The Eventider's News




Issue Six, Spring/Summer 2006 



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 Last years trips.



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The Southend Air Show and the London Trip, 2005

You have to open this to appreciate it!

Several boats left the River Blackwater early in the morning of the Saturday of the May Bank Holiday Weekend.  We were in company with Rodney Leaper in his Barbican, as a 'hangeron', and Otteau, with member Mike and crew, Liam and Pat.


We motor-sailed out as the breakfast went down and the sun came up.  We took the last of the ebb towards the Swin Spitway and along with a couple of dozen other boats, picked our way through the sands.  On the other side we met 'Dougaljo' and 'friend' Graeme with 'Grayling'.


 The light breeze as ever headed us, so we half sailed, half motored on southwards.


Mike  and his young crew were really enjoying themselves, it was their first outing from this part of the world, having moved the boat up from the South coast.





The genoas and mainsails were up and down like yo yos!


Motor sailing was the order of the day though.



    We pass close by the Maplin Buoy.  Hardly a ripple on the water, but a good spring flood running.
  Some chose to pass closer than others!
    Linda and Graeme pass the old mulberry off Southend
          We arrive off Southend as the planes fill the sky. We have grandstand seats anchored in the Leigh Gut.  However  rafting up has to be done carefully for the wash of passing craft in the river is far worse than the little boats nearby.  We rig springs to ensure out masts do not clash.  The Barbican does not stop, but peels off to head south.
  We espy another Eventide nearby.  The skipper does not acknowledge us.  The Eventide looks as if the owner lives aboard, a large chimney is visible!


   Right-E-Oh arrives.  They have come along behind us, all the way from Walton.
  Otteau and F.G. raft up, the planes diving through the rigging!
  Right-E-Oh and Dougaljo raft up, but a horrendous swell comes over the sands and luckily they only had a single line on as it struck.  Brian hurriedly backs away, but not before he is given a good clout by Dougaljo's mast!  Luckily nothing broken, only a redundant bracket bent!
  Fiddlers Green finds a place to spend the night, further up the Ray. We sound out for a spot to stay afloat, and manage it, just.
  Grayling settles gently in the mud as the tide drops.  We have a pleasant night sheltered behind the sands.
  The next morning the water taxi, in the shape of Brian and Mavis arrives.  Grayling and Otteau set off back for home, Grayling has halyard trouble, they are too big for the sheaves.  there is so much friction the sails are hard to raise.  Add to that his roller gear fails and he is now dependant on the motor and the anchor.  we wave them off and keep an ear open for them for a while. We all repair to Dougaljo for tea and cakes.  We will leave a little later to head up to Erith, where I have friends offering free moorings for the night.
    One of the locals has been sunning on the sands and watches as we creep out.....
  Past the Chapman and on up the Thames.
  Under the QE2 Bridge, with it's constant roar of traffic.
  Up through the Barrier, I find the Woolwich radio has changed to 'London VTS'!
  We pick up moorings at the EYC.  We spend a quiet evening and night here, only to be rolled out of our bunks by the Tug 'Friston Down ' the next morning.  she always put in a swell!
  My crew Phil, back at home on the tideway, we have difficulty naming all the wharves though, so much change since this was our beat!
  As it is late May, early June, the Dunkirk little Ships are on the river.  We get a cheery wave.
  Passing up by Greenwich, there are so many new buildings, nice pads...
           HW, arrive at Tower Bridge.  We have only a few moments to wait and we are locked in, but you just have to get your pic against that back drop!
        St. Kats is busy, we are expected and get club discount, rafting together in the corner.  That night we have a meal together, with a live jazz session thrown in.  The singer is good, turns out it is the late Dick Emery's daughter.  I buy her CD and it is still being played.
          To work up an appetite we do the Thames walk..  Up over Tower Bridge, then all along the South Bank to the 'wobbly bridge' and back along the other side!  a good walk.
    Down river the next afternoon, F.G. sets off a little ahead of the other two, to meet them later at the Dome.  We lock out early and set off to visit Paul a friend and another ex Thames man, who looks after the pier there.  We catch up with the others negotiate the barrier and the ferry and gently putter down to Erith.  This is a civilised way to cruise the tideway, otherwise you are very much pushed for time, as the trip down does not give you as long a favourable tide.  HW Southend being about an hour before London Bridge.
  Grey and a little chilly, but a good breeze for the trip down river.
  We pick up moorings again, in time for front row seats at Erith's Wednesday night races!
  As the crews race past, we are invited to the clubhouse, an ex Norwegian Ferry the 'Fogelfon'.
  The bar is quite high!  Sorry Mavis!

 The evening was a great success.  Meeting old friends and great hospitality.

  The next day another civilised putter down river.  The weather is kind, no rain this year!
  Clements or Fiddler's Reach.  The banks are lowering and the river widening, the hills of Kent to the south of us.  we are heading for the Medway and a creek anchorage for the night.
  The petro-chemical works and refinery at Thames Haven does not make a good backdrop, but it does show another face of the Tideway.
  We spent two nights in Half Acre Creek.  Just a few moments after we arrive it blows and the heavens open.  No rafting together tonight!  We spend all the next day there, eventually rafting on two anchors...

The next day is a lovely day.  sunny and smooth, we sail out of the Medway and spot a tall ship sailing down.  I recon I can get close so from a mile away plot to close him as we cross.  We pass a few boats lengths off, Doug took this pic.  I ran out of film!  We look tiny by comparison.


Right-E-Oh sails on ahead trying to make Walton on the tide, Doug and F.G. sail in company to the Spitway.  We arrive back in the Blackwater spot on HW.  Well timed.

She does look a picture!

A great weeks cruise. Great company.  In 2006 we are going to sail up to Chatham instead!  Come and join us!


