East Coast Branch

Event Reports 2016

Winter Get Together Chatham

Our last get-together of 2016 at the ever busy Ship and Trades, Chatham was somewhat reduced in size by coughs and sneezes but those who did attend enjoyed the convivial atmosphere and good food.   There were the usual end of season tales of the summer trips which now seem rather distant memories, discussion of jobs for the winter and the anticipation of next year’s cruising when, of course, the sun will shine and the wind will be in the right direction.  There was much interest shown in the proposed rally to Dover and Boulogne for Bastille Day in July next year.

As the evening progressed the topic of sailing as a couple was raised and tales of misheard instructions from the helm and mishaps, usually involving mooring, were recounted.  The last of the group departed shortly before midnight to ensure that their carriages did not turn into pumpkins – sorry panto season is upon us.

Once again the event proved to be an enjoyable and stimulating evening for those who were able to attend.


Laying Up Lunch 2016


How sad that this year’s sailing season has drawn to a close, it seems to have gone so quickly this year (policemen seem to have got younger too!). The venue for the Laying Up lunch was a new one for the East Coast MOA namely The Blue Anchor at Feering, and what an excellent venue it turned out to be – well done Adrian and Janet for finding it!

40 members attended and  discussed – among many other topics – lifting-out versus staying-in, cold weather sailing, Eberspacher central heating, friends that have sailed off to the med for the winter, etc. etc.


The meal was very good, with Sunday roast being a popular choice. Everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves, and how could they not with such excellent company and excellent food! Mike Ballinger, EC Branch Captain, gave a quick speech to thank Adrian and Janet for organising the event, and indeed to all the people who have organised the season’s events and have helped with various jobs including Sally for being Chief Photographer which often means her meal or mingling is interrupted to snap away!

As it happened, the day before the laying up lunch was a really warm and sunny October Saturday. Sansofé had gone out of Bradwell on the midday tide for a quick spin across to Brightlingsea for lunch. In fact there was quite an exodus of boats doing the same thing, several (non MOA people obviously!) were staying the night and returning on the Sunday midday tide. There was hardly a breath of wind so they drifted or chugged their way to the Colne but once on the pontoon at Brightlingsea it was a lovely walk along the sea wall to the Bateman Tower cafe for bacon sarnies! An absolutely super autumn outing to end the season with.

Rally to Burnham-on-Crouch

Well, this brings us to the last sailing event of the 2016 season – hasn’t it gone quickly! The Burnham-on-Crouch rally is always a popular event as it has many elements besides the drinks and nibbles and an organised meal / barbeque. This year the weather encouraged many boats to travel to the river crouch on the Friday, to be met and helped into our berths by Colin and Yvonne and other members as they arrived. The restaurant at the marina has recently changed hands and some members gave it a go on the Friday evening, and had a very good meal. Others walked into Burnham and sampled one or other of the many restaurants in the small market town.

Saturday dawned windy but dry but still didn’t encourage more than one of our boats to enter the annual Tucker Brown Cup race that is held as part of the carnival weekend. The Marina organise a marquee with a lunch of Paella, Pizza and salad; this year there was an interesting assortment of non-alcoholic ‘mocktails’ as well as the usual wine and beer and – yippee –  an ice-cream machine dispensing 99s! There was also the extremely good 10 piece band playing again, encouraging our very own ‘strictly’ couple Andrew and Diane to demonstrate their skills , along with others demonstrating their enthusiasm! A lovely fun way to pass a Saturday afternoon.

There followed the drinks and nibbles get-together which spilled over from Namaqua onto next door Rockhopper. Lots of nattering and reminiscing the season’s trips, whilst devouring Yvonne’s lovely cakes!

Saturday evening was the Burnham carnival, which is always worth watching, with some marvellous floats, none better than the Burnham RNLI’s Titanic float. Besides the majorettes, marching bands and carnival courts were some dancers looking as if they had come straight from the Notting Hill carnival complete with exotic costumes and energetic dancing. Great fun!

