It was a beautiful warm and sunny morning on May 17th. Nine Seavets (Richard, Simon, Owen, Joe, Dave, Andy, Martin, John and myself), had assembled the day before at Stone Sailing Club to do the Blackwater Cruise. Simon, Martin and Richard had arrived in time the day before to do a sail or two and go on a bike ride, others were there in time for the bike ride or maybe (myself and Owen) just in time for a curry in the local pub. The forecast for the day was the wind to shift from the north to the east at 1000 , the planned departure time. The forecast for the day was suprisingly accurate, but this did mean that with virtually no wind for the first hour while it moved east we had to rely on the incoming tide to carry us up towards Heybridge passing to the N of Osea Island. One or two sailors were lured up the odd side creek but we all made it to the cafe for a drink.
After coffee the promised easterly at 10mph or so had arrived, but our slow progree prior to coffee was putting the fish and chips at Maylandsea at risk - there is a fairly short time window to land and get away again before the water drops to leave acres of mud. John and Joe in the lead had attempted to land at the wrong sailing club, allowing the rest of us to catch up.
Depending on your point of view we had judged it perfectly, or misjudged it imperfectly. The fish and chips were excellent and very quickly produced by the Chip Inn - thanks to Richard for organising. By now the sun had gone in and the temperature had dropped, as had the water so, with some urgency, we set about departing. Those at the front had a little difficulty in launching (John and Joe again). I was behind Andy who was attempting to sail through the mud without success, so I decided it was better to wade 10 yards or so and get a bit mucky, and joined Joe and John to set sail . Everyone behind had considerable difficulty getting afloat - unfortunately there is no photographic evidence to capture the fun and frolics. We all regrouped eventually on the sand spit at the mouth of the Maylandsea creek to clean the mud of boards, boots and rigs, watched by the nearby resident seals.
From there the it was a straightforward beat back to Stone Sailing Club, albeit through some lumpy water as the freshening wind was blowing against the outgoing tide. Another great cruise.
After derigging, showering and cups of tea we gathered outside Dave's van for a communal BBQ at which two wooden spoons were awarded - Joe and John for their research into future possible landing spots at Maylandsea.
Distance according to my Garmin watch 13,2nm, average speed 3.4kt