My Sailing Trip, The Classic Sailing Club | Ipswich

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I found a wonderful little yacht charter company that is based in Pin Mill on the river Orwell. What is great about the company is that it only has beautiful old classic wooden yachts and membership entitles you to sign on as a crew member or passenger on a trip or if you are a competent sailor, you can book the boat for yourself.

I became a member which cost around £50 and entitled me to half a day of sailing along the River Orwell – great! Soon afterwards I was back as a crew member on a two day trip round the coast and up the River Alde to Aldeburgh.

I can’t tell you how much fun this was.  Here is a picture diary of my sailing trip…

All kitted out in the best professional looking gear to mask my incompetence, I set off. We left Pin Mill early in the morning
and set off down the River Orwell.

Thames Barge, River Orwell, Suffolk

An hour or so later we were at the mouth of the river where Felixstowe docks are. You obviously need to check your route so you don’t get too close to these chaps. They say steam gives way to sail but personally I would not risk this kind of crazy ‘chicken’ game!

Felixstowe Docks, River Orwell, Suffolk

Sailing up the River Orwell in Suffolk

Up the coast we went in ‘Night Wind’ led by Capt Will and Caressa, led by Capt Ian (the handsome chap in the beard).


After a couple of hours we were nearing the Rive Alde, this is a bit tricky going in but a great opportunity for sanding some of the  weeds off the keel. The trick is to get quite close into the bank and do it at the highest of tides, otherwise you will have a lot to talk about in the pub later.

Sailing on the River Orwell, Suffolk

Of course we glided through with purposeful elegance (thanks for the £5 Ian) and grabbed the wind for a race up the river and on to Orford. There are 5 great things about Orford:

Orford Castle, which at the time cost one tenth of the entire GDP of England to build.

Orford Castle, Suffolk

The weird and wonderful MOD Pagodas on the fabulous Orford Ness nature reserve. You can get a ferry at the quay to take you over but make sure you check this out with the National Trust first, who run these very popular trips.

Pagodas, Suffolk

The Jolly Sailor pub

Jolly Sailor pub, Suffolk

The wonderful smokeries

Smokehouses in Suffolk

Suffolk smokeries

…and the famous Butley Orford Oysterage.

Butley Oysteridge, Suffolk

The Butley Orford Oysterage

The Butley Orford Oysterage

If you like seafood, and you don’t like it tasting of something else, then this is the place to come. They serve great seafood straight from the sea onto your plate with the minimal amount of messing around.

Don’t come here for the side orders or sauces, because they don’t do them; just bread and butter and a salad. You come here for the real taste of excellent sea food, the freshest fish, the best local oysters and great crab, lobster and smoked delicacies.

They also have a shop … so you can do much better than a doggie bag when you leave! It’s a simple place with great food and a friendly service.

The Butley Orford Oysterage

Needless to say I had three main courses because I always have to have the crab whatever else I might want to order and then found out I had missed the smoked eel on toast – so had to check that out as well…

Naturally, we followed our meal with a degestivo in the Jolly Sailor.

The Jolly Sailor, Suffolk

That evening there was a village feast in the main square and the locals just rolled up with food and shared tables with friends and neighbours. That’s the way Suffolk is.

Orford street party

Orford at night

It was a late at night by the time we found the right dingy to paddle back to the yacht.

Aldeburgh was our next stop, this is a lovely little town right on the sea. There are no amusement arcades, no candy floss, just a laid back atmosphere, with great pubs and restaurants – which I had to photograph.

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

… so here are a selection we visited.

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Aldeburgh also has two great fish and chip shops that have very strict opening times and are more difficult than the restaurants to get into, as you can see!

Fish and chips in Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Next morning, bright and early, we headed back home to Pin Mill on the Shotley Peninsula.

Aldeburgh, Suffolk

Sailing in Suffolk

Where we arrived conveniently at lunchtime…

Woolverstone Hall, Shotley Peninsula, Suffolk

Pin Mill, Suffolk

Pin Mill, Suffolk

The Butt and Oyster, Suffolk

…just right for some excellent fish and chips at the best pub in England: The Butt & Oyster

The Butt and Oyster, Pin Mill, Suffolk

Thanks Ian, for a great couple of days!

The Yachts are based at Levington Marina, postcode: IP10 0LN

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