At 0500 eleven cruisers left Tollesbury for a long weekend 20 miles up the coast and with lengths ranging from 19ft to 36ft we all had an interesting or challenging sail up the Wallet, depending on your point of view. The cruise had been promoted to Tollesbury Cruising Club as well and three members joined us, I hope they felt welcome. The wind was from the NW and as we passed Clacton we had to think about reducing sail and choosing whether to stay offshore and take advantage of the tide or hug the coast.
Towards late afternoon we had all managed to thread our way past Stone Point and into Titchmarsh Marina and after such an early start several crews, but not all, felt that a bit of bunk time was in order. Others headed straight for the bar ! We had booked a table at the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club, just a short taxi ride away, and by 1900 were enjoying excellent hospitality at the club.
On Sunday after a leisurely morning the fleet left the backwaters, meeting up again at the Royal Harwich Yacht Club. The gentle start under just the headsail turned into short tacking up the Orwell towards the Royal Harwich, which was fun and hard work at the same time. We were joined by several other boats, a couple who had spent Saturday night in Ipswich, one up from Brightlingsea and a couple who sailed from Tollesbury that day. Geoff, the Berthing Master went to great efforts in allocating berths and fitting us all in the limited spaces. Many of us had a meal in the yacht club and again were very well looked after by the staff.
Because of the tide it was an earlier start on Monday, motoring or drifting down the Orwell with the ebb and coping with light winds in Harwich harbour before getting a cracking sail down the Wallet and up the Blackwater. It was not a race but you know what they say when two boats are heading in the same direction……
Merganser headed back down to Pyefleet on Sunday as the Commodore had another commitment and while sailing on Monday saw a mayday with a fishing boat. One of the crew was having seizures and within 20 minutes of the mayday being received by the Coastguard the Clacton inshore lifeboat was on hand providing medical assistance. The helicopter was scrambled as well and around 25 minutes after the call, the casualty was on board the helicopter on their way to Colchester Hospital – a pretty impressive performance given that the fishing boat was on the eastern edge of the Eagle bank.
Everyone got back safely and it was great that some smaller boats had come with us.
Have a look at the photo gallery which will show that we didn’t have a totally miserable time! Click on the thumbnails below to view the photos.