East Coast Branch

Event Reports 2017

Laying-up Lunch


Well, sadly here we are at the end of another season. As last year we ‘celebrated’ at The Blue Anchor in Feering, which is an excellent venue that lays on a very good meal in lovely surroundings. We have our own room and bar so the rest of Feering have a fighting chance of a quiet Sunday lunch! How odd it is to see people in their going-out clothes rather than their sailing outfits, I think we all scrub up rather well! A turnout of 38 members kept the chatter and laughter up before, during and after the lunch when with goodbyes and Happy Christmases we relunctantly departed for home.

Highs and lows of the season were discussed. Lows included a broken fuel tank and its replacement being backed into by a car; an engine that had had enough of this world; a couple of dunkings, and other such trials and tribulations of boat ownership. These were far outweighed by the highs of some lovely sails and happy rallies. Some have thoughts and plans for upgrading to a bigger Moody, some have plans for winter projects, and some are working on plans for intrepid voyages next year. Whatever we each do over the winter we all look forward to happy boating for 2018 – the programme for which has been worked out and is available on the east coast homepage.

Looking forward to seeing many of you next season, keep warm and best wishes for a happy CHristmas and for good weather next summer!

Rally to Burnham-on-Crouch


The rally to Burnham, which is our last sailing event of the season, is always set for the weekend of their Carnival, even when the tides don’t conspire to make the arrival times suitable. Not only do we have the carnival procession to watch in the evening but the Marina put on a marquee with food and a band on the Saturday lunchtime. Colin and Yvonne Brewer organised the rally as in previous years but an unfortunate engine malfunction on their boat meant the venue for their drinks and nibbles hosting had to be moved to Sansofé.


Those arriving on the Friday all met up in the Marina’s Swallowtail restaurant for an evening meal. This is a popular rally given the various activities so we had some 40 members for the marquee lunch and  for nibbles including Yvonne’s famous cakes. Quite a few arrived by virtual boat especially as the weather forecast was pretty grim for the homeward trip. On the Sunday the marquee becomes a boat jumble with stuff you never realised you needed, and some stuff you aren’t sure what you need it to do! Most people seem to end up with a net gain but the RNLI is the winner as several tables give their takings to them!

Lunch in the Marquee

Captain and Vice Captain are serious roles!

Yvonne’s excellent cakes

Rally to Chatham Marina

East Coast Branch Battle of the Medway!

Not a Dutch boat in sight – with the weather Gods looking very kindly on the MOA fleet for the last Bank Holiday of  the season, the boats arrived from far and wide, 13 in all. Furthest was Circe from Manningtree. A great turnout and a well organised event.


Everyone arrived in good time for pre dinner drinks in the marquee by the lock.  This facility is provided free of charge by MDL, and it was also the designated area for the Sunday BBQ.  It was far too hot to stay inside and there was much chatting between old friends and new.  Once the wine ran out, it was time to walk over to the Ship & Trades for a most enjoyable evening meal.

Sunday was another scorcher, Epona made an early departure for Brightlingsea. At lunchtime 14 of us assembled at the marquee again for a BBQ.  After lunch we sheltered in the shade provided by the lock powerhouse, including Scamp the Branch Captain’s Jack Russell, who may well have to be Branch Captain next year, Scamp that is!  Essex Skipper slipped quietly out at silly o’clock on the Monday morning into a very foggy river Medway, followed hour by hour by the rest of the fleet, still much too early for our hosts to wave goodbye!  Another successful Rally on the East Coast. (Thanks to Graham and Mags for the organisation).

Sometimes it’s worth leaving at dawn.

Ammunition ship in the entrance to the Medway

The lock at the entrance to Chatham Marina

A Thames barge trying to capture the breeze.

Our host boat Jeanie Marie

Pre-dinner drinks in the sunshine

Back at the marquee for a BBQ

Scamp for East Coast captain ?

Rally to Walton Backwaters

Each skipper must always make passage decisions for their particular boat, crew, interpretation of weather forecasts and their own attitudes to “challenge” versus “comfort”. This was very apparent on the rally to Walton Backwaters; the forecasts were for very unsettled weather, winds 5-7, rain, heavy showers, the tides and wind direction made for passages at the “challenge” end of the spectrum for those from the south. Also because the forecasts gave heavy rain at the time of the planned Barbeque several boats decided to cancel. A couple of skippers chose to go a day or two early and a couple of others made the journey on the day and were rewarded by weather less horrible than forecast. There were three skippers who chose to go by virtual boat, and of course Derek and Elaine were already there as host boat.

