East Coast Branch
Event Reports 2019
Beaujolais Nouveau Evening, Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club
Once again members of the East Coast Branch were invited to join the weekend cruise and subsequent party arranged each November by the yacht clubs of Dover, Calais and Boulogne. The weather was not particularly kind and no MOA boats sailed to Boulogne on Friday but Moody yachts were represented by the Halberdier skippered by RCPYC stalwart Dave “Africa” Ford with crew Dave Ford (no relation!) which apparently caused some disquiet when they were stopped by Border Force on the return journey and their passports checked.
Several French boats sailed over with them on Saturday and fortunately neither the wine nor cheese was impounded.
As our group assembled in the bar it was good to see that Gary and Julia Barrell together with their grandson had been able to get back from the London Stadium having seen their team West Ham unfortunately lose to Tottenham. Mark and Louise Parfitt had made the wise decision to book a room at the Premier Inn just along the seafront and Trevor and Kay Parrish had come all the way from Grimsby for the weekend.
After drinks in the bar, a choice of curries was available in the dining room upstairs accompanied by a generous number of bottles of Beaujolais and then a very good brie and French bread followed. The chat covered many subjects boating and non-boating and some of us tried out our somewhat rusty French much to the amusement of the very affable French crew sitting on the next table.
The evening ended with traditional farewells to the French and the MOA members had the distinction of being the last to leave the bar! A very enjoyable evening was had by the lucky few who braved the winter weather to attend this function.
Laying Up Lunch Ipswich
Again The last Anchor was the venue for the laying up lunch and again we all had a very convivial
time. There were 35 members assembled at the Ipswich Haven Marina restaurant, lots of chatting,
lots of interesting stories of the season from friends old and new. Only our hosts John and Chris,
Sea Dawn arrived by boat, plus of course Adam and Maria on Mariadz who are resident in the
As we took our seats before the meal Branch Captain Alan told members of the sad passing of Stuart Halfhide (Fair Rosalind) who has been a very active supporter of the branch for several years and attended most rallies. We all send our condolences to his wife Debbie and their family.
The meal was excellent, surpassing the high standard reached last year! Sometimes, with pre-booking one’s choices several weeks before an event one arrives at the table thinking “I ordered what?!?!?”. Clearly hunger levels and appetites change. I had ordered, of all things, Arctic Roll with cherries and ice-cream. Those of a certain age will recall the Arctic Roll of the 60s and 70s with horror or amusement. BUT…. up came a homemade chocolate ice-cream roll with thick chocolate cake, succulent cherries and a crunchy pistachio ice-cream (vague recollections of Black Forest Gateau?) absolutely delicious! Good choice! All plates from the three courses seemed to be going back empty which is always a sign of a good restaurant.
Look at that pie topping!
Roasted Mackerel with lots of bits!
Very attractive Ginger Cake
That was Yummy!
Alan informed everyone of the change of date for the Winter get-together which is now November 23rd, still at The Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club Dover, as it is Beaujolais Nouveau time. Then we will be into winter, with Christmas and New Year, but we can all look forward to the following event which will be the branch AGM at The Bull Great Totham.
A big thank you to John and Chris for organising the laying-up lunch again, and to all the event organisers of the season.
Rally to Burnham-on-Crouch
The plan – it is always good to start with a plan, which never seems to survive first contact with life. Again this weekend that proved to be the case. Twelve boats were due to gather at Burnham Yacht Harbour, on the River Crouch. Some due to arrive on the Friday evening for a meal in the Swallow Tail, the marina restaurant, the remainder arriving during Saturday.
An annual competition takes place on Saturday morning, followed by a lunch in a marquee on the hard. An afternoon social gathering of the MOA takes place on ‘Elaine’ followed by the evening Carnival Procession through the town and fireworks. That was the plan!
The weather forecasts for the weekend during the preceding week gradually deteriorated as Friday approached. Only two crews made it to the Friday gathering in the Swallow Tail. With the wind gusting over thirty five knots at the estuary entrance on Saturday morning, the remaining crews decided to attend by land yacht. One who gallantly gave it a go, then decided being back in their marina was a better idea.
Over thirty people enjoyed the lunch in the marquee, with free ice cream for dessert. The accompanying music was robustly played by a local band entertaining all present. As this event drew to a close MOA members drifted towards the pontoon for a get together on board ‘Elaine’. Some seeking shelter from the wind below whilst the more hardy members sat around the cockpit enjoying the conversation and refreshments.