 Doug and Jo, Mavis and Brian, John and Phil.



Portsmouth Festival of the Sea. 2005.

We had a card from Malcolm and a short letter as well, we also spotted one of our number in his GH there, in the background on a BBC interview!  Dressed overall as well, well done!  We hope a write up of this will come our way.

The Summer trips...... Somehow Fiddler's Green missed them......

Bad back....


West Mersea Meet, Saturday 27th August, H.W. approx 1900 BST. The August Bank Holiday...... We are to be  Guests once again of Maurice's old club..... A night in Pyefleet for Sunday maybe and a BBQ on the beach if we can Sunday afternoon.  A really nice weekend for a change, 4 boats plus visiting crews by road!  We enjoyed a drink on the lawn and a meal in the club... The moorings were so good the boats stayed for Sunday night as well, or was it the pull of the oysters??

It was so good a weekend that Bradwell Marina closed it's doors to visitors from Saturday lunchtime on!  The Pyefleet was chock a block with boats too!  The boats that attended said it was the best days sailing, just the right amount of wind in the right direction too.  Even on the way home the Crouch based boats had a fair breeze from the Whittaker!


Walton BBQ  Saturday September 17th evening BBQ, Stone Point, HW Harwich about 1200 BST, LW about 1800 BST. return with the tide to Blackwater and Crouch the next morning. There is a story to come in based on this weekend!




However come September we were back on the water, sadly one of the first jobs was to scatter Barry's ashes, see  his  pages .......    but there were other days......

  On my first  day out I was pleased to have Steve on board, Steve a fellow officer, married my niece and has sailed with me a couple of times, today was a sunny one for a change.  note how calm the water is! 
  The other crew for the day, brother in law Keith!  Steve married his daughter!  Thanks to Keith I got out afloat  after my long lay up.

       Another  day out, this time in October with our fund Manager, Brian West J.P.

    We managed to goose wing against the tide for hours, making little progress but enjoying the sail!
    We crept past the Thirslet, you can see the strength of the tide!
    Charlie Stock in 'Shoal Waters' sailed the other way, at speed with the tide behind him!  we carried on till the other side of Osea and Low Water, then, just before we hit bottom we turned and slowly motored home.   A very gentle day out, easy does it!  Back is getting a lot better!

  Trafalgar Night and Cruise!

Trafalgar Bicentennial, Friday October 21st.  Get together, for a meal and a pint or two in the Marina Bar at Bradwell.   We are hoping to start with a celebration of Nelson  in the Bradwell Marina clubhouse!  there may be poems and song, even a small play-let!  The idea is to have a fun night, but to remember one of England's Hero's as well! 


  Sadly the weather for the few days before Trafalgar, Oct 21st, were rough....   I was not sure if I was going to make it either, let alone Darian, for her daughter was about to give birth, she brought us a grandson at 11.15 on the morning of Trafalgar, and though I refer to him as Horatio his name on paper is Sebastian!  As he grows up I hope he gets used to me!

  Fortunately his early arrival meant I could join in the celebrations at Bradwell!  I had organised an evening of song and poetry, with silly quotes as well.

About 20 Eventiders turned out,  though due to the weather there were no boats. berthed in the marina that night but F.G.   Paul Usher booked a berth with us for the night.  Paul is doing the restoration of Fram and doing a good job of it too!.. 

We enjoyed the night, though my singing was not up to scratch,  Mike in the bar did us proud.

  The next day, Keith and I set off in bright sunshine to do the figure of eight round the islands of Osea and Northey!  Not a feat to be tried except with a little local knowledge and a good, rising tide!
  On the way we bumped into all the local boats who did not come down by sea!  Tony and his son David were out there in their Seniors, as there was Sid boarding 'Ramillies' the Riptide, the Eventide Mayna was out sailing and Doug with the Vulcan was on his mooring off the Prom!.
  We also met with other local boats and friends!   Now there was a nice welcome!   Long time friend Arthur, just happened to be on the water that day as well!
  We drift round the back of Northey, skim over the causeway with half a metre to spare... where the Battle of Maldon took place a thousand odd years ago, sail slowly and then more slowly as the wind drops to nothing....  The tide is now away and we are loathe to, but really have to put the motor on and spoil the silence...  we very slowly and as quietly as we can, motor out into the Blackwater and across to the Osea causeway.   The river is empty almost, just a few boats in view... The tide is well on the turn now.   Over the causeway with a metre clear.

We gently motor round the back of Osea,  watching the birdlife on the back of the island in the binoculars...  The laptop and the chart plotter agree with the echo sounder and we trace the channels and mud banks a metre beneath us.....  We putter slowly on, exiting from the shallows just as the sun starts to light the evening sky. There is barely a breath of wind and the tide now  well away  as we motor back up stream and slip into Lawling creek.

    We drop the hook in a strange stillness, almost too quiet to have the motor on at all, thankfully it is near silent at this speed.  The evening is magic.  And this is October 22nd!


We sit in the cockpit and watch the sun drop into the saltings, then repair below for a dinner that is tempting our taste buds from the oven.  The paraffin lamps are lit and we relax below over a jar or two.  Perfect!

      It was still quiet and peaceful the next morning, so we sail the hook out and drift down under genoa.  We do not want to spoil the stillness of it all.  The sun is actually hot and we are splashing on suntan cream, in October!
  The weather is so fair, just look at that sky, we set the chute, for the first time in years...  It stays up for hours!  Real Magic.  Last sail of the season!

Well didn't we have a great night and a good end of season cruise!!  The weather played fair, we had one of the best sailing weekends of the season, shorts and t-shirts weather, did the 'figure of eight' round Northey and Osea, with Pewit thrown in for good measure!  Some great pics of the Eventiders we sailed with on the way!

John Williams

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