Day 22 – 28 of Summer Trip 2014 – Brightlingsea

Well I didn’t realise that I wouldn’t have electricity, or water on the pontoons in Brightlingsea. Rookie mistake. I’m back to living like a bloody Victorian! The romanticism I may feel about living off the grid would be fine if I wasn’t in Brightlingsea. When you ask anyone what there is to do in Brightlingsea, most suggestions involve walking out out of Brightlingsea.

Here’s a little collection of events going on in Brightlingsea



The next day I helped a large motorboat moor up in front of me. I don’t normally get annoyed, but the old chap barked at me after I took his lines. I tied his line off and threw it on the floor and walked off without uttering a word. As I got on my boat I looked back, we exchanged looks, and the apology after he had finished up mooring the boat never came. One bad apple in a orchard.

I watched Brazil’s epic defeat against Holland in one of the local pubs. It was an intimate affair, just me, an old boy and the bar lady. I worked my way through the ales and rowed back to the boat in the dark making sure I was fully lit up like a Christmas tree.


The weather forecast on Wednesday was for 40 knots of wind at times, which for non sailors is too much for me play around with as a noob. The most I want to deal with on my own is 30 knots for now. Wind strength is exponential, so 40 knots is not twice as strong as 20 knots. I don’t know the exact ratio (if there is one) but 40 knots is not fun and I had no intention of going out there in that just yet.

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I spent the day on the boat listening to the howling wind and enjoyed being tied up safely, even though we were being buffeted around.

Looking around the boat for things to do, I thought it would be a good idea to check over my lifejackets. The lifejackets have a small gas canister that auto inflates the lifejacket on contact with water, or with a tug of a pully. I checked over the first lifejacket to discover a green tab that indicates they are in working order missing. To cut a long boring story short, the first one didn’t work, the second one I tried anyway inflated, the third was also missing the green indicator and also worked. A costly venture, from memory each canister costs £25, but it’s all part of boating and I’m glad I checked them out!

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After the windy day I took a look at my options. I had a friend visiting over the weekend and the only options were to go north and head to the River Orwell, or stay put until Monday and head south. I really want to get to France so an extended stay in Brightlingsea it is.

Another bit of fun is that I’m in the river, so I have to either row to shore in my dingy (my outboard isn’t working properly atm), or get  the harbourmaster to ferry me ashore for £1 a trip. This adds to the adventure for sure.


A boat was stranded on the approach to Brightlingsea in the week after being assured by the harbourmaster there was still enough water to make their way in. The boat had a 3 hour wait whilst the tide rose enough to be freed from the mud. It pays dividends to do your own research. I was told by the staff and harbourmaster it would be safe to enter or leave at any state of tide, after I checked my tides for Monday I worked out there was no way in hell I’d get out at low tide on Springs. The harbourmaster later agreed. Just goes to show, do your own research and don’t take anything anyone says as gospel!!

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Then another boat got stuck


My friend turned up for the weekend, and as the only suggestions were to head out of Brightlingsea, we took a 3 hour walk to Wivenhoe, a small fishing village very close to my old university. We took a long walk through fields, along the river to Wivenhoe.

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One good thing about all these seaside locations is all the fresh fish. Seemed wrong not to make a fish pie. Fish, oysters and mussels all fresh from the local fishmonger!

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…and pancakes for breakfast

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Ruth (Ben’s cousin) planned to join me on Monday, so I was finally ready to start making my way to France. My aim is to head to Queenborough first, this will give Ruth some time to adjust to boat life, and then head to Ramsgate, and then to Boulogne. Ben will be joining a week after so the plan will be to continue south, Dieppe and then Honfleur.

Update. Ruth as been delayed so we’ll chillout and head off on Tuesday.

Trip Stats
Miles: 0
Total Miles: 125
Dinners/drinks/groceries £150.68
Marina fees (7 nights) £105.00
Summer trip total expenditure £1441.42
Author: Tim Butler

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