The Eventider's News






Issue Eleven Autumn/Winter 2008. 



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Spring Sailing.


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Welcome to the 11th Edition  of the Newsletter.

We welcome articles, photos, logs, (in one of our designs!) and any other snippets of information you might like to send in.



 EOG Events and sailing days.

  The May Day weekend BBQ



After a very promising April it was with some trepidation that I watched the weather as the first  May Bank Holiday  approached.  We need not have worried, it was terrific weather.  On our way to the meet we fell in with the GH Moonlight, but they had to give up as their roller reefing genoa had got itself jammed.  We sailed with them as far as their mooring at Stone.


Otteau sailing well on her way to Mundon.  The extra large genoa gives a great deal of power.





Sad thing was that it was only Nigel and Heidi, and our lad Michael and Karen that were ready...

Pic by Nigel.


We anchored off Mundon stone point as normal, but the beach this year was very occupied by  several families and a pair of buzzing jet skis.  They annoyingly buzzed back and forth for half the day, totally ignoring the speed limit and nearly wrapping towed youngsters round our bow on more than one occasion.

Pic by Nigel


Michael and Karen rafted up alongside, with double fenders, for the day.  Heidi and Nigel came and joined us on board.  Nigel did have to run the dogs ashore of course.  Two huge Basset hounds that seem so ungainly on the boats..  Must be fun on board a 24!

Pic by Nigel



How about this for irresponsible!  Count heads, there are 5 on this jet ski, including a babe in arms, and no lifejacket.  What you cannot see its the towrope and the 2 kids on doughnuts behind.. you notice how much attention they were getting from the helmsman.  I sent these pics to the River bailiff and as a result he read the riot act to the caravan park owner who permitted the launching and recovering of the boats.  Their antics spoilt the anchorage.


Tell me that is less than 8 knots...!  And the yellow buoy is the speed limit marker, would not have taken much to go the other side of it and be safe and legal.


After the wet bike crew ferried all their families off the beach, and the tide dropped, we enjoyed the quietness of the creek again, till this feller turned up!  Could not believe it.  We love planes and choppers, the Army lads from Wattisham and Colchester use out cottage as a turning place and they always wave back, great.  But up the creek?! 


Sorry it's a bit fuzzy, must have been the excitement!  Just wanted to show it actually landed.


Sunday we sailed out and met some of the local sailors.  Hope this crew find the pic.. They were sailing well.


Michael and Karen set off at speed to pick up friends from Bradwell and meet us later.  We were headed for one of the tiny creeks we often use and by the time we sailed down to the Nass they were back with us so we could pilot them in.  There is a maze of withies in Salcote creek, and if you did not know you would never venture in there....


Here we are in perfect conditions, anchored in the tiny creek, upstream of the oyster layings.  There is enough water, just to stay afloat at LW, but not half as much water as there was 10 years ago before they opened up the seawalls nearby to flood the land.  This 'Managed retreat' as the call it, was done for bird life, and in that it has excelled, however the creek has 2 metres more mud in it now just up from where we were anchored, and as a result there is only just room for one boat now..  We stayed rafted up.


The next morning we arranged to pick Darian's daughter Carol and her two lads up from the pontoon at West Mersea and take them out for the day.  Young Brandon is now tall enough to see where he is going and we had a great day, gently sailing up the Blackwater.


Of course young Horatio wanted to steer, and pull all the ropes and the engine controls, the mast, the anchor....  eventually we fitted him with a harness and let him use the jackstay, whilst we were anchored for lunch...   a very inquisitive and restless child, will go far, or as far as the harness will allow!


Don't you just love them to bits!


As we finished lunch, Richard with 'Serenity', came to see us, burgee proudly flying!  Good to see the boat sailing well.  Dear old Jack never used to sail much, but enjoyed using her just the same!


At least Carol could have five minutes peace as there were enough of us to look after Horatio.  She is helming us down the Blackwater here.


Darian even had the chance to relax, with all her chicks round her!  Penny for them dear....


By chance Darian still had Horatio's lawnmower in the back of our car, so when we got back to Bradwell, late that afternoon, for a meal together, all 9 of us!  Horatio helped out the Bradwell marina staff by cutting the grass for them.

It was a great weekend, the weather was terrific and we did actually meet 4 Eventiders and 1 friend!

Sadly the weather was all down hill after this....



Three Men in a Boat!


  The end of  May Bank Holiday was our cue for a cruise to the Southend Air Show, then on to the Chatham dockyard, returning via Ramsgate.....  Fiddler's Green was all geared up for the start...  Well that was the plan....

However the weather had taken a turn for the worse ever since the end of the first May Bank holiday, and so it was we watched the rain lash down on the Saturday and Sunday and heard the curtailment of flying due to the appalling conditions at Southend. 

Understandably I cancelled the trip to the Air Show!  We watched the weather closely and it looked as if it might get better towards the end of the week...  So on the Wednesday we set off from Bradwell, for a local rivers cruise, Mike Hoban, Brendan Mason and myself.