With heavy rain showers forecast for early evening, most departed for drier locations, leaving a few hardy souls to watch the carnival procession through the town. Which fortunately turned out to be a dry affair! Even through the weather did its best to upstage events, all enjoyed a most relaxing and sociable gathering.
Rally to Shotley
Although Shotley Marina is reached through a lock it is manned and accessible 24/7 – a bonus for East Coast sailors. It means boats can arrive as and when they choose so the 10 boats for the rally came throughout the day rather than as a pack! Hosts John and Chris on Sea Dawn ensured we were all allocated our berths efficiently, putting Mike and Jill next to them so any overspill from the welcoming drinks and nibbles could utilise Sansofé’s cockpit.
Essex Skipper with Andrew and Diane arrived next, wrapped up in balaclavas and heavy jackets as the wind had got up and the temperature had gone down. By the time Pete and Phyl on Opah arrived the wind presented quite a challenge to mooring on the linear pontoon in between two boats, but willing hands and a well-timed bow thruster and it was done.
Nigel and Ann on Phase IV and Andrew and Jim on Pigwig filled the rest of the linear. Neither Andrew’s nor Jim’s family enjoy sailing so they acquired Pigwig between them enabling them to do some sailing. They named her “Pigwig” because one was a pig farmer the other a barrister, how cool is that name!
David and Jan on Trouvaille, Michael on Meltemi and Roger on Sabre all negotiated the lock and settled into the marina. Finally Kelvin and Sarah on Circe arrived unannounced as they hadn’t thought they would be able to come but they were of course made very welcome, and the chef at The Bristol Arms just sighed and changed the numbers again.
Unfortunately (or fortunately for the chef at The Bristol Arms) one ‘boat’ was unable to make it. Ian and Jo on Sun and Air were coming by car but it sadly malfunctioned on the way. Adrian and Jan left Elaine in Burnham and Richard and Jean on Winsom just stayed put as they are based in Shotley. Alan and Jane had left Teteli in Bradwell and came by car as did Roger and June Solar Wind. They, like everyone else, enjoyed a very sociable afternoon on Sea Dawn but didn’t stay for the evening meal as they felt obliged to unpack their cases and have a good night’s sleep.
We all wandered back to the marina after our meal at the pub having enjoyed another successful and entertaining rally.
A big Thank You goes to John and Chris for organising and hosting the rally. Well done.
Rally to Chatham
Enduring record high temperatures over the Late Bank Holiday weekend
members of the East Coast Branch, both resident and visitors to
Chatham Marina on the River Medway met for a convivial rally.
Organised by David and Jacqui Brookes, members present assembled in
the Marquee adjacent to the lock but on finding it too hot inside
preferred to sit outside in the afternoon sun enjoying their drinks and
When the heat had subdued somewhat the party of melting sailors
transferred to local restaurant for an enjoyable evening and to continue
the many discussions started in the afternoon.
Rally to Bradwell
The Green Man pub at Bradwell dates back to the 1700s. It has the original flagstones and exposed oak beams, and a huge Inglenook fireplace beckons guests on winter nights. It used to be known as The Smugglers inn as the so called smugglers used to meet to plan their illicit crossings to Holland. The Bradwell quayside was notorious to men who used to smuggle mostly wool as early as 1361, After the smuggling era the pub was used as a morgue and still has a large wooden table in the bar that used to be the Laying Out table, on which they would put the coffin with its body until it was taken away for burial. It’s still called The Coffin table today.
The weather gods were kind for the rally to Bradwell as boats came from north, south and west. Hosts Mike, Jill along with Sally aboard Sansofé are based there so the party got underway on the Friday evening with early arrivals Pete and Phyl Opah and John and Chris Sea Dawn and Mark and Louise Magic Flute on The Coffin in the Green Man with 4 dogs asleep under the table.
Throughout Saturday the members’ boats arrived, Nigel and Ann with Phase IV; Peter with Silver Blade from Burnham joined later by his wife who came in a comfy air-conditioned car; Geoff in Solway Ranger; Bob and Linda on Valhalla came a couple of miles down the Blackwater along with Steve and Margaret on April Rose; and Harvey and Joyce on Baric II. Finally Fred and Janet arrived on Eric the Scop. Who – I hear you ask – is/was ‘Eric the Scop’? Apparently ‘Scop’ is a Saxon word for poet so it seems there was a Saxon poet called Eric. Even Mr. Google didn’t know about him! Anyone know him? Fred named the boat so maybe it is his secret?
