East Coast Branch

Event Reports 2018

Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club Beaujolais Event


Every year, weather permitting, members of the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club sail to Boulogne in November to collect the first of the year’s Beaujolais nouveau returning to Dover next day in company with yachts from Boulogne and Calais yacht clubs. Although it was foggy on Friday some twelve boats undertook the crossing with a similar number of french boats joining them for the return trip on Saturday.   This year members of the MOA were invited to join in the celebrations.  We gathered in the very busy bar for aperitifs and then went to the upstairs dining room to partake of a very tasty curry accompanied by copious amounts of the nouveau which is very drinkable this year.  The curry was followed by ripe camembert carefully chosen at the fromagerie and with the wine still flowing, the french entertained us with much singing and banging of the tables.  On returning to the bar we found someone playing the piano and the singing continued with dancing not quite on the tables.  The commodore of the RCPYC came round with complimentary brandy for everyone and soon it was the midnight hour and so ended a very convivial evening. Thanks to ASAP Supplies, members even went home with a party bag comprising a beanie hat and key ring torch.

Linda Woolgar


Laying up Lunch at Ipswich Haven Marina


The Laying Up lunch was held at a new venue this year, The Last Anchor restaurant in Ipswich Haven Marina. Despite the lovely sunny weather, albeit very little wind, there were only 2 boats that sailed to the marina – our hosts John and Chris (plus their 2 dogs) and Andrew and Diane who had a good weekend in Ipswich. We had a total of 37 people at the lunch, plus Maria who was unable to join her husband Adam but he kindly arranged for a meal to be plated up for her to have later!


Besides all the chatter and stories of the past season it was an opportunity to introduce our new Branch Captain-in-waiting Giles Ford-Crush and his wife Michelle. His appointment will be ratified at the AGM in January but he is already getting to know the East Coast people and get to grips with the provisional events programme drawn up for 2019. We are all looking forward to Giles taking the helm of the branch, and giving Mike Ballinger a well earned rest!

Rally to Burnham-on-Crouch


Our last sailing event for this year was – as always –  the rally to Burnham-on-Crouch to coincide with the Tucker Brown Cup race and the Burnham town carnival. The carnival organisers take no account of the tides so those who wished to enter the race and/or attend the marina hosted buffet with band and dancing had to travel round to the crouch on the Friday, which was rather a bumpy rock and roll ride. Many boats did skive off work or whatever to make the trip so were there to have a meal in the Swallowtail restaurant Friday evening and get the socialising off to a good start. Adrian and Janet had arranged with the marina to put all the MOA boats on the same pontoon and moved their own boat across the marina to join us.


For Saturday the wind disappeared, the Tucker Brown Cup was a drifting match down the river, not exactly reminiscent of the old Burnham Week racing some of us remember. They even allowed motor boats to enter but no-one really understood the rules or how the handicapping worked for them. The main objective was to be back for the buffet in the marquee which this year offered a splendid assortment of veggie or meat chilli or curries, or poached salmon, with jacket potatoes rice and lots of salad and bread. Jolly good it was too. One could have an ice cream for pudding with an extensive array of sprinkles. The band was different this year and very good with a very good girl singer. However the noise level meant some of us oldies were glad to move off later in the afternoon for a MOA get together onboard Elaine with overspill on Colin and Yvonne’s Namaqua for drinks and nibbles. Given the time of day and the “3 drinks included in the price” at the buffet it was noticable that there were quite a few mugs of tea consumed to go with lots of lovely cakes.

It was really good to see more new faces this year, (including Monty, a new friend for Scamp and Bailey). We hope they enjoyed themselves as much as we enjoyed welcoming them to the rally.


We cannot report on the carnival as we didn’t go to it this year. Others did, and the fair was producing lots of screams and sounds of people having fun. We had seen the RNLI team preparing their float earlier in the day and hopefully the ‘Notting Hill’ type dancers were there this year they are always worth watching.

The other change this year was no boat jumble on the Sunday morning  (or more disappointingly no bacon rolls), so no bargains nor junk to fill the garage. Never mind, it had been a lovely weekend with friends old and new, a good end to a good season of rallies. A big thank you to Adrian and Jan for all their hard work organising the marina and us, for hosting and for making the weekend go smoothly.

Last Night of the Proms Rally at Bradwell

£3000 (plus 5 Euros) raised for the RNLI!


