The Eventider's News


Issue 16 Late Summer  2011.



Page 8


Late Summer sailing 2011 and where to in 2012?




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A weekend sail in August


We did not manage many days or nights on board this year, it has been the worst weather I can recall.  When it was not raining it was blowing fit to bust.  Only those lucky enough to be in the water in March got much summer!

However by mid summer I had acquired a new mainsail. and this was the first time out.  I had it cut with a hollow leech and no battens and the sail was a foot shorter in the luff than my previous sail, as it was a standard Eventide sail.  However it had also a very high angle on the boom, so all in all it was about 15square foot less in area than my last main.  Apart from the high boom, which is not a bad thing, you cannot tell the difference.


Here we are in a deserted Blackwater Main and genoa, note new sheets for genoa after 20 years!  We sailed up river for the morning before turning and gently sailing into Salcott creek for the evening.    

This is the view through the port at sunset.     

It was a magnificent sky and a very quiet night, as forecast.  However it was not to last!    

Leaving Mersea Quarters the next day with just a few rolls in the genoa, we watched the Mersea week lads hurtling about.  the F" forecast had once again become a F4 to 5 gusting 6 later.  we figured we did not have to prove anything and sailed over to the Bradwell side at a good 5 knots under genoa alone, befor dowsing the sail and puttering back to our berth at Bradwell.    

There was a procession of old gaffers whizzing past.  Strange they do not wave or say hello?  Must be terribly serious stuff for these guys!    

After lunch we concluded it was too nice to go home, though a bit breezy on the water, so we opted to go for a long walk.  We walked the seawall from the Marina to the other end of the Orlops managed retreat.  (think I have the name right there.).  It was deserted, apart from one bird watcher doing a bird survey.  Sadly it was also devoid of wild life.  Odd that.  But between the salt marsh and the heavily cultivated farm land you would have thought it would have been teeming with birds etc.  No lizards, a few rabbit droppings and that was it.    

Dead  trees, killed years ago by the salt water after the sea wall removed, this is one of the few 'managed retreats' I can see that works, there is sufficient mud flat between the old wall and the creeks that the silt build up has not been excessive in the creek.  The land has a natural rise to the farm land beyond, so little embanking had to be done. Other schemes locally are not as clever.    

A different way to spend an afternoon.  On our doorstep too.  Bet there are very few who walk here, the grass was 2 ft tall and no path trodden by hikers. Part of the charm of our estuary.




September day sail.


This season any decent days coinciding with us being able to get out seemed  few and few between, but such a day came along in September and Keith and I booked ourselves off for the day.    

The sky was wall to wall blue and the breeze a gentle F3, unheard of!  Sails set to catch the best and we tacked up on the tide!    

 Up at Maldon, under power now, we pass the sad remains of an Eventide 26, stripped and left to rot.  Sadly there seems to be too many boats, not just our Eventides and the like, all types, even GRP ones, left in yards and creeks with no one willing to put in the time....    

A few yards on and by contrast, a Steel Eventide now lies afloat opposite the promenade park.  Now who does this belong to? Do we know?    

Close to and she appears to be cared for with fresh paint, no sign of rust and looking as if she is ready to sail.  Hopefully we will see her sailing to add a picture or two to the Gallery.    
  We  carry on up past the moored barges, getting a friendly greeting or two from the barge crews as we gently motor past.  Off the old Salt Works we turn and point the bowsprit back down stream.  We anchor off the top end of Northey for a spot of lunch, before wending our way very slowly against the easterly that has now sprung up as the day warms up and sea breezes set in.

A dinghy sails close, a pretty little 12 ft boat.  It is not until they have gone past that I realise it is friends of ours, Mick and Sarah, who are the folk band that played at our wedding, (Darian and myself not Keith.. just so you don't get the wrong idea!)  the realise it is me and sail back and forth, I manage to get some nice shots of them as they do.  (will add one or two later...).  They are impressed! It is the first time they have seen Fiddler's Green since we wheeled her out at the 'Nautical Naming Night'. (Darian and I got married secretly that morning and invited  150 to the naming, then announced Darian had also changed her name!)  Great night, Barn dance to Metric Foot and exhibition dancing by the Blackmore Morris!

Happy memories.  We make our way back down river.  All day there are no more than 20 boats on the horizon. River to ourselves! 

We later learn that Brian and Mavis, who were hoping to meet that morning had a medical emergency and Brian is in hospital recovering from a stroke!


Out afloat for Trafalgar!



