Yellow Peril and the Stags may be berthed up in the yard, but sailing doesn’t finish just because it’s cold, wet and windy. Several club boats went sailing last weekend – here’s a couple of different perspectives in that sail ….
Sailing does continue through the winter and 7 of us in 4 boats left the hard at about 1pm on Sunday. Simon was singlehanded in his very attractive tan sailed Dabber. We had two of the main ingredients bright sunshine and a gentle breeze but definitely needed our thick wet or dry suits. Roger commented than it was better than most of August as we hoisted the spinnaker and headed for Salcott! There were 100+ Avocets at the top of the creek and groups of Goldeneye in the north channel. By the time we got to the entrance to Mersea the tide was still flooding hard and swept as quickly up the Salcott channel past Abbots Hall. There were huge flocks of Wigeon and many other ducks, Geese and waders everywhere; by 2pm we were at the last bend in the channel and within sight of the webmaster’s house but decided to turn for home. Again hoisting the spinnaker we were quickly back off W. Mersea but resisted a trip to the café. Back in the river and now close hauled we were able to make it in one tack all the way back across the fleet to the mouth of the fleet. We made a short detour to talk to Doug on his yacht and then found the wind had conveniently backed sufficiently to allow us straight up the creek to the hard in one tack. It was about 3pm only half an hour after the tide and wading around finding the trolleys was cold. The next midday tides are around the Christmas break-I’m allowed out any day so if you have some winter kit (or you are really hardy) and the weather is fair do get in contact. George, Chris, Rik, Jonathan, Simon , Roger etc.
We sailed out on the high spring tide that had been heralded by the crescent moon. The same flood that called us afloat rose to cover the marshes, forcing the waders to take to the air. As the huge flock of Knot climbed and shone, their pale under wings uncommonly white in the bright winter sunshine, a predatory Marsh Harrier circled lazily above. Suddenly swooping to attack, the hunter sent the mass of birds wheeling and turning. Darkness cascaded across the face of the flock as they twisted to show their grey wing tops, flashing white again when they turned to escape. A curious seal, alerted by the water chuckling along our hull, rose to investigate, then slipped silently away beneath the slate-grey waters.
I love winter sailing.
See the Winter 2012 gallery for more photos.