A Late Season Weekend

Last weekend we were joined by Emma and Amelia for the last training weekend of the year before the wind and promised icy blast arrives. Being at the quay alongside Centaur from the previous day’ group sail for National Historic Ships, we watched during Friday as Tim and Geoff made ready for Mick and the de-rig team at the weekend.


The Downs Road Boatyard tug was already alongside from the previous day and as the tide arrived so did Jim furloughed briefly from Tom Cook’s birthday celebrations and drawing attention to the lack of wind. On the way to Hillypool it was indeed difficult to discern any movement in the air not being created by ourselves, but every so often there was a cat’s paw in the moontrack and sometimes facing directly ahead there was a little more air on one’s left cheek where it was forecast to be.


And letting go the tug at Hillypool the mainsail and topsail did indeed just fill and we made progress very slowly against the flood past the moorings at Millbeach to eventually meet a steady south-easterly at the Doubles. It was a glorious evening with a moon bright enough to read a book by and the sound of the sewage works washing strongly over Decoy Point in the still conditions accompanying the sound of the many thriving Canada geese.


It was now high water and had we wished the carry the tide downriver we could have made a passage. But we had a fine meal cooked by Oli and ready below so brought up at the Doctor and quietened the barge down for the night.


Saturday saw a sensibly late breakfast to give the promised westerly a chance to arrive at high water which it did. As Emma and Amelia got the anchor Marigold came past on a day trip and we sailed down river in company to anchor again for lunch at Weymarks. This anchorage below Bradwell is good in anything from Southwest to Southeast with good holding and a fine beach if you have young people aboard. It is named after the nearby farm and there are remains of a quay where much of the aggregate for Bradwell power station came by sea as did some of the equipment. If there is a new Chinese power station in future then there are plans for a jetty to do the same, and at least one of the local windfarms on the Dengie was brought by sea in the teeth while others required straightening some of the bends on roads following the medieval field pattern.


The bowsprit was lowered while at anchor to allow time for explanation in the light drizzle which cleared for the sail back upriver. Before doing so there was time to complete an imaginary course around four of the Mersea racing marks to generate a gybe and some trimming.


Then up to Osea unrigging the jib on the way. The young flood was now making and although Marigold preceded us into the dusk to her mooring, we rounded up above the Doubles and anchored for the night. It only remained on Sunday to steve up the bowsprit and return to the mooring at Heybridge to be ashore for lunchtime.