The Bradwell berthers arrived to join in the fun, Alan and Jane from Teteli; Roger and June from Solar Wind, Robin and Linda Saraband and Roger and Sheila from Sabre. What a happy crowd we were!
First build your table
It is illegal to drive over the edge faster than 30mph
Sansofé is berthed next to a hammerhead so has wide stable pontoon to stern and port enabling all the people to mingle and even use chairs whilst enjoying the Pimms and cold beers etc. etc. A lovely afternoon laughing and socialising in the sunshine, glass in one hand nibble (even some healthy fruit nibbles!) in the other – what could be better!
It was then off across the bumpy path to Bradwell Quay Yacht Club who kindly let us use their club barbeque, clubhouse, bar and crockery etc. again this year.. Several BQYC members joined us for the BBQ which made for a very sociable and entertaining evening. Many thanks to BQYC for their hospitality.
Rally to Walton Backwaters
Tucked behind Walton-on-the-Naze is a magical place known as the Walton Backwaters. An area of salt marshes, creeks, and amazing flora and fauna. Its magic inspired the Arthur Ransome books about adventures in small wooden boats pottering up the wild creeks, and today many nautical visitors look across the wide open spaces and secretly hanker after a small wooden gaff-rigged dinghy in which to potter up those creeks!
The Walton Backwaters rally seems to have reflected the British Summer weather for the past few years – one day hot and dry another freezing and pouring. This year was dry for the host boating and the BBQ but with thunderstorm, torrential rain and howling winds a few hours earlier, making passage planning and timing most important.
Mike, Jill and Sally on Sansofé went for a Friday morning silly o’clock departure from the river Blackwater arriving at 06:45, but enjoyed a wonderful dawn with smooth water and good weather. By good planning, or good fortune, 4 boats stopped over at Shotley leaving a much shorter hop to Titchmarsh marina. John and Chris on Sea Dawn dashed in on Friday afternoon before the heavens opened. By now we thought other boats might cry off due to the high winds and rain forecast but we Moody Owners are a stalwart lot. Throughout Saturday morning first Bob and Linda on Valhalla, then Mike and Jan on Calypso, both from he Blackwater, and Peter and Sue on Colonia from the Ipswich end of the Orwell, blew in to willing hands to take lines to get into their berths in the very windy conditions. Then we had an exemplary demonstration of reversing into a berth marginally wider than their Moody 376 in a force 5 by Simon and Gillian on Epona, a boat they have only been sailing for a few weeks; Respect! Finally Michael on Meltemi arrived from Ipswich making it all present and correct! Pete and Phyl on Opah cheated by having made Titchmarsh marina their base a week or two earlier.
With everyone safely in and moored the sun came out and it was all off to Derek and Elaine’s Wispa for some very welcome Pimms, wine or beer along with some really tasty eats, with everyone able to relax and enjoy themselves after their somewhat lively and bumpy trips.
Titchmarsh marina has a lovely BBQ area with brick bases and lots of picnic tables. We all re- assembled with our bags and bottles and bangers and burgers and spent a very convivial evening chatting and eating. It was so good to meet up with old friends on the rally along with some new faces, who by the end of the rally had become ‘old friends’.
Sunday morning saw most boats set off up the river Twizzle well before Stone Point would become almost dry land, and follow the myriad of buoys through to the Pye End buoy by Harwich, then turn left or right to their home ports.
Another lovely Walton Backwaters rally, thanks to Derek and Elaine. A lot of effort and organisation goes on behind the scenes to produce such a successful weekend, well done and Thank You both.
Rally to Heybridge Basin
The unpredictable weather had caused a few members to drop out due to the forecasted trip home on the Sunday.
Solar Wind and Saraband arrived on the Friday with Teteli, Silver Blade and Arial Spirit joining the rally on the Saturday morning, the remaining members arrived by car on the Saturday swelling the numbers to 22, two new members also joined the rally, Gillian & Simon Millyard the new owners of Epona.
June and Roger Price kindly offered to co-host the rally on Solar Wind as Phyl and I are still awaiting the launch of our new boat, everyone gave a helping hand to erect a gazebo on the green adjacent Solar Wind which provided some shelter from the British June weather.