This extra rally was held jointly with Bradwell Cruising Club (BCC). Bradwell Marina is the  home port for a number of Moodys and also for a number of BCC boats. Many Moodys, and non-Bradwell resident BCC boats, converged in the marina for a Last Night of the Proms event with a mega-raffle, auction, and a lot of singing and flag waving!


Sansofé was host boat and for a couple of hours people thronged to the end of F pontoon and enjoyed the usual drinks and nibbles,  hospitality and chatter. As this was a joint rally there were lots of new people to meet and stories to exchange. Fortunately the weather stayed dry and fairly warm after the showery morning so there was no attempt to squash 50 people onto Sansofé, people could mill about on the nice wide pontoon. Many of our Moodys and the BCC boats had been forewarned and encouraged to get out the flags and bunting so the marina looked fabulous with several boats dressed overall and miles of assorted bunting strung from forestays, guardrails.Huge ensigns and flags had been found and added to the sight.

More or less everyone had made an effort to meet the optional dress code of Military, Vintage or Red White and Blue. The BCC organisers Ian and Sarah were splendidly attired in RAF uniforms (including seamed stockings -Sarah not Ian!) there were naval-ish uniforms, landgirls, even an evacuee; swirly petticoated dresses, and a many flags for waving as we all belted out singalong songs from the 40s and 50s although why we knew the words when some of us were in nappies then I don’t know! An excellent 3 piece group played and sang to get us in the mood for all the Last Night of the Proms Classics.

There was an auction of a helicopter ride, a fixed wing ride along the Blackwater, some Musto jackets, a David Bowie print, tickets for Saracens v Harlequins at Twickenham, and a Liftout and Scrub at Bradwell . The raffle prizes were eagerly awaited – there were free nights berthing at many of the East Coast marinas, assorted hampers, sailbags and smellies, and a much coveted ‘Ladies Wine Handbag’ which looks like a normal handbag but is insulated and has a discreet tap to dispense the wine it can be filled with, a must for an Essex girl!

The amount of work that had been put in by Ian and Sarah in organising the evening and badgering businesses for the wonderful auction/raffle prizes was awe inspiring. It all provided a marvellous evening for lots of boaties and an amazing £3000 for the RNLI.


Rally to Chatham


Well the long hot summer had to break sometime !

All looked set up for a fine few days  on the Medway August bank holiday weekend but it was not to be. We had hoped for up to 8 boats but the combination of weather and other factors reduced us to 2 visitors and several local boat crews and friends.

We had a sunny break and welcome refreshments on the Saturday afternoon alongside the Chatham MDL Marina  before repairing to “ The Broadwick” restaurant for an excellent dinner.



Sunday dawned dry but grey, some crews visited the local museums before the rain set in, the open top bus tours didn’t seem to have many takers. Our visitors departed on the drier Monday .

Ian French in Sun and Air has to get a special mention for trying. They set off just after midnight but  engine gremlins struck half way across the Thames and he needed a tow from the friendly RNLI to Queenborough. He spent a day or so cleaning up the fuel system before sailing back to the Blackwater on the Monday.

Dave and Jacqui Brookes , Time Bandit M29.

Rally to Heybridge Basin

The four boats that chose to go to Heybridge on the Friday turned out to be the lucky ones. It may have been hot and sticky with no wind but they didn’t suffer the fate of the three who attempted the same journey on the Saturday and either ended up being marooned in Bradwell by the gale force winds, or fleeing back to their home port in appalling conditions.

Those tucked up safely in the basin at Heybridge enjoyed a really great and extended weekend with much socialising and eating out.

A full account of what happened, entitled ‘The Weekend the Weather Broke’, is attached click here

Robin Harris, Saraband M31

Rally to Walton Backwaters

For the past 2 or 3 years our rallies to Titchmarsh Marina on the river Twizzle have been plagued by rain but this year the wonderful sun shone unabated. The Walton Backwaters are “Swallows and Amazons” country, the famous Authur Ransom books that we all grew up with, were set in this area and with names like the river Twizzle and Bramble Creek one’s imagination is fired. The salt marshes are home to hundreds of little creeks that cry out to be explored in a little sailing dinghy or rowing boat. There is also an abundance of wildlife, particularly birds, that feed on the plants and flowers that are unique to the habitat. Seals abound including in the marina itself from time to time! A downside of the glorious sunshine is lack of water in the irrigation lake as seen in the picture.

Hosts Derek and Elaine could at last open up the cockpit of Wispa and let us all drape ourselves on her decks, to enjoy the Pimms and wine etc. etc. and a lovely selection of nibbles – hot and cold!! Our hosts had organised berths and were on hand to ensure everyone went in the right one. Given the good weather and the delightful venue boats arrived from most of our local marinas and rivers, Crouch Blackwater, Orwell and Deben, and it was nice to see Alex and his friend had made quite an epic sail from the river Medway.