On Sunday morning the marquee was transformed into a boat jumble with amazing bits and pieces that are of course desperately important for someone! MOA members came with lots of stuff, one member selling a couple of his surplus fenders to another member, so everyone is happy. A cheque was given to the RNLI from the sale of some of the bits and pieces.

Some members considered the forecast better for a Monday departure whilst others set off for home. Those that stayed were able to enjoy the Carnival firework display on the Sunday evening.

A fitting end to a great weekend and a great season!

A big thank you must be given to Colin and Yvonne for all the organisation the rally entailed, the berthing, hosting, arranging the lunch tickets, the jumble tables etc. etc.

The next event is the laying up lunch on Saturday 30th October 2016.

Rally to Titchmarsh – Walton Backwaters


What a difference a day makes. Some of the 13 boats going to the August Bank Holiday Rally at Titchmarsh Marina on the river Twizzle in the lovely Walton Backwaters were fortunate enough to travel on the Friday –  calm sea, nice steady force 3-4. Several even anchored off shore to watch the Clacton Airshow and were treated to a marvellous display by the Red Arrows and assorted aircraft old and new. The Red Arrows, lunch in the sunshine and a good sail – what could be better?

Not so for those who travelled on the Saturday. It was rough, force 6 and gusty, and no matter what direction they arrived from the wind seems to have been on the nose. This of course was a more typical bank holiday sail up The Wallet with the statutory “wind over tide” for those coming from the south.

The Saturday contingent were helped into their berths and were welcomed onto Host boat Wispa by Derek and Elaine for a well deserved drink and admiration/commiseration from their fellow Moody owners on their exhausting trips. Derek and Elaine were excellent hosts and kept the drinks and nibbles flowing, and as ever the chattering and laughter grew and grew until even the Saturday contingent were fully revived and laughing over their exploits.

The Harbour Lights restaurant in the marina had been booked, 27 members sat down for a good evening with good food and good company. I think we probably drowned out some of the other people in the restaurant but no-one complained, we were clearly having a fun evening!

Sunday brought more sunshine and more wind but as almost everyone was staying until Monday we were all able to relax and recuperate. An impromptu coffee get-together seemed to materialise on Sansofé, which is the new Raindance of Mike and Jill Ballinger.  Then it was time for Boule and Barbeque. Titchmarch Marina provide excellent Barbeque facilities but failed to provide the right weather. A heavy shower of rain didn’t manage to extinguish the barbeques or the enthusiasm; it was short lived so the assorted sausages kebabs and burgers were demolished in the dry!

A very big thank you must go to Derek and Elaine for hosting the rally, for all the organisation of the berths, the ‘drinks and nibbles’, the meal, the boule etc.

Monday repaid the Saturday contingent with a wonderful sail back to home ports, the wind wasn’t even on the nose for once for the southern boats!

Rally to Heybridge Basin

Once again the sun shone on the 11 boats that came to the Heybridge Basin rally. Most of the boats arrived for the Friday late morning lockings, probably to get a prime position by the wall or to be rafted to friends! There was an impromptu meal arranged in one of the two pubs by the lock, this year it was The Jolly Sailor again and an excellent evening was enjoyed by all, The last two boats arrived on the Saturday morning and they decided to spend the day and night in the lock as it wasn’t going to be opened again until the Sunday midday tide.

The Host boat was Raindance – its last outing with present owners as it has been sold – and 24 members enjoyed the Pimms, drinks and nibbles and the chatting. Six members came by road due to an assortment of excuses but they are of course most welcome!

We finally had a lovely summers evening for the barbeque although we watched the black sky and heard the rolling thunder as some other parts of Essex copped the heavy rain. Look at the pictures below for examples of some really superb barbeque food and some musical entertainment!  A most enjoyable rally culminating in the usual entertainment of trying to squash as many boats into the lock as possible, an example of enthusiasm triumphing over physics!

