This weekend trip with Ray aboard his Tradewinds “Wyvern” was a very pleasant cruise up and down the Essex coast. It really was one of those simple trips that goes according to plan and can be taken for what it was and nothing more – a very pleasant and satisfying sail.
I hooked up with Ray on a Saturday morning just in time to catch the turning tide that would get us out of Titchmarsh without scraping the bottom of the boat! This area of Essex is notorious for its shallow waters and one of the problems is timing: making sure one catches the high tide to get in and out of the sands. Many people have been caught out by this in the past, including one man Ray told me about who, having just bought his new super yacht, decided to take a short cut. Instead of following the designated channel he thought it better to aim straight over the sands towards the sea directly. His boat was still stuck on the same sand bank a month later.
We headed south and took a very tranquil sail past Clacton and in towards Mersea Island, passing the odd Thames barge and finding ourselves a quiet spot to anchor up for the night, watching the sun set over the Essex countryside and listening to the tide lapping up the mud banks as various waders padded around scouring the beds for food.
We awoke early next morning to a hazy start. This was Swallows and Amazon country and the peaceful ambience was worth its weight in gold. I could have happily stayed there all day just taking it all in. We followed our same route back but passed Titchmarsh and headed on towards Felixstowe. There we tacked our way around the shipping lanes , which Wyvern did with ease. Ray had spent a lot of time and effort getting the boat to his high standards and it certainly paid off, easily hitting 7 knots in a relatively light south easterly.
When the tide was right we aimed for Titchmarsh once again. I was often preoccupied with taking photographs when I should have been following the narrow channel back into the marina!
So there it was, a simple 24 hour trip that did wonders for the soul and provoked a little nostalgia around a place I had often been to for holidays as a kid.
My thanks go out to Ray who I should have hooked up with again to join him on his last leg of his round-the-UK trip Unfortunately I got way-laid in Southampton whilst aboard Barnacle Bill and Ray had to find someone else to fill in for me. I’m angry with myself for this inconvenience but we are slaves to the weather. Ray, any time you wish to come and sail the warm Mediterranean waters aboard Esper, you are always welcome!