In the footsteps of my grandfather..back to the Ferry

Felixstowe was a big part of our lives as a children and it still is; Allan, Gwynn & Hubert Jobson lie in Old Felixstowe chruchyard now and I remember them as I pass by. One of our regular walks in the late’60s was down to the Ferry was along the shore from Jacobs Ladder and unbeknowst to me at the time we wandered along a coastline blessed with a very reliable laminar flow…it is something of miracle but the wind blows there from 3 compass points even when it’s flat calm across the entire kingdom of East Anglia.

Yesterday was no exception, Clive Hollins and I had the time and inclination to hang a camera in the skies that were blue and hazy but bereft of wind of any kind. The forecasters said what wind there was should be Easterly so off to the East we went.

3 D70 images montaged in PTGui: we never got it much more than 10m above the deck!

Norman Scarfe wrote in the clipped shorthand of the Shell guide to the county in 1960: “Felixstowe Ferry was an agreeable collection of holiday shacks and informal buildings oposite Bawdsey : apearance finally spoilt by sea defence works since the great tide of January 1953 that drowned forty people in the Langer Road area.

The sea wall has weathered into the beach line now some 40 years later.

A good kicking breeze was blowing inland over the rising tide so flying a serious camera seemed in order. Standing on the sea wall I loosed the precious D70 into 9.5mph under 2.7m2 of Flowform and the oddness began. I have never experienced this before but the kite rose into the wind, pulled hard and then, under load, it flagged, drifting downwind but failing to develop lift. We prepare a bigger kite, against all instict given the airflow at ground level 4.m2 of parafoil is flung into the wind,  using the lightest line I have the 1kg of DSLR limps into the sky…and then having risen about 10m sinks slowly down wind..what on earth is going on?

Clearly this is an inverse laminar flow! The heavy camera won’t fly in this so our 3rd attempt at the seaguls eye view is with the lightest rig, biggest kite and lightest line available, and we ride the fading airlflow for about half an hour (having wasted an hour getting to grips the novelty of inverse laminar flow with varous combinations of kite, line and rig..what larks!) I’m not sure about this but I think the seawall was the cause of the trouble: the tide was rising very fast and I wonder if the displacment of a lot of cold water might have something to do with what was happening.

I think the wind speed at 5m over the crown of the bank was half  that at 1m. As the kite rose it got less lift. To make matters worse by the time we had figured this out the peak flow had passed and the post midday cooling of the air had begun.

So the X1 got the shots in the end.

I’m still keen to get close to the magnificent hull beached upriver, even from afar I can see it’s a very refined marine form. One day, when the wind is kinder we’ll do it!

About billboyheritagesurvey

Heritage worker
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4 Responses to In the footsteps of my grandfather..back to the Ferry

  1. jokerxl says:

    Went through Felixstowe docks Thursday night, didn’t look as good as that!
    “inverse laminar flow” eh? Right.
    I’ll stick to; wet finger in the air, if kite rises – good wind, attach camera, if kite falters – bad wind, go home.
    (at least for the time being)
    Had an hour in a hot-air balloon yesterday, fabulous experience!

    • This was a case of matching the kite to the wind, usually it’s as you say but sometimes I think the wind plays with us!

      Felixstowe Docks is a whole subjuct in it self, I still havn’t figured out how to fly a camera over the shipping but I really want to!

      Show us yer ballon shots then!

  2. Jon Blake says:

    Making a fantastic place look better!

    • We never saw it before the sea wall went in but yes its a really good spot a rare mix of nauticallia sea and riverscape…and a great place to fly a kite! They still sell fresh caught fish there…remember Hubert bringing it home newspaper wrapt on the bike?

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