The Eventider's News


Issue 13 Autumn/Winter 2009 


Page 8


Summer sailing 2009



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Summer sailing 2009



Looking at the sky in this picture, taken one one of the first days of our summer cruise, you could be forgiven for thinking we were about to get wet!  during the whole week it missed us.  We are here off towards the Crouch, heading for a jazz  event at North Fambridge .


We had a great sail into the river, skirting over the end of the Swallow Tail sands  at low water, with 0.2 showing on the sounder, much to the amazement of the girls.  We passed the dozens of seals, all high and dry on the sands.  As the afternoon wore on the breeze died and with the last of the flood still with us, we rounded up and came alongside an empty pontoon.  that does not happen often here!  We were to eat on board but my crew had other ideas, so we had a pleasant evening in the Ferry boat.


We spotted this Eventide coming down, they rounded up and stopped alongside , just for long enough to find out who they were.  'Island of winds' I knew a little of her history, she had been built on an island in Aden harbour when UK forces were there in the 1960's..  Shipped back to the UK she seems to have always lived around the Thames or Essex rivers.  They  said they had most of it  written down and  said they would be in touch, which they were.


The stay at Fambridge and the Jazz event, was great. sorry no pics of that..  It was good and we hope it coincides with 2010's cruise, because we will be back!  Monday we  motored down  in very calm conditions and took time to explore Bridgemarsh Marina and linger amongst the moorings looking at the variety of craft.  Of all those we saw, this one down near rice and Coles Yard took the biscuit.  No pretence at being anything other than a shed on the water!  Bet the owner loved sitting there watching the world go past!

January 2010, post script. Today by chance one of my Seagull customers popped in and this boat came up in conversation.  It has an amazing history and equally amazing owner.

Seems long before WWII it was the moorings boat for Rice and Coles boatyard at Burnham, it had no propulsion, but took 4 men to work the 4 winches on board raising and maintaining the moorings here, took another launch to tow it as well.   Laid up during WWII it went a funny shape and when Nick at the yard eventually bought a steel barge to replace it, she was due to be burnt. A local character, a multi millionaire by chance and hard work, said he would save her.  He had the yard fit her out with the best garden shed available, as one time she had a wood burner stove.  She has smart cooking and sleeping accommodation and even a proper loo.  He had the stern lengthened slightly with a bathing platform, so she was of a length he could fly a defaced blue ensign, to annoy the snotties no doubt.  Some years back the owner eloped to Gretna Green and married his long time partner, on their return the yard had towed the boat into a tiny creek up river, where they spent their honeymoon.

 My customer said he had seen her on the move on the river only last week and she was well used, great, we can do with more people like this!


The foulness range boat scurried past a couple of times, purposeful looking vessel, a converted trawler by the look of her....


Phil took this one of myself his wife Val and my Darian.  Was not exactly Tee shirt weather, but warm and dry that was the main thing.  we pottered up to Paglesham on the roach, anchored off foulness and even dinghied ashore and walked to the Post Office. (pub now shut sadly)  At least we could buy an ice cream.  Was like stepping back 30 years.  There is only one place you can land on the island, and only one path you can walk.  We were aware we were under observation!  Nothing sinister, but the MOD Landover just happened to appear... all the land under army control and the only road on across the Havengore bridge.


A day or so later we were motoring head to wind, down the crouch, wanting to sail through the Raysand Channel.  we heard some loud bangs on the starboard quarter.  Pillars of black  smoke rose up, one after another, a short break and then repeated again and again.  something big was being tested on the range!


If you have ever missed the Raysand marker, well this last season it is larger! we  are able to get a reefed sail up and motor sail hard on the starboard tack through the Ray.  shame is the wind had actually been blowing reasonably hard from the northeast for several days, but we had not really noticed, in the shelter of the creeks.  here though the seas were steep, as the water was shallow, and several times breakers climbed aboard the side deck!


We entered the Blackwater  a little before high water and then slowly sailed up against the ebb toward Maldon.  We spotted Douglas with his Vulcan in the distance, too late to say hello, but waved! 


A little later we spotted the Eventide Trudy and exchange pleasantries with her skipper


Several times during the week we were hailed, this one came as a real nice surprise, Vic Maynard, once owner of one of our boats but sold up years ago and came back to join us as a friend, part owner of CK46!  Here anchored  off Osea.


The next day, after a night in one of my favourite anchorages, watching the seals, we spot Sea Willow off Maldon. See her out an about occasionally.  Mike her skipper does not sail her far, but then, it's the enjoyment not the distance isn't it.!    

Sailing further up towards Maldon we catch Douglas on his Vulcan, she is moored opposite the Maldon Prom, bet she is one of the most photographed boats here!


We sail all the way up the river, even past the barges moored on Maldon Quay. but we cannot go too much further and a few hundred yards on, roll up the genoa and gently motor back down stream.  We spend another night in a creek, this time Salcote near West Mersea, another of my favourite creeks.


Here are the crew, Val, Phil and Darian, at the end of another weeks gentle cruising in the Essex creeks, smiles all round! Darian especially likes it when we tow the dinghy, not sure why, maybe she sees it as the emergency exit if the skipper cuts up rough!