View from cockpit

BBQ !!! Indoors

I will decide what way we go home !!!!

However everyone arrived, they were rewarded by drinks and nibbles on Derek and Elaine’s Wispa, migrating from on-deck to down-below and back again as the rain came and went. Fortunately they had had the foresight to do a Plan B and book a table in the Marina restaurant for the 18 members as to barbeque would not have been pleasant!  We all had a lovely evening entertained by magic tricks from Henry (how DID he do that???) various recitations and party tricks. Much laughter and such good company made the journey to Titchmarsh marina so worth while – however it was made. Thank you very much to Derek and Elaine for their hard work and adaptability in making it a successful rally.

On a serious note, Phyl off Epona had a fall off the pontoon whilst mooring. She fell into the water probably because her shoe caught and tripped her but the difficulty is always getting someone out of the water. She was wearing her lifejacket of course and was fully concious, three fully able chaps were there in seconds but even they had a job getting her back onto the pontoon. The salutary lesson is ALWAYS wear a lifejacket while berthing and learn how to lift a person from a low level and/or look where the ladders are. Phyl is fine with a couple of bruises.

Bastille Day Cruise to Boulogne

David and I aboard Jemma met up with Peter and Brenda on Hearsay in Dover on Thursday and enjoyed a meal in the always reliable Cullins Yard that evening.  On the morning of Friday 14th July we sailed to Boulogne to meet up with Dick and Angela who had arrived on Cantata the day before after an uncomfortable trip from Dieppe.  There were drinks on Jemma that evening followed by a meal at one of the many brasseries near the quay – the moules frites were particularly good.  We then adjourned to Hearsay for coffee before joining the crowds heading for the beach in readiness for the fireworks that celebrate the storming of the Bastille.  It seemed as if the whole population of Boulogne had turned up and you could understand why as the display was spectacular.

The weekend was also Boulogne’s Fete de Mer so the entire harbour formed the festival area with several stages for live music, numerous eateries and shops selling local specialities together with replica ships and displays.   Therefore Saturday was taken up with all of this together with a walk up to the old town and some shopping for essentials such as wine and cheese.

The afternoon saw Cantata depart for Dover.  In the evening we meet up with members of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club in the Yacht Club Boulognais.  When we negotiated our way back to the boats we all agreed that La Goulade must be stronger than we had thought!

Next day we set off either for home or holidays with memories of a most enjoyable weekend.

Linda Woolgar

Rally to Heybridge Basin

The annual pantomime that is our rally to Heybridge Basin was as glorious as ever. The sun shone all weekend and we sweltered in the heat as the Heybridge Regatta got into full swing on the Saturday. You may have experienced the blazer and boater elegance of The Henley Regatta, watching the muscular and disciplined athletes powering down the course. Well this was absolutely nothing like that. The rowing races included ‘Blindfold rowing’, and ‘Shovel rowing’ (handy tip next time you row with shovels – use the backs not the scooped side). Some races were serious – The Smacks and Bawlies fleet is very competitive around the area, and some races were awe inspiring – the “Classic Wooden One Design Yachts” were majestic in the light wind. Back to nonsense in the late afternoon with many of the local ‘Young Dudes’ fired up with excess beer and testosterone pillow fighting on a very greasy pole slung across the lock! In the Marquee the RNLI stall did a good trade in Christmas Cards (yes – the ‘C’ word already) and 2018 calendars etc. The Cake Competition was for – recipe supplied – Chocolate and Guinness cake – which about sums up The Heybridge Basin Regatta!

Coxon en route to Heybridge Basin lock

Epona manoevering for position

All aboard Saraband

Five boats sensibly arrived on the Friday, not just to get berthed and rafted more easily but the weather was so wonderful. Three only had to totter up the river Blackwater but they were joined by members from the river Colne and the river Deben. The lock from the river Blackwater into the Chelmer and Blackwater canal can operate only about 3 times across high tide and take 4 or maybe 5 boats at a squash so spreading the arrival over a couple of days is helpful, especially when 2 big Smacks complete with generous bowsprits decide they want to enter the canal basin! The Friday contingent met up at The Jolly Sailor for a meal and chatter then carried on chatting over coffee on Sansofé until the sun went down over the mud.

