Tuesday, 9 August 2022

A Thames Estuary cruise

  The recent very hot weather brings its own problems for wooden boats. Below the waterline the weed grows more luxuriently and there is the worry that various types of destructive worm might set up home in the wood. Above the waterline there is the concern that the heat will cause the planking to dry out excessively and shrink. A berth on a swinging mooring is a definite advantage here as the boat swings round with the tide rather than having the sun always on the same side. We are also fortunate that local owners of various high powered craft like to travel at speed through the lines of moored boats on hot sunny days. Usefully this helps to keep the topsides moist. I keep looking forward to the time when diminishing commitments in life ashore will give more time for sailing. That time is still to come. However with John and Allan we have managed to get a few days sailing in local waters. On Monday we sailed accros the estuary against a light NE wind and ended up in Brightlingsea. The most interesting part of Brightlingsea is the river where there are a number of old fishing smacks in various stages of decay and preservation from the immaculate to the barely afloat. The size and strength of all the gear on these boats is most impressive and makes you respect the fishermen who sailed them in all weathers. 

Little has changed in Brightlingsea since our last visit several years ago. Getting a meal  can be a challenge as the eateries confidently recommended by the locals always seem to be closed. Eventually we had a fine meal in the Indian restaurant, as we have on several previous visits.

Today we left in misty weather and had a gentle sail against a light easterly wind to the magical Walton Backwaters. We sailed in over the sands an hour or so before LW neap tides with only about 1 m under the keel, which was a bit concerning. However we anchored in deeper water off Stone point, where we took advantage of one of the hottest days of the year by swimming ashore from the boat. We are miles from any civilisation here so had supper on the boat. No photos today due to poor internet access: - will try to do better tomorrow.

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