Yesterday I got up early to go and see the spectacle of up to 100 boats racing in the Wells leg of North West Norfolk Sailing week …. but there was not a sail in sight. Instead, at the top of the tide, there was a remarkable stillness – no wind, no movement, no boats. This unnoticed fraction of time when the water is neither ebbing nor flowing is aptly named slack water – the tide is holding its breath.
Sometimes the tide feels as if the world has been turned sharply on its side and the water rushes in violently filling the channels with foaming waves. The moorings of the yachts pull as the unstoppable water tugs at their ropes and creates eddies and whirlpools as it races around their hulls. The strength is frightening. However, yesterday this power was forgotten as after high tide the water began to drain slowly out of the harbour and its glassy surface was only disturbed by the wash of an occasional boat making its way out to sea for a days fishing. Gently, with an imperceptible emptying of the channel the tide began to recede back to the North Sea ….
…. and it turned out that the event had been cancelled due to a lack of wind.