Two more boats arrived from the river Crouch and the river Medway on the Saturday, and along with members off 3 virtual boats we all piled onto Robin and Linda’s Saraband for a wonderful selection of nibbles and afternoon drinks (lovely bread pudding too!).

Heybridge Basin has a good BBQ area and lots of picnic tables so in the evening out came the BBQs, the sausages, the corn cobs and all sorts of things people think will be better BBQ’d. More chattering, more laughing and a good time had by all. Mike Ballinger Branch Captain thanked everyone for coming and thanked Robin and Linda for all their hard work organising a successful event.

Concentration and fenders at the ready as we all jockeyed about for the Sunday lockings then off to our various home ports with sunshine and excellent winds making for excellent sailing. Sadly the timing of the lockings meant we missed The Raft racing but heyho there’s only so much excitement one can take! Thanks Robin and Linda for a great weekend.


Fenders ready for locking!

De-rafting in order

Betty departing for home

Rally to Brightlingsea


Brightlingsea is just the best place for the nautical equivalent of ‘People Watching’. There are big sailing boats, little sailing boats, motor boats, dinghies, Windfarm workboats, jetskis, beautiful old wooden smacks, strange little wooden gaffers, a local ferryboat, a water-taxi buzzing about, and a jetty full of children crabbing. Then a cargo boat ploughs its way through it all. There is nothing better on a blazing hot summer weekend than sitting in a cockpit sipping Pimms and watching it all going on, especially when surrounded by a group of Moody Owners!

Vice Captain Colin supervising

Nibbles and drinks

More nibbles and drinks!

9 boats came from various  places and most chose to pack themselves into the marina with help from waiting hands. It was lovely to see Crazy Diamond with new members the Ford-Crush family having sailed from Fambridge which is quite a jaunt. We were also joined by a virtual Solar Wind who came via the A12. A noisy and fun afternoon was spent by 25 members and 3 dogs aboard host boat Epona, with Phyl and Pete providing the necessary refreshments.

Then it was over to a new venue for us – The Yachtsman’s Arms – for a meal. It turned out to be a good choice as the food, service and seating were very good. Eventually we all returned to our boats tired, full and happy!

The marina at Brightlingsea has a cill so the morning was spent relaxing and ‘people/boat watching’ until boats could rejoin the Colne and set off for a fair sail home.

A big thank you to Pete and Phyl Sander for organising and hosting a really enjoyable rally.

Butt and Oyster

Rally to Shotley Marina

Following close on the heals of our rally to Tollesbury was the rally to Shotley Marina, opposite Felixstowe docks. There is a lock into the marina which gets very busy at summer weekends so there was a lot of milling about waiting just outside the shipping lane into Harwich! Some of our members met up and started the chatting whilst in the queue! Colin and Yvonne on host boat Namaqua had gone up the day before so were there to point out berths and assist with ropes.

Due to the numbers everyone congregated for drinks and nibbles on Sansofé whilst the sun beat down. Scamp and Bailey got fed up and spent the afternoon snoozing, some ignored the style-fairy and donned unsuitable sunhats.

In the late afternoon the barbeques came out. The marina had kindly allocated an area where we could all congregate (noticeably at the very far end furthest away from anyone else including The Shotley Owners barbeque which was giving a send off to 3 of their boats who were setting off on the Monday for a round Britain cruise although given what the weather did on the Sunday night I bet they delayed a while!). Lots of chat and smoke then we all retired back to Namaqua for tea and coffee or more importantly Yvonne’s wonderful cakes!

After all that nattering and eating and drinking it was clear that some of the chaps needed to put the world to rights with a mug of tea!

A windy sail home awaited the boats as they departed after midday on Sunday, the later one left or the further one had to go the windier it got.

Although it was good to see Trevor Parrish from the northern end of the east coast area we were sorry to hear that the reason he was there was because Kay had been taken very ill whilst down on the Orwell and was in Ipswich hospital undergoing tests and likely to have to have an operation there. All our best wishes go to Kay and Trevor.

Many thanks to Colin and Yvonne for organising the event which was thoroughly enjoyable.

Rally to Tollesbury – Up the Creek !