Rally to Brightlingsea

Brightlingsea harbour gives its visitors options – a small Marina newly dredged or linear berths on pontoons. The 2 main berthholder pontoons are lovely as you can walk along their amazing length looking at all the different boats and being sociable, but the smaller visitors’ pontoon means you might be berthed next to some beautiful old smacks, which can be a bit daunting as you try to parallel park but the harbour master and his assistants are usually on hand to take ropes. The down side of the pontoons is no electric (how are we to chill the wine, and surely not warm G&Ts!) but those who crave the modern amenities of water and electric connectivity – or who have dogs that need walkies – can once again go into the cozy little marina. To get from pontoon to shore requires the watertaxi which buzzes around all day.

Pete and Phyl made us all very welcome on their Moody 376 Epona with lots of lovely eats and drinks and lots of chatter and laughter. It was great to meet some new members who had taken possession of their Moody 346 Aqua Dance that very afternoon! We came across them piling bags into the water taxi and got chatting so they came along with their two young daughters to meet some more Moody owners and they joined us for the meal in the Colne Yacht Club in the evening. With numbers up to 24 a very convivial evening was had by all devouring the Toad in the Hole and the warm chocolate fudge cake !!!


Rally To Suffolk Yacht Harbour – River Orwell

The rearranged rally to the river Medway saw 19 boats book a place on the rally!  BUT – being a bank holiday the weather made sure that arrangements had to be rearranged yet again. With gales forecast for the Monday many boats decided to leave on the Sunday before the planned get-together on host boat Raindance and the BBQ. Some boats arrived via the A12 but 13 boats arrived seeing 35 members enjoy the Pimms, beer, wine and nibbles, canapes and rock cakes on Raindance.


Fitting Out Lunch – Pin Mill

The last land-based event of the winter was held at The Butt & Oyster, Pin Mill on Saturday, April 23rd. Such is the popularity of this event a reserve list of members was on standby to attend. Following phone calls at 8 am with man flu setting in with the promise of pre-paid meals the reserves changed their plans and were in attendance by lunch time. This enabled 36 members to have a great time.

Branch Captain Mike Ballinger explained to the members that it had been decided to cancel the end of May trip to the Medway and France due to circumstances outside even his control !!!! He thanked the members who had been involved in the organising. The re-organised event would now take place at the Suffolk Yacht Harbour on the river Orwell. (See events page)

Presentation of the Clark and  Carter Trophy to Trevor and Kay Parrish, Moonbow for their sailing achievement in 2015
Branch Captain helping to lay a mooring for a local girl? “How could you refuse” was his comment.
A popular pastime on the East Coast – waiting for the tide.

Noggin and Natter

The annual Noggin and Natter to celebrate the coming of the sailing season was held at the usual venue of The Ferryboat Inn at Fambridge, on Sunday 20th March. As with many pubs the ownership changes  yet we seem to have a consistently good meal with good service. Despite the extensive menu most went for the Sunday roast and quite a few succumbed to the appetising dessert menu. As usual the volume of chatter and laughter grew as sailing plans and the progress (or otherwise) of the winter jobs was discussed. The weather was good enough for a few hardy souls who thought to bring suitable footwear to walk along the beautiful Fambridge banks of the Crouch, stopping to admire the pub’s amazing duck house! Many thanks to Roger Price for organising the event.


East Coast Branch AGM

This event organised by Roger Price, East Coast Branch Secretary, was attended by 46 members who enjoyed a superb lunch at The Bull, Great Totham, Essex. This is the fourth time that we have held the AGM at this very popular venue, working on the basis if it isn’t broke don’t fix it unless you have a suggestion !!! (To the secretary please.)

Members traveled from afar to be there for the excitement of the AGM and prize giving. The Branch Captain Mike Ballinger gave his report, then accounts were presented by Robin Harris, and as he had not ordered a new boat it was assumed all was well.

The official prize giving was preceded by James and Carol Littlewood presenting the Paddington Trophy to Mike (centre pictured right) for the organisation of the 30th Anniversary dinner !!

Mike then asked David Woolgar (left) to accept the Clarke and Carter Plate which was awarded to Trevor and Kay Parrish who could not attend, for their trip across the North Sea. A 35-hour crossing four countries and 2278 nm along with 52 ports.

Much merriment and chatter followed, with members remembering their past adventures and looking forward to new ones.