We sailed back into Bradwell that evening and sat and watched the sun go down from the marina bar, where we enjoyed a splendid meal courtesy of Mick and Anita the managers, great way to end a great week.  No mileage to speak of, lots of gentle genoa runs, plenty of quiet pottering under motor, lots of wildlife and sunshine as well. Same again for 2010 please...


 builder and proud owner of Eventide 'Fiddler's Green'




West Mersea 2009


The weather was so foul on the Saturday of the West Mersea Meet that we took the car over and another crew, Doug and Jo, with us.  We met up with other members, Sally and Tony, Nigel and Heidi and friends in West Mersea Y.C. for a drink, but not out side on MG's bench!  We all met up at the Oyster bar and had another great meal! The next day we met up with this crew, and I have to admit I have mislaid their information.. it will come back.. they are members, but no name on the boat... 


They were just out for a sail, not really intending to join us at Mersea but the weather was so foul they dropped into Bradwell for a quiet night!


The following day, Sunday, we picked up our Michael and Karen and they joined us for a couple of days. we had a slow sail up towards Maldon and sailed past this WW, cicerone II.  the new owner has a huge job to renovate her, she had been let go a little...  hope to see progress in 2010...


We dropped the hook in 2 metres just off Mundon Stone point in the entrance of Lawling creek, not far from our local seal population, much to the amazement of our crew.  There were 8 seals, that sunbathed, swam and played on the mud alongside us as the tide rose, then went off fishing, occasionally surfacing nearby. Good to see them, means there are fish here too!


The next day we puttered up to Maldon prom, then had a slow sail back down river in the afternoon.  Michael had enjoyed himself so much that he hankered after a boat again, another motor boat of course.  So with modern technology, here he is steering the boat with one hand and surfing the net with another.  He found just what he wanted and within an hour was arranging to go and look, the rest is history and 'Karená' was launched in the October.  she is the same length as us, 27' 3" but in a different league!


So here is Darian sprinkling a little bubbly on the bow and naming Karen and Michael's new boat, Karená!  She is a Jeanneau Merry Fisher 805, similar to the boat they used to follow us about in before, but plusher in every way! with all mod cons, hot showers, holding tanks, luxurious forward cabin with huge double berth, separate heads, wheelhouse and sun deck on top, she is topped with a 200 hp turbo charged motor and has a top speed of over 20 knots.  Great fun.


Here are the proud new owners on board for the first time!  Michael and John delivered the boat to Bradwell, were she is now.  After a month or two of tinkering she is about as good as it gets, all mod cons include electric winch and bow thruster.  All the latest nav gear and room for 4 in comfort. I see Darian and I will be shipping as crew for the odd dash around the estuary!  Ramsgate here we come! Time for Michael and Karen to put all that training into practice, all those hours Michael spent poring over charts in his night school classes!




Walton Meet, or not!!


September 09 and the forecast was great, so Otteau, Dougaljo and Fiddler's Green met off Bradwell at 0700 and sailed off in company towards a rendezvous with Right Eh Oh in the Walton Backwaters.   The breeze was just right and we roared off under sail, out of the Blackwater into a watery dawn. I must admit the huge bank of cloud to the North East was not promising....


The sky was tinged with red from the sunrise as we hardened sheets and sailed on. Doug as ever had his motor ticking over.  My crew, Phil and I were keeping a special eye out for him as he was on his own and this was about the first trip he had made since the hip opp!


Shortly after we are passing the NW Knoll and Nigel and Heidi show us what their new large sails can do...  Otteau has a much deeper main keel than most E24's, an extra 9" depth I would suspect, makes her stand up to her canvas better and sail really well.    

It is not many minutes before Otteau is off, leaving us trailing...  At this stage the fates deal us a blow, the weather forecast!  Listening to the coastguard forecast I cannot believe it, they are now talking of SW7's for tomorrow!  Just what we would want coming back SW down the Wallet!  Reluctantly I have to admit defeat. OK I could hang on a day or two till it abated, but my crew could not and I doubted the others could, so we call Dougaljo and tell hem we are going to head back.  Doug has heard it too!

We then try and raise Otteau...  No answer.....


After trying all the channels I gave up with the VHF and got out the searchlight!  Even in the morning light it was bright enough to be seen!  soon we had them on the VHF and they stormed back towards us!


We turn and catch up with Doug.  2 boats will make for Mundon, Lawling creek, but Otteau thinking about it decides to go for a local sail and get back into Tollesbury tonight,   they wisely do not fancy bobbing about in the creek waiting in the wind for the tide tomorrow!  So we now have a very leisurely sail, against the ebb, into the Blackwater.


Nigel and Heidi break out their new secret weapon, a rather large cruising chute, acquire on eBay recently!  At one stage we think they are about to fly!  they roar past us on their way towards Maldon!

We  gently pull into Lawling Creek for a very pleasant afternoon and evening, with Dougaljo rafted up alongside.



The only disturbance came in the form of 2 powered parachutes that slowly came towards us, from Maldon way, following the HW mark.  At one stage we thought they were going to come down, but gently, if noisily rounded up and went back the way they came...


That night we had a brilliant sunset and the bad forecast seemed well awry, but by dawn it was blowing hard and we left at about half tide into a good F6. Fun and games on the way out as Dougaljo must draw an inch or two more than FG, and she touched and stopped. fortunately Doug was able to back her of and take another route, otherwise we would have felt obliged to go back and sit on the mud with him! We slowly puttered back, arriving on the first of the afternoon flood. We arranged to quickly berth and nip over to fend off for Doug, but he had no problem and was in the berth just waiting for his shore crew to pass the lines as we got there.


That was the last organised sail for the year, but I did manage to get away for a few days later, with Phil and brother in law Keith, for our normal end of season cruise in October.  I'll save that for another day!


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