Titchmarsh marina has a number of purpose built brick BBQs and picnic tables in a large well kept area, so late afternoon out came the disposable BBQs and an impressive collection of more high-tech contraptions for burning the marinaded this-and-that and the ‘chilli infused’ whatevers. What ever happened to a blackened sausage in a bun with lashings of tomato ketchup?

A few people stayed on for the Sunday evening, and enjoyed a meal in the nearby Walton and Frinton Yacht Club. It is a few miles by road – thanks Derek for the multiple ‘taxi’ runs – but a member of the club offered to run us all back in his 12′ open motorboat. The sun was just setting over the creeks and salt marshes, the evening was balmy and warm, the water still and high. The 15 minute trip back sitting a few inches above the water was pure magic,

Thank you Derek and Elaine for a great rally, well organised and a lot of fun.

Rally to Brightlingsea

Lovely Brightlingsea; lovely weather; lovely people – what more could you ask for! It all makes for a lovely MOA rally to one of the favourite busy boating places on our stretch of the east coast. Again it was unfortunate that at the last minute a couple of boats had to cry off, and a windy forecast for the Sunday put a few people off coming by boat so there were several who came via the dreaded A12 but it was worth their while! As always at Brightlingsea the dingies decided to have a race in the mouth of the marina/mooring pontoons just to keep the visiting cruisers on their toes. There was also a Smack race (that’s fishing smacks) in the river, and we could make out the screams of “Starboard!”, “Water!” and other nautical racing terminology some of which is not printable.

Host boat Epona moved into the small marina in the week to ease access and they were joined by others on the Friday; the ‘summertime weekends only’ fish and chip shop right by the marina seemed to be an good choice for supper. Others arrived on Saturday and either squashed into the marina or went out onto the trot pontoons having to patronise the local water taxi. We all piled onto Epona for drinks and eats in the sunshine, a jolly good time was had by all. In the evening we all trooped into The Yachtsmans Arms for a nice meal and lots more chatter. A big thank-you to Pete and Phyll for all their work in organising and hosting the rally, and a big thank-you to Whoever for organising such wonderful weather!

Brightlingsea Beach Huts

Even the Bus shelters are interesting in Brightlingsea

The caff – to be replaced by a proper 2 storey edifice, it’ll never work.

The jetty and crabbing pier

Galley slaves kept below?

Nattering in the sunshine

More nattering in the sunshine

Contemplating something serious!

Rally to Bradwell-on-Sea

Bradwell Marina is home to several MOA boats so not much passage planning there then! It was unfortunate that 4 of the visiting boats had to cry off at the last minute for technical, work or family issues, but we still had a merry contingent arriving on the Friday as the tides on Saturday would have meant a silly o’clock start for several of them. Plus it meant the mingling and mixing started Friday afternoon which was lovely. Ian and Linda off Astral Loot were able to join us before they set off on Saturday with friends, I’m not sure if they count as a Bradwell boat as they are now ‘liveaboards’ so wherever they are is where they are based!


Host boat Sansofé is berthed at the end of a pontoon so this gave us plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the sunshine, and the afternoon tea on Saturday afternoon. I say ‘tea’ but there was a lot of Pimms, beer and wine consumed along with the cucumber sandwiches, cream scones (apparently done the Devon way not the Cornish way) and the gorgeous rock cakes (courtesy of Sally) and yummy chocolate and lemon drizzle cakes (courtesy of Debbie, (she used a Mary Berry recipe)). A lovely afternoon spent with friends, with newish members and members who still enjoy the rallies and camaradarie even though they no longer have a boat. The 3 dogs had a quick sniff, looked hopefully for a sandwich or cake then when nothing was forthcoming settled down for a good snooze.

The evening BBQ was held a short walk away at the Bradwell Quay Yacht Club building. There is a purpose built BBQ with solid tables and a bar, crockery and cutlery available which saves a lot of carting bags about. The evening turned a bit chilly so many of us retreated into the clubhouse where Robin had put together a rolling slide show of the various East Coast functions so far this year. Excellent, well done Robin, and many thanks to BQYC.

Thanks go to Mike and Jill for hosting the event and particular thanks go to Sally, Debbie, Pete and Phyl for all their help, which was much appreciated as Jill was confined to a wheelchair or crutches (broken leg) and Mike had to whizz off home on Friday to attend a hospital appointment on the Saturday morning! These things pick their moments!!

