East Coast Branch
Event Reports 2023
From the car park of the Bull public house in Great Totham the River Blackwater can be seen flowing towards the North Sea. From this place the Saxons, ruled by Æthelred the Unready, could see the invading Viking long ships approaching before the bloody Battle of Maldon took place near Northey Island in 991.
Inside the dining room of the Bull a convivial meeting of thirty members of the MOA East Coast Branch enjoyed a lunch, together with a glass or two of what they fancied; which had been preceded by many conversations around the bar, as we met old friends and made new acquaintances.
Alan also received the ‘Services To the Branch’ Trophy, in recognition of his sterling service for several years.
Roger Price – East Coast Secretary
It was a cold and blustery morning with sleet and snow showers on the drive to Medway Yacht Club but we received a warm, in all senses of the word, welcome from Neil and his staff at Medway Yacht Club. It was good to see familiar faces and new members soon chatting about the problems that the winter’s maintenance had shown up and plans for the summer. Soon we were seated and orders taken. Everyone opted for the excellent carvery and tucked in. Somehow we found room for dessert as well.
It was great to see new faces and some members commented that they had not been to an MOA event before but would be coming along again.
It seemed no time at all before it was mid afternoon and we were homeward bound.
Linda Jessup – Committee Member
Our fitting out lunch was held at the Walton & Frinton Yacht Club, who made us very welcome. Twenty eight members attended and socialised around the bar and had lunch in the upstairs room which has fine views over the Walton Backwaters.
After lunch, the Association General Secretary Chris Allcock presented our recently retired Branch Captain Alan Giles (accompanied by his wife Jane) with the Selden trophy, for services to the Association.
Colin Shead – East Coast Webmaster
Our first Rally of this year having come to nothing, due to the unseasonable spring delaying the launch of many boats, we hoped for a better turnout for our planned rally to Ramsgate over the Spring Bank Holiday. The planning for this event was all done by David Brookes who, sadly, was unable to join us but still did a great job. Thank you, David.
A stable high centred on Great Britain had created the longest period of stable north easterly winds I can ever remember, with mostly clear skies but cold air arriving from Scandinavia. The forecast for most days was NE 4-6, sometimes dropping a bit in the afternoon. However, Saturday 27 June turned out to be one of the greyer days, with more 5 and 6 than 4, so some of the boats due from the Medway pulled out; either because it would be a lumpy passage from Sheerness to the N Foreland. or because the weather was forecast to be even windier on Monday for the homeward passage.
In the end, only three boats arrived in Ramsgate – on Saturday, first Wild Thyme, crewed by Chris Allcock and Peter Wright, arrived from Suffolk Yacht Harbour after a storming reach via Foulger’s Gat. She was closely followed by Zanzibar from Chatham, sailed by Keith Millay and Glen together with two guests, who didn’t enjoy the lumpy passage and left for home shortly after arrival. Keith and Glen however, having sailed around Britain including the Orkneys last year, proved to be of sterner stuff and were using the Rally as a stopover on the beginning of this year’s cruise to the Baltic. On Sunday Moonfleet arrived from Chatham sailed by Russell Cherry and Bob, they also reported a rather lively passage from the Medway.
On Saturday evening Dick and Angela Holness came by car from their home in nearby Herne Bay – sailing was not an option for them as Cantata was beneaped in the Swale marina. They stopped for drinks and a chat on Wild Thyme before heading home.
On Sunday afternoon, when Moonfleet had arrived, we gathered for drinks and nibbles on board Wild Thyme while getting to know each other. The weather was not very accommodating so it was perhaps fortunate that the numbers were small and we could all fit comfortably down below. In the evening we all got together again for dinner in La Magnolia, an Italian restaurant below the Royal Temple Yacht Club on the harbour front. Apart from being an excellent meal, the staff of this family run business were very friendly and readily accommodated our ever changing numbers.
Monday dawned with the forecast F6 blowing straight in the entrance to the outer harbour, sending quite a wave system through to the marina. Wild Thyme was pressed hard against the pontoon, squashing her fenders almost flat, so all 3 boats decided to stay on and hope for friendlier weather on Tuesday. Tuesday morning brought a bit less wind so Wild Thyme set off for Brighton and Zanzibar to Ostend. Moonfleet left on Wednesday returning to her home port.
Peter Wright – Branch Captain
Following last years East Coast members survey the first mid-week rally was planned for June 19th to 22nd.
Five boats registered to meet at Bradwell on Monday and sail in company to Heybridge Basin, where the rally was to be held, on Tuesday. Three crews also booked to come by car.
We awoke on Tuesday to a deluge of rain but this stopped dead on 10o/c allowing us to set sail (or motor) at 10.30 in warm sunshine which continued for the remainder of the week.
