The fleet left NFYC at 20.30 on Friday after pizza & passage planning in the club house. This was a new experience for 2 crews as it was dark and navigating the River Crouch through Burnham to the River Roach of a night was not something they had previously done. This was our first stop anchoring for the night with the wind ENE 15mph forecast for the night. The fleet was all securely anchored by 22.30 with anchor alarms set.
It was an early start for Favonia upping anchor by 6.00am to catch the ebb tide to Harwich with the rest of the fleet following about an hour later. Both Flyer & Obsession hoisted sail before leaving the River Roach while the rest of the fleet decided to motor to the Spitway. Once safely through the Spitway and with the winds staying ENE 16 -18 mph nice long deep tacks were required. I am sure Obsession built a sand castle on Clacton beach before he tacked, with Obsession and Flyer setting a course for Holland and match tacking each other all the way up the wallet passing Frinton and Walton on the Naze.
Favonia arrived at Shotley Marina first and passed through the lock. Flyer & Obsession arrived shortly after and radioed Shotley Lock and were told by the Harbour master that they could not lock us in as boats with a draft of 1.70 meters were aground and stuck in their berths in the marina. After a few quick phone calls, berths at Titchmarsh Marina were found. Andrew (Favonia) negotiated with the Shotley harbour master to get back out again without parting with any cash as the booking was for all 5 yachts.
After a trip up the River Twizzle negotiating the zigzag we all made port safely, Favonia bringing up the rear. Once all berthed, the fleet’s attention quickly turned to the ‘Party Boat’ with Blue Streak volunteering to host. There were 9 sailors ladened with food, beer, wine and laughter with the good times running into the early hours. There seemed to be a theme of things not going to plan as the on site restaurant & bar in Titchmarsh Marina was closed. A note to members this will not be reopened until 2024 as it will be undergoing a full refurbishment with new management.
The next morning the Rear Commodore Lee organised breakfast. Each boat cooked part of a full English fry up which was then bought to Favonia as it had the largest main cabin. It was then time for some running repair’s Paul being hoisted up two masts in his shorts to fix windex’s. He needs to keep up his tan on those Legs!! The Vice doing Rope and Canvas work on Blue Streak & Flyer and Jason trying to sort out Lunans navigation light problem. Around 15.00 our Club heroine Janet came walking down the jetty one hour before her ETA. It seems Janet can run faster than a train time table and jumped on the train she should have missed, if it had been on time.
In the evening we all walked into Walton on the Naze for a refreshing drink and some fresh fish & chips overlooking the golden sand of Walton. What else do you do on a bank holiday weekend in a sea side town!
The following day after breakfast we got the boats ready for departure. Lunan, Obsession, Blue Streak and Flyer left in this order. Favonia opting to stay one more night as they didn’t fancy the force 6 predicted. The fleet travelled back down the River Twizzel and around the Landguard and off to the Medusa Buoys followed by a dead run to the Spitway buoys and with a 2m swell we were all surfing. Once at the Spitway Flyer made course for Brightlingsea to get his bottom cleaned on the scrubbing post.
The remaining yachts all got though the Spitway with a minimum of 1.2 meters clearance. As Blue Streak entered the Swallow Tail a yacht was seen hard aground on the Buxey Sands and calling MAYDAY. Dover Coast Guard could not make contact but Blue Streak could hear both, So Janet the “Heroine of the day” started a Mayday relay for over 40mins until Clacton Atlantic class lifeboat arrived on scene and took over as Stand-by vessel and released Blue Streak. The lifeboat then waited for their “D” class to arrive as the water was too shallow for the Atlantic class to get though the breakers to render assistance.
All club yachts were back on the moorings by 17:00hrs.