Men multi-tasking, cooking and texting!

Zigi – “there must be a bit of sausage here somewhere”

Happy Birthday June!

Patrick and Gillian enjoying the BBQ

Rally to Ipswich

What an amazing Bank Holiday Weekend! The sun shone, 20 MOA boats congregated in Ipswich Harbour and hosts Adam and Maria, ably assisted by friend Lisa, organised a wonderful BBQ and lunchtime host boat get-together. Those that travelled on the Friday had a challenging trip as the fog was dense and stubbornly clung to the coast and river. How eerie is it to enter the Orwell at Felixstowe and not see the cranes! Sansofé heard Harwich Harbour Authority Vessel Traffic Service informing one of the departing container ships that visibility was 3 cables!!(?!?). Skippers went well off shore up the Wallet and across the bay into Harwich to make sure they missed the fishing pots that are hard to see at the best of times. No windfarm, no cranes, no wind, thank goodness for radar and AIS. Those travelling on the Saturday also had a hard time as there was a stiff breeze but of course it was on the nose for those coming from the Blackwater and Crouch. But by the time Adam had lit the BBQ at The Old Yacht Club people had recovered and set about the important business of socialising!

The Old Sailing Club in the marina provided the venue for the BBQ, indeed provided the BBQs. Adam and Maria put out ‘glasses’, plates, cutlery and an array of homemade salads and lovely crusty bread, so all we had to do was turn up with meat and drinks! How easy was that! and the glasses etc all went into the recycling bin so no washing-up either! The evening was warm and we were a lovely mix of regular, occassional and new east coast rally goers, making for a great evening.

On the Sunday Morning there was a parade to the Ipswich Harbour for a service of commemoration for The Little Ships. Some 12 of these miraculous boats had travelled to Ipswich for the event, each with their own stories of heroism and bravery. The Leigh-on-Sea fishing boat ‘Endeavour’ was there, which had been used extensively in the film “Dunkirk”. Unfortunately the owners/skippers of these boats are no longer alive, but at the ceremony were two veterans who had been rescued by these boats. Seeing how small some of these ‘little ships’ were, and how unsuited for a channel crossing and evacuation, it was very humbling. No radar, radios or chart plotters for them – just seamanship and bravery. Respect.

Then it was all aboard Mariadz for yet more hospitality. What a spread. We cannot thank Adam, Maria and Lisa enough for all their hard work and hospitality. As liveaboards the kitchen space and facilities they had were restricted so to keep producing all the wonderful array of hot nibbles and even homemade fully iced cakes was truly impressive!

Finally a tour of the Thames Barge Thaletta had been organised, a beautiful majestic vessel, but my goodness there are lots of ropes and blocks and tackles and other ‘proper’ sailing chandlery!

The downside of such marvelous hosting is that Adam and Maria have set the bar extremely high for future rallies! Unfortunately the next rally – to Bradwell – is being hosted by yours truly so it is likely to be back to Sainsbury’s crisps and beers! (Other makes are available). Never mind, one thing is certain the company and enjoyment will be at its usual high standard!

Thanks again Adam Maria and Lisa.

Spring Get together

There was a new venue for the East Coast Spring Get Together this year, namely The Maldon Little Ship Club on Hythe Quay in Maldon. An excellent choice as it turned out with a room to ourselves and very good food well served. We will certainly return for a future shore based event. Maldon’s Hythe Quay is so picturesque with several Thames Barges moored against the quay and families strolling in the sunshine (Yes – it was a lovely warm sunny day!). One of our members, who shall remain nameless, does Morris Dancing on this lovely  Quay on New Years Day and at odd solstices throughout the year. Fortunately they paint their faces so everyone can pretend they don’t recognise her – sorry ‘them’!

We had a few newer members at the lunch as well as some regulars, which was good. We even had two welsh terriers sitting quietly in the corner as it was too hot to leave them in their car or in the hotel where they were staying.

As this was a social get together there was no business to do and we could natter away pretty much uninterrupted. Mike Ballinger acting in place of the vacant Branch Captain’s role did say a few words to thank Robin Harris for organising the event and to remind everyone of the next event – our first official sailing event – which is the rally to Ipswich on the river Orwell. This looks like being a good event as there are other events going on at Ipswich that Bank Holiday weekend.