First stop was the Pyefleet, but not where most people try to anchor, as I have found that to be poor holding in places and boats drag, with amusing and annoying consequences.  No go up beyond all the oyster layings as marked on the chart, and there is still room to lie afloat at LW.  In the morning we were treated to the sight of seals on the mud nearby.  These creeks are often the home to small families of 4 or 5 seals.


The small price you pay for this sort of idyllic anchorage is the mud on the chain!  As the anchor stows on the bowsprit that getting muddy is not a problem, but the chain can make a mess and if you stow it below without first washing it, a dank smell below that is difficult to shift.  Here Brendan wields the bucket to flush away the mud before the chain is stowed.


Mike looks comfy in the cockpit, helming us out of the Pyefleet.  We motor slowly out and set course south for the Spitway.


Does not take many miles before the rain starts and the oilies are on, however the wind is light enough and the sailing is good!


Brendan gets the hang of the helm again, he has  sailed with me before.  Shame about the weather though.


At least as skipper I get to huddle under the spray hood!  We arrive at the Swin Spitway at about hour before LW and  go through the gap in 2 metres of water.


Entering the Crouch we come across loads more seals, on the Foulness sands.  We count 20 plus in this group and there is another similar group nearby.  They run trip boats out from Burnham to see them now!


We gently sail on up the Crouch, the rain stops and the sun is trying to come out!  We are making for North Fambridge and the mooring pontoon.  We eventually admit defeat in the dying breeze and putter up to the pontoon to moor up.  This is a nice spot to stop overnight, there is an honesty box in the nearby pub, the Ferryboat, and this is where we repair to for dinner!   The crew treat their skipper to a slap up meal of good honest Pub Grub! Brendan ends up buying a complete stranger a pint, as there is a birthday party at the same time, a local lad is 21!



The next day, after sampling the showers, we let go and, within yards get the sails up.  We sail all the way down the Crouch, past the commercial wharfs and moorings, with the sails goose winged most of the way.  We eventually round into the R. Roach bringing the boat onto the wind for a while, before switching the iron topsail on to putter up as far as Paglesham.


With Paglesham just astern we very slowly motor down stream to find a spot to anchor for the night.  We had stopped on our hook for an hour at the top of the tide, for lunch..  The weather is improving now and the clouds are parting to reveal blue, the wind has died to a zephyr.


The next morning, after a wonderfully quiet night, we awake to blue skies and sunshine!  A very leisurely breakfast then I figure we can gently putter off down stream and try our luck across the Raysand channel.


There really is not a ripple round us as we up hook and make off down stream. when it is like this you do not want to spoil the silence of these creeks, and I am pleased I have the Beta on board, for at just above tickover it is barely audible...



As we cross the sand a faint breeze springs up and after a while wrestling with the sails I bring out the cruising chute. It does not often see the light of day.  It is easy to set in it's snuffer, but all the hassle of rigging it, well it is more complicated than just unrolling the genoa!  Today was an ideal occasion, the wind looked to be constant and gentle for hours, indeed it stayed up for 4 hours, gently pulling us along at 1 knot !  Then as we approached the Bench Head Buoy in the mouth of the Blackwater, the wind died and it just hung there....  I watched boats all round us becalmed..  But further away, on the horizon I noticed a few boats leaning to a new stiff breeze, from the opposite direction....  I snuffed the  chute and within seconds a stiff F5 hit us, from dead ahead!   Boats near us were laid over!  We kicked the Beta into action and gently motored the last 4 miles home to the Nass.  Pays to keep your eyes open!

For the last night I decided we could pick up my mooring at Tollesbury.  A chance for the lads to see the area and it's charms and for me to check on the condition of my riser chain.  The chain was worn, to about 1/4" in places, enough to hold us, but also enough for me to want to replace it, which I did later in the year, it has 3/8th chain on it again now! 

We dried out nearly upright and next day, explored Tollesbury, Woodrolfe Creek, up  to the Marina, before going for  a leisurely sail in the Blackwater, and back to Bradwell in the afternoon.

Though we had not gone far, we had experienced varied weather and sailing, good company and food.  A good cruise.  My thanks to Brendan and Mike for their splendid company.





The July washout!



The weather was so bad for the July Cruise that though our friends Phil and Val came over to stay with us at Bluebell Cottage, it was so wet, even when the wind eased, that we never got Fiddler's Green out once.   We did the cinema and a trip to a retail park, different, at least they were under cover...

However we did borrow the lads motor boat one day, and with the canopy at the rear up to keep out the rain, we had a bumble in the Blackwater. 

We picked up a buoy at Tollesbury and watched the intrepid youngsters being taught to sail in the rain, up and down the creek.    From here I could see my mooring buoy further up Woodrolfe creek, but it was hard aground

Darian had bought the picnic hamper and we dined royally on scones, strawberry jam and cream!

We surprised the locals by picking our way out through a narrow gutway that gives another route in and out of Tollesbury.  Though it was still wet and windy, we were dry and warm in the cabin of 'Bombastique'.  That was the end of the July cruise.









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