Brightlingsea – Burnham – Ramsgate

Brightlingsea to Burnham-on-Crouch

This weekend Trina came aboard.
We took the train to Wivenhoe, and found a pub nearest the station to have a pint in whilst waiting for a taxi. The taxi turned up remarkably quickly, so we sculled our drinks off we went to Brightlingsea. The taxi driver gave us inside tips about how the population of Colchester has exploded and now was the time to start up a business there.

Moving on. We’re waiting in the dark on the end of the pier in Brightlingsea, hopeful that the water taxi will appear any minute now. The website said they ran until 11pm, but that didn’t seem to be the case on this cold and blustery night. The harbour master had to come out and give us a lift after a quick call. Turned out the water taxi guy was told to toddle off home as it looked like a quiet night.

The Met office forecast for the Thames was blustery, with a moderate to rough sea state.

I didn’t fancy heading to Ramsgate in that so we decided to stick our nose out, have a sniff and head for Burnham-on-Crouch if nothing else.

We had good ol’sail right up to the entrance of Burnham-on-Crouch, waving to the seal colony as we scooted by.

Even after a relatively short sail we were k-knackered!

Burnham-on-Crouch to Ramsgate

The tides dictated that we’d have to leave at 2am early Sunday morning if we were to make it to Ramsgate.

I went to bed thinking I’d wake up at 1am and see whether I could be bothered.

1am came, the little mini Timmy sailors appeared on my shoulder like mini Jack Sparrows from Pirates of the Caribbean to debate what to do.

On one shoulder was the gun-ho “lets do it” mini Timmy the sailor. On the other shoulder was the wimpy “ooooh I don’t know, crumbs it looks dark and horrible out there” mini Timmy the sailor.

For those of you who haven’t seen or know what the heck I’m going on about, they’re basically called shoulder angels

When I awoke in the early hours, the night was still with not even a whisp of wind. The the stars were out and the marina was perfectly quiet.

Both my sailor shoulder angels conferred over my shoulder and agreed to kick my ass out of bed.

Excalibur slipped off her pontoon like a barn owl taking off from her perch. Ok I’m getting a bit carried away here!

I saw 3 shooting stars amongst the billions of stars above us as we pottered out of the River Crouch.

Dawn came a few hours later, unfortunately we weren’t graced with a stunning sunrise today. I took naps between buoys whilst Trina helmed.

When you look at the charts for the Thames Estuary its basically a myriad of sandbanks, precautionary areas and wind farms. Normally I stick religiously to my passage plan, but on these latest trips I have been a bit less cautious as I’m more familiar with my surroundings. We still took the long route around, ie out of Burnham-on-Crouch, down past Maplin Sands and back up the Princes Channel. The alternative is to thread your way through the sandbanks, and going on other peoples experience it can be a thrilling experience.

Anyhow I wimped out, but whilst Trina was a asleep I did creep up to the Red Sands Forts and wake her as if there was an emergency. Skilfully (I like to think) attracting her attention to a nearby tanker as she awoke, and then revealing these ruddy great big towers and that everything was fine.

We arrived at the Towers at HW, so we were able to just drift around them, whilst I read out their wiki write up.

 

The rest of the trip was non-eventful.

We arrived in Ramsgate around lunchtime, ate waffles and ice cream at the Belgium Cafe, and I bought a red chair from second hand shop.

Author: Tim Butler

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