Although the weather was summerlike no-one availed themselves of the visitors’ mooring by the quay, maybe the tide calculations – which are critical for Maldon – put people off! The tide leaves mud flats at that end of the river Blackwater as visible in the photos.These mud flats are used as a fund raiser for the RNLI with the annual Maldon Mud Race, when a large number of masochists and nutcases  ‘race’  across the mud and back, some in fancy dress. The mud is deep and gloopy, not too smelly, but there is no technique to avoid crossing it without going flat on your face!

Fitting Out Lunch

Given “The Beasts From The East” and that many of us are “Softy Southerners” it seemed a bit premature to call this our Fitting Out Lunch. Some members had got as far as buying tins of anti-fouling but that was pretty much as good as it got. There was very little chatter about anodes or deck-stripping or engine servicing or the usual post-winter antics. The exception was James and Carol who had taken their boat Paddington V over to Holland in the week after The Beast struck, it was not a trip that they would repeat in a hurry! One interesting snippet useful for others planning a trip in the inland waterways of Holland, France etc. etc. is there is a company who will come and take your mast down and store it for the duration of your trip then return and fit it when you are ready to cross back to UK, so avoiding having it lying across your deck and it being a handy perch for birds.

Despite the snowy roads 40 members made it to The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham-on-Crouch, only 4 people cancelled because they had a long way to travel. The 2 boats who had requested a berth on the Yacht Club’s pontoon for the day thought better of it, and having seen the flow and chop on the river Crouch it was a very sensible choice!

The meal was excellent again, a carvery with lots of choice and tempting puds – chocolate mousses, cheesecake, and a lovely rhubarb and berry crumble. The Corinthian is very welcoming, with good service and a good atmosphere, in fact we were all still sitting around chatting 4 hours later and felt we needed to ask the manager if he wanted us to chivvy people out so they could get the room straight but they were happy for us to stay!

Pontoon for visiting boats!

Pre-lunch drinks

Still chatting whilst getting served

Tempting Puddings

Paying attention!

Volunteers for next one please!

Enjoying the lunch

River Crouch before the season starts!

AGM and Lunch at The Bull

Rather like Pavlov’s Dogs you open the door into The Bull at Great Totham and suddenly it’s Boating Time again! Yes, there was chat about skiing, and model train building, and getaways to the sun, and just staring out of the window wishing for the spring, but all 48 people were soon discussing the coming season or the success (or otherwise) of the winter jobs on the boats. The 2018 MOA East Coast programme has been out for a while and with copies on the lunch tables we were all comparing which rallies we would be attending and bemoaning any we had to forego. There are old favourites such as Heybridge, and Brightlingsea but also a couple of new venues with Bradwell and Ipswich on the rivers Blackwater and Orwell respectively.Wherever the rallies are held and whatever the weather may be doing we know they will be great fun with good company!

We must remember that besides a lunch we also held the AGM. This year we were very pleased to have several trophies and awards to present. Mike Ballinger, East Coast Branch Captain, firstly announced that Dick Holness who isn’t able to be at the National AGM  was to be awarded the Anchor Shield, which is a National award for his superb photo of his boat Cantata at anchor in Stangate Creek on the river Medway. This lovely picture is featured on the front cover of the Winter 2017 edition of Compass magazine.

The Branch Trophy for services to the East Coast Branch was awarded to Peter and Phyl Sander off Epona M376. They attended every rally during 2017 and have also given a lot of support in other ways to the branch. The Paddington Trophy for Seamanship was awarded to Mike Edwards and Dave Lewis who during Mersea Week won the White Sail event on Cirrus S31 (4 out of 5 races to count), and they also came a excellent 3rd in the West Mersea Yacht Club series for 2017 (6 out of 8 races to count, white sail only).

Two extra awards were presented, to Robin Harris and Roger Price for their services as Treasurer and Secretary of the MOA East Coast Branch respectively. They have carried out these roles diligently over many years and have given their support  to several Branch Captains over those years.

For the keen you can read the minutes and accounts by selecting More from the East Coast Home page banner then selecting East Coast Branch Committee Documents, or by clicking on minutes or accounts.

Dick Holness , Anchor Shield

Pete and Phyl Sander for Services to the Branch

Mike Edwards and Dave Lewis Paddington Award for Seamanship

Robin Harris and Roger Price

Trophy table

Roger opening proceedings

Accounts being studied!

AGM over – back to chatting!

As always The Bull put on an excellent menu for us, and I think they were getting worried that we would never go as people were chatting and nattering long after the tables had been cleared. A big thank you to Roger Price for organising the event, and to Robin for the high-tech labels!