Ore / Alde entrance

morgandlm

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Having just had a really good short cruise in Bonsella (Sadler 26) that took in the Ore entrance, I thought I might share the experience for the benefit of others contemplating the same. First of all many thanks to those who provided advice on this forum and even an offer of a shower in Orford! (Thanks OrfDan but we weren't too grubby!).
We left Shotley at around low water Harwich so had to push the tide as we sailed NE. We kept well to the west over the Wadgate Ledge to avoid the worst of the tide, passed the Woodbridge Haven safe water mark and on to the Orford Haven SWM arriving at 10:30, just before half tide.
The passage in via the PHB (Oxley) and the SHB (Weir) were fairly straightforward although there were some some strange cross tides. What was not intuitive was to carry on after the SHB (Weir) until very close to the far bank before turning up the river. After this, the process was simply watching the depth while keeping well over to port. At one point we were doing more than 9 kts over the ground. We had the comfort of following another boat in which was reassuring.

Up at Orford, just as advised on this forum and in the East Coast Pilot, the Quay Master was very obliging and allocated a mooring buoy conveniently close to the Orford Sailing Club pontoon – so just a short dinghy trip. He confirmed the advice given by Sailorman to leave Orford Quay as the tide turns at Low Water. We had a SW wind on the next day so sailed out of the river, although I must confess I had the engine running as backup. Once out, we still had plenty of South going tide to help a fast sail back to Harwich. The F5+, SW wind on Sunday in The Wallet was another story – 2 reefs and still getting overpowered but good fun in a different sort of way.
David Morgan
 

TwoHooter

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Internet Forums are funny things. Sometimes serendipitous. Like here. We saw Bonsella leaving from a buoy about two down from us at Orford on Saturday 20th June 2015 at 08:30 UTC and caught her up below Havergate Island. We hung back partly because we didn't want to get too close and also because I was worried about being too early for the tide over the bar. I was following the advice of a forumite to keep close to the port (east) bank but Bonsella seemed to be going more to the west side and so I thought to myself, "That is obviously a local boat, and the skipper knows what's what, so I will follow that boat". Bonsella must have been luckier than we were because my heart was in my mouth at one point - just past the Weir SHB we had 1.4m on the depth gauge and we draw 1.3!

After leaving the SWM Bonsella seemed to head out to sea. The consensus on our boat was that she was headed to the Netherlands. That's the last time we will attempt to judge a boat's course. I elected to take the inside passage to the Woodbridge Haven SWM and we found ourselves hemmed in by lobster pots. We got though OK and were moored at Shotley by 13:15.

If we ever see Bonsella again we'll make a signal to invite David on board for a tot.

Michael
 

morgandlm

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We weren't off to The Netherlands (!!) but went off on starboard tack out to the deeper water to pick up the south going tide and then into The Orwell. We didn't fancy motoring through the inside passage having seen loads of pots the previous day when we sailed up. Our course out was the exact reciprocal of the course in when we followed another larger, boat and had no depth scares. The only shallow bit we found was near the PHB Oxley and that was about 1.3m below our keel.
David Morgan
 

ianc1200

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Re the advice to leave Orford quay as the tide turns at low water - doesn't this mean you have a fierce flood tide to get out against? In 2013 we left the ferry on the Butley River at about LW +2 and really struggled to get out (Cornish Crabber with new 14hp engine), took so long the flood had gone by the time we were off the Deben. In 2014 also left the Butley river, this time just after HW and had a very easy run out with plenty of depth.
 

Lucky Duck

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The general advice is to fight the flood out of the Deben/Ore so if you do misjudge something and go aground you should float off, it also has the benefit of meaning you then have the tide with you if headed South
 

TwoHooter

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Re the advice to leave Orford quay as the tide turns at low water - doesn't this mean you have a fierce flood tide to get out against? In 2013 we left the ferry on the Butley River at about LW +2 and really struggled to get out (Cornish Crabber with new 14hp engine), took so long the flood had gone by the time we were off the Deben. In 2014 also left the Butley river, this time just after HW and had a very easy run out with plenty of depth.

We left Orford a few minutes before low water (08:42). Going down into the tide meant that slack water didn't last very long and we saw the stream rise to a maximum of 2 knots against us. We were keeping well in to the east side of the river because I had read that this helps. Low water at Orford Haven Bar would have been 07:10 (1hr32min before Orford Quay) so when we passed the Weir SHB at 09:50 I suppose we were about 2hr40min after low water. When planning the passage I was worried about the stream having read that on the ebb it can reach 6 knots but we never saw anything like that and the whole thing went very well. I will do the same again next time.

Our course out was the exact reciprocal of the course in when we followed another larger, boat and had no depth scares. The only shallow bit we found was near the PHB Oxley and that was about 1.3m below our keel.
David Morgan
I think that either shows how patchy the shoals are (we probably weren't exactly behind you) or how inaccurate our depth gauge is :eek: Anyway, thanks for being our unofficial pilot.

I would just add that IMHO anyone who has the chance to visit this area really ought to do so. I am biased because I grew up there, but I rate the place as one of the most beautiful there is - the bird life and the views of Orford Castle and Church as you approach are stunning. We went right up to Snape but even if you just go to Orford it's a great experience.
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Cantata

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Athene V30

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Plum's experience is much the same as ours. Definite shoaling to NE of red buoy. Leaving about 9am Monday (so 2.5 hrs after local LW) a straight line from just off the green buoy to SWM showed a least depth of 2.3m. There are some useful trees to use as a back transit to watch out for sideways slippage!
 

ballyabroad

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Pretty much the same as us on Sunday LW+2 heading out, the tricky bit seemed to be missing the shoal in the river where there's a gap in the shingle knolls. We kept to the east side of the river heading out a boat length off the shingle. Where the gap in the shingle bank with water racing through it is, we hit 6m depth. We kept to this side until the shingle knoll re-appeared then ferry-glided over to the opposite bank. A good push to the Weir buoy (boat length off) and straight out to the SWM. No less than 2.3m depth. Timing worked well for getting back in to the Deben on the flood.
 

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