Two trestle tables were set up in the gazebo and promptly laden with a wide array of nibbles and drinks, June had been busy baking cakes which were greatly appreciated by all, the get together started early afternoon and continued through to early evening.
The BBQ’s were lit around 18.00 in less than favourable weather with high winds and threatening skies but thankfully the rain held off and everyone had a great time.
At 20.00 everyone pitched in to pack the gazebo and BBQ’s away just as the heavens opened.
The five boats left Heybridge on the Sunday morning with bright sky’s and a strong winds and safely arrived, some in record time, at their home marinas.
A big thank you to Pete and Phil for organising the rally and providing the all important gazebo; to Pete and Phyl and Roger and June for all the lovely nibbles, cakes, and goodies.
Rally to Ipswich Haven
Our first waterborne event of 2019 and it was up to the end of the river Orwell, into Ipswich waterfront, a busy and interesting spot close enough to walk into the city and also to people and boat watch in the two marinas there. The rejuvenated waterfront is now looking smart and cosmopolitan with cafes, trendy flats and promenaders. Boats started arriving on the Friday morning – first there was Mike and Jill with friend Sally and their dog on Sansofé – and by Saturday afternoon we had 9 boats filling up a lot of the visitors’ berths allowing a few places for the Dutch who seem to take over East Coast marinas in the summer.
Some boats had a lengthy sail in somewhat bumpy and gusty conditions, for example Stuart, Alec and Sue on Betty had quite a trek from the river Medway, whereas Peter and his friend on Wild Thyme only had a quick hop from Suffolk Yacht Harbour so sailed to Harwich and back on the way! It was very nice to see new members joining us, Stuart and Vicky also from the Orwell with Laverbread (a Welsh delicacy made from seaweed and oatmeal) and summer live-aboards Tony and Rachel with Orca from the river Deben.
We also had members from the river Crouch, Colin and Yvonne on Namaqua who brought as guests their son Ian, his wife Teresa and two dogs with their new acquisition Kokomo. Mark and Louise also joined us from the river Crouch with Magic Flute – a lovely Moody many of us knew before Mark and Louise became the proud owners!.The river Twizzle was represented by Derek and Elaine on Wispa who unfortunately had to leave early on Sunday in order to get ready to go to the Harry Potter exhibition. We also had a number of virtual boats, Pete and Phil having sold Epona are awaiting a survey on (hopefully) their new boat; John and Chris sold Charisma during the winter and although they have just bought a new boat they came with their two dogs by car due to a family 100th birthday party on the Sunday! Stuart and Debbie left Fair Rosalind in Bradwell on the river Blackwater as she isn’t quite ready for the season’s first trip up The Wallet! What a busy lot we are.
Our hosts Adam and Maria had laid on wonderful weather again this year, and we took over the old yacht club building again, for the bbq. They had even made a selection of gorgeous salads, laid on plates cutlery and glasses, (i.e. no washing up!!!!!) and provided bread and drinks, music and above all a fabulous evening of chat, fun and conviviality. We were joined by other friends of theirs who have their boats in Ipswich haven. The 5 dogs got bored when they realised all the sausages, burgers etc. were not coming their way and settled down for a snooze. Our East Coast Captain, Giles, was unable to come by boat as the family had other commitments but he still managed to get there and gave a big thank you on behalf of us all to Adam and Maria for all their hard work.
Organiser Suprema Maria
“Well, Mike said the Captain’s job involved a lot of bottle!”
“Surely that isn’t neat gin, Stuart?”
Men being men
Sunday morning a few boats departed but then it was off to Mariadz for drinks nibbles and cake. Adam and Maria are live-aboards so have everything well set up for a gathering. Plenty of room and plenty of cake, everyone was happy. The dogs were thankfully all aboard their own boats as Adam and Maria have two CATS living with them (or do they live with the cats?). They are beautiful Ragdoll cats who seemed quite okay with the invasion of people. Eventually we each returned to our respective boats and on the Monday morning carefully maneouvered out of the visitor berths and returned to our home ports.
A wonderful start to the boating season, we hope to see everyone again over the coming months, maybe at the next rally which is to another planet, namely Heybridge Basin; it is always a wow event for one reason or another!.
A huge thank you to both Adam and Maria for all the effort they put in to making the weekend a success, and a success it certainly was!
Spring Get-together at The Maldon Little Ship Club
Again The Maldon Little Ship Club was the venue for the Spring Get-together (formerly known as the Noggin and Natter).
