good suggestions.

I've been working off my own assumptions about sheltered waters, speed restrictions, boat restrictions and proximity to home but I hear you loud and clear about Mersea Island and Mersea Island it shall be.

Now if you could all do a little 'calm weather' jig for the 29th of December that would be most appreciated ;-)

Thank you

Stig
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Old 23 December 2015, 16:55   #10
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The other place worth considering is Titchmarsh marina in the Walton Backwaters. You cannot get much more sheltered than that. You could just stay in the backwaters for a first trip (but only on a rising tide), or if you feel bolder go across to Harwich and Stour or Orwell.
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