Blackwater Cruise, 18th July

Andy Lacy, John Ellis and myself travelled down to the Stone SC the day before our annual Blackwater cruise. We had a pleasant sail in the afternoon then cycled 3 miles to the Star Inn for a pub meal, before returning to the sailing club for a couple of pints on the terrace overlooking the estuary. We were camping in the club car park overnight and were joined early the next morning by Dave Rabbetts who had left home at 5.30am for a 3 hour drive to sail with us for the day.

We rigged our 7.5 Demons and the 4 of us set sail at 11.15 and had a fairly challenging beat into the 15mph wind and choppy wind over tide water, it was also raining heavily but we made good progress and landed to regroup at Mundon Point. This sits at the entrance to the creek leading to Maylandsea and our lunch stop. The water flattened off here and we had a nice even beat before landing at the local sailing club.

Shortly after landing we were met by the American guy who Joe, Simon and myself spoke to on last years trip, we still didn't get his name. After a brief chat we walked up to the usual Fish & Chip shop and were welcomed by a very charming and polite young lady and allowed to sit inside despite being soaking wet, we were then served a bargain £4 OAP cod and chips, better than the Dell Quay offering at 4 times the price.

On returning to our boards we were surprised to see our nameless American friend rigged up and ready to join us on a Cat board that predated the Ultra and a decent 9.5 sail, by now the rain had stopped and the wind moderated to 10/12 mph as we made our way back down the creek, passing half a dozen seals in the water. We stopped on Mundon Point again and posed for our customary photo there.

Richard, Dave, Andy, John

After this the now 5 of us beat up to Northey island where we waved our new friend goodbye and continued round to Heybridge Basin and as the sun was now beginning to break through stopped at the Tiptree Cafe for ice creams. We then set off on the last leg back to base and enjoyed a lovely broad reach the several miles back, rounding Osea Island on the way.

We arrived back at the Stone at 4pm after covering about 20 miles. Everyone agreed it had been a great days cruising on this lovely estuary, with friendly hospitality from our hosts at the Stone SC and everyone else we met.

Richard Williams

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