The River Blackwater Cruise

Six boats from WFYC locked into Heybridge basin at HW on Thursday 6th June, having set off from Walton on Wednesday or early Thursday morning.  Unfortunately, Romteskip with Bill and Julie Woodhouse aboard, became entangled with an unmarked rope off the Naze and had to be towed back into Walton. (The offending rope, which had jammed itself between the rudder and skeg, was subsequently removed with no lasting damage). The trip down to Heybridge was described as “lively” but the crews all seemed to have had an enjoyable journey and were soon exchanging stories and refreshments aboard each other’s boats in the basin.

Mike and Helen Stokoe who had organised the cruise travelled to Heybridge by road, as their long running engine repairs were as yet untested, and I met them and the participating crews at the basin during the afternoon and later, at the meal they had organised in the “Jolly Sailor”. Alan and Norma Banks also travelled down by road to meet up with their fellow cruisers.

Regrettably the weather over the weekend was not great but this gave ample time for Martyn Page (and Sheila Negus) aboard his new motor yacht ‘Consortium’, to play host and provide guided tours around his pride and joy.  Consortium is a truly magnificent craft which should, once Martyn has finished tinkering, prove ideal for his needs. Joining Martyn and Sheila in Heybridge were; David and Eileen Cassidy aboard Seahorse,  Andy Evans on Moondancer ii, Graham and Christine Godward aboard Reflex, Andy and Carol Clark on Falcon, Alan and Nona Manning in Sardien, and  David and Sue Wood aboard Nalor .

On Sunday 9th the plan was for the boats to leave for Bradwell where berths had been booked in the marina. However, a poor forecast for the early part of the next week prompted Consortium and Seahorse to come straight back to Walton, Falcon stayed in Heybridge and our own Lollipop which was due to join the cruise at Bradwell didn’t leave Walton. Despite the poor forecast, the weather on Tuesday proved ideal for the return to Walton and several of the remaining boats journeyed back to Walton at this time. The others, well they’ve gone off exploring, but isn’t that what cruising’s all about?

I’d like to add my thanks to Mike and Helen Stokoe who organised the cruise despite the difficulties with their own boat. I’m sure we’d all like to send them best wishes ,and hope that “Beatrice” will be fit for service again in the very near future.

Chris Bridgwater.