Bringing Home the Mave Rhoe
by Charles Pears
The Yachting & Boating Monthly, 1908
THE Mave Rhoe is a 4-ton spoon-bow counter-stern craft designed by Mr. Flemmich, and built in 1903 by the Teignmouth Yacht and Shipbuilding Company. She had been laid up in a salting at Aldeburgh in 1906 and had remained there until I bought her.
As everyone knows, the water at Aldeburgh is influenced considerably in its rise and fall by the direction and strength of the wind. Thus it was a stroke of luck that the wind shifted to the right quarter when I arrived at Aldeburgh with a friend who henceforth will be known as "Live Ballast."
We at once proceeded to Slaughden and there found just enough water. We hauled off.
As there had been poignant signs of high winds for three days, we were pleasantly surprised the following day to find ourselves gliding down the Ald River in what might have been mistaken for a glorious summer morning. This pleasantry upon the part of the weather helped to annul the annoyance caused by the announcement that the plate had rusted to the keel and would not lower. There, indeed, it remained in spite of repeated heavy blows with a sledge-hammer. Yet, in spite of this and contrary to expectations, she did not make much leeway in the river, though she was dead slow. No doubt the strong tide made her fetch higher than she otherwise would have done.
The rivers Ald and Ore, down which we were skidding, are most interesting; but they cannot be called beautiful, even if Orford village, seen from the river as an oasis in the deserted district, might be classed as very pretty. Thereabouts one passes miles and miles - it impresses one so - of bare shingle and a skyline spiked, to seaward, with hundreds of evenly-spaced telegraph-poles.
We sailed thirteen miles. Nearing the mouth, we noticed the sea was like a duck pond, with just a gentle roller or two breaking upon the bar. Sounding the now boiling, tide-ripped waters of the river with the lead, we ventured out across the ever-shifting bar - I am told the entrance has shifted about half a mile within the last year - a bar which most books of sailing instructions say must not be attempted, without a pilot. Two fathoms, one, two and a half,one and a half. This would do. Up helm and out over it. Heave!. bump! Heave again as the next roller came. Bump! One more heave, and thoughts of the "Galloping Major" were interrupted by the voice of the lead proclaiming us clear and out in the sea. We had to make an offing, and whilst doing this it was so calm that we set the topsail. It was hazy, and we could only just make out the shore half a mile away. Bringing her up to the wind, we could point one point higher than the course to the Gunfleet Head Buoy, which should have been right for tide allowance.