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Mersea Island Cruise

On the 4th July 9 cruising Seavets set up camp at West Mersea holiday park: Andy & Linda, Bill & Val, Nick & Fiona, Simon, Martin ,John, Joe, Owen and myself. We arrived at various times during the afternoon, with a few of the early arrivals setting off for a gentle sail up to the harbour. By late afternoon everyone had set up camp on our favoured front row pitches, and as it was a lovely evening decided to have an impromptu BBQ.

Monday was cruise day and we were greeted by blue skies and a fresh breeze. As we were not launching until 1pm due to a later high tide, a few of us cycled down to the harbour for a coffee. During the morning I was contacted by local windsurfer Florent Lambert who asked if he could join our cruise as he lives right on the beach and on our route. We arranged for him to join in as we passed by.

After a photo opportunity on the beach adjacent to the campsite we launched at 1pm, and headed East on a broad reach/run in the predicted 12 mph westerly wind and warm sunshine. Florent joined us on route and we had a nice sail to Brightlingsea, arriving at 1.45.

The Waterside fish bar has reopened under new management after being closed on our last three visits, and we enjoyed children's portions of fish and chips, which were more than adequate and sat on the harbour wall taking in the scenery in the warm sunshine.

We set sail again at 3.15 and had a lovely but challenging beat up to the Strood in the now 15+ mph wind that had veered to the NW, arriving there bang on HT at 4.15. The water had not covered the road, so the traffic was moving quickly making the crossing a bit precarious, but with a bit of teamwork we all arrived on the west side of the causeway intact.

Setting off on the last leg at 4.30 we had a fairly easy transit through the busy harbour on a reach and then a broad reach back to base, arriving at 5.30. Teamwork came into play again as we carried our kit through the beach huts and over a low fence onto the campsite, while Florent continued on down the coast and home.

As time was getting on, we spent the evening in the site clubhouse and made plans for the following days activities. Most had brought bikes so we did our normal round island ride of about 12 miles, stopping at the vineyard for coffee where we met Linda, Andy and Owen who had walked there.

In the afternoon 5 of us sailed down to the harbour entrance again to check out the statue of a WW1 soldier who stands guard on a small island, which we had spotted the previous day. In the evening Joe booked a table at the Coast Inn by the harbour, and we enjoyed a lovely meal and spectacular sunset to round off the trip nicely.

Richard Williams

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