Not Waving but …………….

Our trip South from Edinburgh was a real showcase for my belief that a cruising boat must sail well in light airs . Apart from a 6 hour period in the middle , we had a light reaching breeze and flat seas that saw us sliding along at 6 knots, and up to 8 when the wind increased to 15 knots. We ran out of tide and wind opposite Lowestoft and decided to take a break for a day because the grib files were murmuring about easterlies in the Channel if we wait until Friday! It seems too good to be true , so we are not counting our chickens until the kite is up and we are definitely heading along that South coast. Today we took a little sea breeze and the tide South to the Walton backwaters and are now definitely in yachty country once more .
We know that because no one waves at us. There is probably a sociology paper to be written about density of pleasure boats vs waving behaviour – or perhaps its relationship to latitude. Certainly North of the Wash , on the rare occasions we passed another yacht or fishing boat we would all wave to each other, but down here the Dutch wave, but pretty much everyone else stonily ignores us. Bryony tells us that the East coast fishermen who operate her survey boats refer to yachties as WIFI‘s ( Wind Assisted F…… Idiots!) and at 0300 we came across one of that persuasion in Yarmouth roads . We were making about 8 knots over the sea bed , assisted by the last of the South going tide . Lynda unhooked the autopilot to helm so as to clear an anchored Rig Support Vessel, and as we swept by he called us up on the radio. “You gawin to Lowestoft boy?” ( read that in a lazy Suffolk drawl to get the full effect ) “ cos if you are , make an appointment at Specsavers will you , you were too damn close”.
Personally I think he was snoozing on anchor watch and got the fright of his life when he woke up to see us flash by out of the night; we were clear by a very safe margin. However it was not the time to argue the point (and we had to admit he had a good line in sarcasm!), so we were left to fondly remember the friendly fishermen of the Shetlands and feel sad that there exists such enmity down South.
Mind you there are some advantages to being in these latitudes. Summer has arrived and I sailed all day in shorts , despite going to windward , which would have caused frostbite further North. So which would we rather have, waving or warmth?
Mmmm, that’s a hard one!

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