Another great start to the sailing sailing season over the Bank Holiday weekend. 13 boats made their way up Woodrolfe Creek and then found the marina. There are only a very few hours per tide when Tollesbury marina is accessible  (see the picture!) so there is a hectic procession in and out as soon as there is a metre or so over the cill. A welcoming party had been organised to take ropes and help where needed so everyone was quickly settled in their allotted berth for the weekend; time for cups of tea etc served on board Sansofé! This was followed by the more serious pre-dinner hospitality organised by host boat Toodle Pip, Colin and Janet Shead, then 25 members sat down for a meal in the Harbour View restaurant. Sunday saw members and their 4-legged friends off on a 2 hour walk, and a few availed themselves of the covered swimming pool at the marina.

Quite a few boats set off on the afternoon tide on Sunday, leaving the remaining members to enjoy the sunshine, the chat, and an enjoyable meet up on Pigwig courtesy of Andrew and James. Many thanks go to Colin and Janet for a very well organised Rally.

Entrance to Tollesbury Marina

Dog Walking is the order of the day !



Among the many tiny creeks and saltings that make up Woodrolfe creek lie the abandoned dreams of many a would-be sailor, rotting and breaking up. A few are possibly still used if the owner can find their way in and out of the tiny rivulets on spring tides, some could possibly be restored with a lot of TLC and money and time, but the majority are gradually succumbing to the ravages of the weather and salt water, nature wins in the end.

Butt and Oyster

Fitting Out Lunch

The Butt and Oyster at Pin Mill was the setting for the Fitting Out lunch again this year, and it did us proud – as in previous years. No-one had ventured to this most beautiful of places on the river Orwell by boat – as in previous years. However no matter where the car journey had started and despite the adventure of getting down the very long and very narrow track down to the pub it was worth it for the 29 members who assembled to excitedly discuss the plans and intentions for the coming season. Many of us will return to Pin Mill later in the summer and hopefully have a lovely fish lunch basking in the summer sun (!) outside the pub, admiring the view and watching all the different craft sailing / chugging past.

Many thanks to Robin Harris for organising the event and labelling us. It was great to see friends new and old chattering and laughing together, enjoying a good meal and good company. And now let’s get boating!




This pub is not only on the shore of the Orwell but is in a very rural and very beautiful part of Suffolk. As you can see they are animal friendly, and they certainly grow ’em big in Suffolk! This rabbit was sitting on the bank opposite the front of the pub, and the weather was such that the dogs didn’t need to take up the kind offer.

Noggin and Natter

There was a change of venue this year because with just a few weeks to go our usual venue, The Ferryboat Inn at Fambridge, was suddenly closed with no sign of reopening in time. Lots of scurrying about in the locale and we found The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch was able to accommodate us BUT only by moving the event a week earlier. Unfortunately this meant Roger Price who has successfully organised this event for several years was going to be away, so again lots of scurrying about and phoning and emailing, and The Noggin and Natter event came to fruition – and what a jolly event it turned out to be!

The Royal Corinthian did us proud and the general consensus of opinion was that we should add this venue to our annual programme. 44 members enjoyed the day, coming from Grimsby and the depths of Kent, some staying overnight so as to make a weekend of the event.

AGM and Lunch at The Bull

The 2017 season got off to a great start with the annual lunch (with AGM) at The Bull in Great Totham. We have used this venue for several years now on the basis of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. It’s lovely to catch up with sailing colleagues from past seasons and find out what we’ve all been up to over the winter.

This year we were joined by 5 new members – 2 of whom only joined at this year’s London Boat Show! We also welcomed another couple who had come to the Moody stand at the boat show wanting to find out details of a particular model of Moody. We were able to introduce them to members who knew the particular model and other similar models, while they joined in with the branch camaradarie. Isn’t this exactly what an Owners Association is all about?

Branch Captain Mike Ballinger opened proceedings by asking everyone to remember in their thoughts Mike Peyton who passed away earlier in the week. He was a well known and liked East Coast sailor, known also for his cartoons that appeared in the sailing press.

The AGM part of the day was squeezed in between the ‘orange and cointreau bread and butter pudding’ or the ‘chocolate parfait with passion fruit gel’ and the coffee. Mike Ballinger gave his Branch Captain’s report highlighting the increasing turnout at most Rallies and shore based events, and thanked the committee, and all the rally and event hosts for all their hard work and support throughout last season. Robin Harris presented the accounts and Roger Price invited nominations/volunteers for the committee positions. Following a deafening silence the committee all agreed to carry on. Unfortunately there had been no nominations or suggestions for recipients of the 2 trophies so without further ado the AGM was declared over and we all went back to chattering! A big thanks to Roger Price organising the day and Robin Harris for his labels!