|Brandaen - 1980 Smack - 65ft LOA|
We left the Walton Backwaters at low water springs, about 7.30am. At such low tides there was only about a metre of water under the boat at times but that is OK so long as you know the bottom is fairly flat and the sea is calm.
The channel past the Naze is known as the Medusa channel as apparently it was first recognised when used by Nelson during his time as captain of HMS Medusa in 1801. However it is such a useful passage through the sands that it must surely have been known to local traders and fishermen long before then.
We had a light wind sail with a fair tide to West Mersea in the river Blackwater. We tied up to a buoy and as we were still a long way from the town we got the launch service ashore. West Mersea is a major yachting centre and is deservedly known both for the vast numbers of yachts moored there and the large expanses of soft mud at low tide.
We did some shopping in the unspoilt little town and had supper in the yacht club. We also had a drink in the Victory Hotel where Mum and Dad stayed during their honeymoon in 1949. Bonita was here then too, at anchor in the river in front of the hotel.
I was anxious that having left the dinghy on the boat and got the launch service ashore we might get stranded and could also end up spending the night in the Victory. However we got the last launch back at 10.30, full of chatty relaxed sailors.