October 20th dry and crisp with a gentle F2 and wall to wall blue sky. We were amused to see the new windvane on 'Jack Galloper' belonging to Mike at the marina bar!  I bet there are few damaged windvanes about and the Seagulls get the blame, but seems the crows like these perches too!    
We set out from Bradwell and tacked slowly up river on the  rising tide. Eventually  we decided to turn and face the tide and make for Salcott for the night, so we gently let the sheets fly and goose winged down river.  We  kept to the shallows, very safe at the gentle speed and with a rising tide.  the Thirstlet seen here is a hard shell bank jutting out into the river, but we could sail well inside the green buoy.

We sailed very close to the Tollesbury shore, at times just .2 metre or 8 inches under the keel.  We hove to for lunch, we were almost alone on the river.

That evening in Salcott we had another of those big sky sunsets, but the moment the sun went it got chilly, so retreat below, heater and oven on!  We were moored a long way up Salcott, beyond the oyster layings and the confusion of withies, and in a spot where we could just stay afloat at LW.  one of my favourite places, hardley ever see anyone up here....    
The next morning, Trafalgar Day, we awoke to flat calm and hundreds of birds all round us on the mudflats.  everything from waders to Buzzards!  We had a hearty breakfast of bacon and egg and doubtless the waft of that caused the oyster fishermen to be a little grumpy that morning.  for as we gently puttered past at about 1100hrs the skipper was not his normal friendly self!  They dredge for oysters in between the withies, then save the oysters in sacks, mounted on racks at the LW mark in the channel, or in baskets slung from a floating structure a little further up the creek.    
The breeze was light and favourable so we set all sail and headed southeast.  There were about 5 sails on the horizon.  We pointed the bowsprit at the windmills, with a nod to the M.G. buoy off The Nass at Mersea.

Apart from the fishermen we spoke to no one and no one waved.

The wind farm makes for a great mark when sailing out to the Spitway. Keep the windmills on the left!  We watched and noted that 7 or 8 were stopped, odd? the rest were turning at the regulation 26rpm!  could be mesmerising!  With an air draft of 12.5 metres Fiddler's could sail right under any of them with 8 metres to spare, at  HW.  Did not look like it from here!    

We sailed back the way we had come till eventually the wind headed up off Bradwell, sails were stowed and fenders fitted. We then puttered closely past the works off the Baffle. Take a last picture....  /the baffle will be gone by next season.  When the new power station is built, nuclear, there will be two monstrous large cooling towers instead.  Shame the could not use the baffle or rebuild it. the cooling towers are supposed to be taller and of course far more conspicuous, than a windmill!  Wait till the locals figure that one out!

When I later walked into the marina office to book my haul out there was a new notice to mariners there, we had just navigated through a restricted zone!  Oops!

Talking to the harbourmaster it appears we had seen them welding on extra lengths of leg to the uprights, as despite all the surveys they had undertaken, when the dropped the platforms legs they nearly lost them as they dropped through the bottom, seems it had suddenly got deeper!  Another Opps.!

So another season comes to an end, with fair sailing weather at the beginning and the end, how about a real summer next year?




Where to now skipper?

  I feel like James Tiberius Kirk, vaguely waving a finger and commanding, 'engage', warp factor 4!

Where are we going to point our bowsprits next season?

We have had and still do have all sorts of plans for trips during the season.  We have been to France, Belgium, The Netherlands, Cornwall, Kent, Suffolk and all counties in between.

However there is always that other problem, weather.  We have been blown out more times than I care to recall.  Seems to me the wind has increased during summer months on average 2 Beaufort.  What has happened to the long balmy summers of yesteryear.

I am hoping that we will get to The Swale again this year, not in Brian's Catalac but in Fiddler's Green accompanied by a small fleet of Essex based boats.  If the weather, that all important factor, plays the game, the late May Bank holiday could see us venturing south for the Southend Airshow...  come on  after 5 orrid years it must be time for the sun to come out!!!! No make that 6 disastrous summers!

If it all works out the intention is to sail over to Kent and into the Swale, maybe a mass invasion of Halstow Creek!

  I know the way.  We could visit Gillingham area and the dockyard.

We have an invite to the Swale Marina!  A day or two in there and then maybe a dash to Ramsgate, followed by a cross estuary trip hope, well we can dream.

A few years back we visited London en-masse.  Those trips could be repeated if there is support.

What would East Coast sailors like to do?  We have lots of time to work a program out, and for the weather to ruin it!

And why just the East Coast????

The Solent?  Well we have 1000 members plus now, loads of boats all over, so why not?  all we need is a location, date and away we go.

Same can be said for the south West, for the North West and North East and maybe the west coast of Scotland.

Time for a few members to step up please.........  Come on I am holding my breeeeaatth..............



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