Day 21 of Summer Trip 2014 – Burnham-on-Crouch to Brightlingsea

Today I sailed/motored to Brightlingsea.

High tide was at: 20:30

The forecast was a south westerly wind, nothing too demanding.

Leaving the berth was a real pain in the arse! The wind was blowing from the east, and kept blowing me back into my berth. I tried man handling Excalibur out, but each time the wind blew me back in. Eventually someone offered to help man handle Excalibur out while I helmed. As I went astern it was impossible to bring the bow round as it was being blown back in. So I reversed out and just felt where Excalibur wanted to go, but it was pretty tight (for me anyhow). Using some propwash I managed to turn Excalibur around, and had 3 on lookers (all worried about their own boats I’d imagine) watching for good measure. I looked like a noob but what can you do! A Dutch guy told me they have a saying:

De beste stuurlui staan aan wal (The best sailors remain on shore)

Dutch proverb about criticizing. People who criticize others often are the same people who don’t do the actual work.


Outside the marina I spent the next 10-15 minutes doing a dance, which involves me taking the fenders and warps in, with a quick skip back to the helm periodically to stop Excalibur going aground, or hitting a buoy.

With the main up, and the genoa out I was able to sail along the crouch. The wind increased as I realised a halyard had come loose and was dangling over the side. I had to wrestle with the boat and the halyard as the wind picked up, it was an effort. I kept rounding up to the wind everytime I left the helm to try and grab the halyard that was dangling over the water, each time it came close I would make a leap to get it and then it would fall away from me. Much swearing ensued. Eventually I had things under control, I took in a bit of genoa and continued at a good speed.

I took the Swallowtail channel, and skipped over swin spit to wallet spit which is relatively shallow.

The forcasted rain didn’t come, but there were some nasty dark clouds around.

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I came into Brightlingsea at high tide, and used the markers on the shore to make sure I stuck to the channel on the way in, which was very pleasing. The channel kinks and is very shallow either side, so when you enter there are two posts on the shore, and the trick is the keep them behind each other, that way you know you’re not drifting to the side of the channel. The two posts have what looks like a St Georges Cross on them, as long as they’re inline you’re good!

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I found the visitors berth which is a floating pontoon on the river. The tide was slowly going out, so I was able to ferry glide smoothly onto the pontoon. Someone kindly took one of my lines making my life a lot easier! The guy told me he saw me pass and shouted to his wife that he had just seen the most beautiful boat. Not sure what to say to that. She looks good from afar, but she’s still a bit rough around the edges. I like a bit of rough what can I say 😀

Good times! made it, no major hassles!

Trip Stats
Miles: 24
Total Miles: 125
Summer trip total expenditure £1185.74
Author: Tim Butler

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