Arriving off the lock at around 13.30 we were soon locking into the Basin assisted by the Lock Keeper, Paul, and his band of helpers.
A convivial meal was enjoyed at the Jolly Sailor, the nearby hostelry, in the evening.
On Wednesday we met at the ex RNLI 52-02, the Sir William Arnold, for a tour of this historic life boat, which is currently berthed in Heybridge Basin.
52-02 is an Arun class life Boat and served as the Guernsey Life Boat from 1974 to 1997. More details can be found on their website.
After the visit a BBQ Rally was held adjacent to the basin.
On Thursday, following a “full breakfast” in the adjacent Tiptree Tea Rooms we locked out slightly before high tide and went our separate ways.
Roger Price – East Coast Branch Secretary
Saturday started blustery and cloudy and the outlook was not good. By lunchtime the wind had increased to a force 5 with gusts considerably more and the rain set in. In the afternoon we had drinks and nibbles on Miss Saigon and waited for the arrival of Svecia on passage from Levington with some concern as the weather was now horrible. They thankfully arrived safely but rather wet.
In the evening we all attended the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, travelling by car from Burnham Yacht Harbour as the rain had not stopped all afternoon. We were served an excellent tapas which turned out to be a help yourself buffet with a selection of dishes that were regularly replenished as we consumed them.
On Sunday the wind was still strong and there was some sunshine for our walk to Mangapps railway museum. The walk was about 3.5 kilometres and was accomplished using mainly public footpaths with minimal road walking. The museum was filled with so many exhibits: model trains, silver service cutlery, station signs, transport police truncheons, benches, carriages, locomotives and signal boxes. It is definitely worth a visit if you are interested in railway history. At the museum after enjoying the excellent exhibits and a short ride on an old diesel engine, we ate our picnic lunches in the sunshine before our return walk to the marina.
Mangapps Railway Museum
John Holliday – Miss Saigon
Only four boats, Sky Song, Dreamtime, Cantata and Svecia, made it to Woodbridge Tide Mill Marina, probably as the others had got wind that the guy from Sky Song was organising it! The rally started with a warm still Friday evening, welcome drinks and nibbles being served on-board Sky Song. Everyone squeezed into the cockpit of the smallest boat in the fleet, I was surprised that everyone did not observe the black tie dress code, but never mind, everyone had a drink or two, introductions were made and a very enjoyable evening was had by all.
Next day we all met up at 12:30 for the 30 min walk to HMS Vale, a former Swedish Navy fast missile attack craft, now converted to a Café on the riverbank. Once on-board MOA members were treated to exclusive access to the member’s bar. Entrance to the member’s bar is via quite a steep set of stairs, as Jill Hodges had an unfortunate fall in her companionway the day before, the group were concerned, so concerned phone cameras were at the ready as she gently made her way down the stairs (thankfully safely).
In the members bar we were shown to our table which had pleasant views over the river, and various interesting nautical items mounted around the room. Drinks and food were served, Dave and Jill Hodges both had a massive Ploughman’s lunch and Tony Redshaw had a massive sausage (well so he says) which made us laugh. Knickerbocker glories and cream teas all went down well.
We made our way back to the marina, taking a little longer than the walk there. Plans were made for a Sunday afternoon BBQ, as the forecast was for thunderstorms and rain, too wet to do anything else.
Sunday morning most visited the local museum on the quay and the workshop where they are building a replica Sutton Hoo Long ship by tools and methods used on the original vessel. Some visited the Tide Mill museum, one of only two working Tide Mills in the country. The rest of the morning was taken up shopping for charcoal and BBQ food from the local supermarket, the only shop open.
The plan was to have the BBQ around 17:00, the exact time the sky opened up with torrential rain together with thunder and lightning. Once the rain eased we ventured over to the BBQ area with full ocean waterproofs on. The half oil drum BBQ resembling a bath with water gushing out of the bottom. Dick shook his head as he showed us all his East Coast Rain App, showing rainclouds and lightning bolts over Woodbridge, so we decided to give it a go.
People walking past either stared in disbelief or laughed out loud as the coals were lit and flames danced in the now light rain, a pleasant hissing sound was made as the raindrops hit the grill. Eventually the rain eased and we huddled round for warmth and to put the food on the grill. Everyone had the same red chicken on a stick as we had all shopped at the only shop open, that caused confusion for some. Dick AKA East Coast Chef.Com had special parcels of foil that contained his onions delicately fried in oil for his burgers, ingenious. We finally sat down, on plastic bags, sipping our diluted drinks.
We all had good fun, credit to a really great bunch of MOA members.
Steve Hillyard – Sky Song