The picture on the right is NOT the Maldon Little Ship Club building but a lovely picture taken near the bottom of the lane leading down to Maldon’s Hythe Quay, so The Jolly Sailor Pub in the picture is sort of next door to it!
The lunch was very successful. Our (select) group of 20 gathered early in the downstairs bar and had to be persuaded to break off their discussions long enough to go upstairs for the lunch, where they resumed putting the world to rights immediately.
The food and service was excellent and Mike Ballinger got no sympathy and a lot of mickey-taking when he disclosed he had put his back out bending down to repair his pond pump, however he managed to stand and to thank Robin for his organisation of the event and to remind everyone our next event is at last on the water – a rally to Ipswich over the second May bank holiday.
It was a bit crisp outside but the views over the river from the room made up for it, especially when the sun came out.
No report about Maldon or the River Blackwater would be complete without a picture of Thames Barges.
Fitting Out Lunch at The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club
The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club at Burnham-on-Crouch was the venue for the 2019 Fitting Out lunch. Again they put on an excellent carvery lunch for the 50 members who filled the room with a lot of noise and laughter. As the weather had turned sunny and the gales had blown themselves out there was a teeny sense of panic at the work still to be finished on boat-bottoms etc. On the day of last year’s fitting out we had snow and so we were complacent that we couldn’t be doing the work even if we had wanted to! Despite the nearly pleasant weather we still only managed one boat arriving on the otherwise empty RCYC pontoon – well done Giles on Crazy Diamond but it was noticable the rest of his family arrived by car, a decision vindicated as the river had turned choppy and uninviting by the time we finally left the RCYC.
As well as everyone fitting-out their boats we had two couples who sold (very quickly!) their Moody 376 / Moody 346 and are searching for a bigger Moody /motorboat with a bit of panic in case they end up boatless for part of the summer, It seems a good Moody is easy to sell but a good replacement is difficult to buy!
We were pleased welcomed our Vice Commodore Colin Barber and his wife Jane to the lunch, they live in Kent so are natives of the East Coast but sail in the Mediterranean, why they prefer that to sailing ‘Up The Wallet’, between the sandbanks, in our lovely English summer weather I don’t know!
A big Thank You to Roger Price for organising the event, and to Robin Harris for the labels as usual,
AGM at The Bull and Willow
Here we go into 2019, half the winter over, and thoughts turn to sailing again!
Our first shore based event was the East Coast Branch AGM and lunch, once more held at The Bull and Willow pub at Great Totham. This year 38 members made it and a really lovely time was had by all, catching up on everyone’s ‘out of season’ news and plans for the coming season. A good lunch and a lot of chatting put us in the mood for the AGM part of the event, Roger Price opening the meeting.
One of the highlights was ratifying the appointment of our new Branch Captain – Giles Ford-Crush. Mike Ballinger had been acting as the branch contact and helping the rest of the committee during the past year after he stepped down as Captain at the last AGM. I’m sure Giles will bring some new ideas, and, along with his wife Michelle, will ably follow in Mike’s footsteps! Treasurer Robin Harris presented the accounts which were meticulously scrutinised (well not really – no need!) and accepted. Mike Ballinger gave a resumé of the 2018 season’s rallies and events all of which had good turnouts except the Heybridge Rally which was plagued with appalling weather leaving boats stuck in the canal for a couple of days, but with two pubs right on the canal and some good MOA company it wasn’t so awful!
Presentation of the Awards and Trophies saw our new Captain Giles as the recipient of the MOA “At Anchor” photograph award. The trophy will be presented at the MOA AGM in Bristol later in February. The East Coast Branch seems to have a talent for photography as Dick Holness won the same award last year, and John and Chris Cooper won another MOA photographic award – or at least their two Welsh Terriers did – a couple of years ago. The Paddington Trophy for seamanship was awarded to Alan and Jane Giles in recognition of their circumnavigation of Great Britain which took them 2 years to complete and gave them a whole host of adventures and experiences. The award for services to the branch was awarded to Michael and Jill Ballinger for all their contribution over the past 3-4 years. A separate keepsake trophy was presented to Michael for service to the East Coast Branch.
Thanks go to Roger Price for organising the AGM, to Robin Harris for the oh so useful labels, and to all who attended for making the day such a great start to the 2019 season.
The 2018 accounts and the 2019 AGM minutes can be viewed from the East Coast Committee Documents page.