Written by Rioja
The weekend of 10/11th September saw a scheduled rally to Brightlingsea. Those destined to join this rally were Blue Moon, Parana, Namaqua and Rioja. Taking advantage of the beautiful late summer sunshine, Mark and Lynda arrived at Burnham on Friday afternoon and due to the slow speed of their boat they decided they would get a head start and crack off across the Ray Sands that evening into Brightlingsea. However a severe water shortage diverted them into Bradwell and, with the September nights now drawing in, the entrance was challenging with nothing below the keel, invisible withies, unlit buoys and dazzling bright spotlights.
Saturday morning saw the departure of Parana, Blue Moon, and Namaqua. A good strong wind drove the small fleet to Brightlingsea in double quick time where a cacophony of Thames Barges awaited them in the Blackwater. Rioja left Bradwell at about 10 o’clock just scraping over the bar on the way out, which seems to be getting worse. They followed the Blackwater up to Osea Island, waving to crew on Radio Caroline as they sailed past, before throwing the anchor out and spending the day dodging the showers and waiting for the others to make their way up to Brightingsea. Mark decided to do some fishing and to everyone’s amazement he caught a formed back ray. Lynda, however, decided it had too cute a face and couldn’t possibly eat it, so Mark begrudgingly sent it back into the river with a fat lip and a free worm.
Mid afternoon Rioja made her way to join the others at Brightlingsea taking advantage of the tide state to cut the corner over Cocum Hills. Good winds allowed a fast passage and rafting up alongside Blue Moon was a matter of stopping alongside and being blown straight on. In front of Rioja and Blue Moon was Parana and Namaqua. Yvonne and Colin (Namaqua) were meeting friends in the town at the Raj whilst the rest of the fleet chose to sample The Victus Bistro on the High Street, taking in a couple of pints en route. The food was reasonable in peaceful surroundings, unlike those reported by Colin and Yvonne at The Raj where a pair of lively children chose to disrupt the entire restaurant.
Following a nightcap at the Brightlingsea Yacht Club, everyone caught the last taxi back to the awaiting fleet. Rioja accepted Blue Moon’s hospitality on board where good whisky and stories flowed until Lynda called time. The very still night undoubtedly allowed the good people of Brightingsea to hear the snoring that ensured from Rioja’s skipper. First Mate was not amused as she lay awake counting stars through the open hatch.
The following morning after a hearty breakfast everyone set sail for the return trip in glorious sunshine, flat calm seas ……. and not a puff strong enough to raise the ensign on the stern of the boat. This did not however deter the skippers from throwing the rags up to have a go anyway. A tiresome motor-sail followed as we made our way back to Burnham to our respective berths. Reciprocal hospitality was extended to Blue Moon to board Rioja for supper before returning home.
And that ended a gloriously hot sunny Sunday and the lovely weekend that was the NSC Rally to Brightlingsea