At Ferry Road slipway
Everything was just right: an early high water at Hullbridge and a pleasant Force 2 from the west, veering a little towards the north later in the day.
Launching went as planed at the Ferry Road slipway. There were no others using the ramp at 0700, apart from the swans that reluctantly moved aside for the creature with the big red wing.
Downwind from Hullbridge
I had an uneventful run to a point above Cliff Reach where I tried various manoeuvres, including having a go at putting in a reef. The wind picked up a little and the clouds thinned to provide blue spaces between them.
Burnham Yacht Harbour, tied to a fisherman's launch
Morning coffee time drew me into Burnham Yacht Harbour where I duly parted with £2.40 for a small Latte. The waitress was intent on killing a wasp that she had imprisoned in a beer glass on a newspaper. As she lifted the glass with her left hand, she held a rolled-up newspaper in the other, but the wasp would not oblige by making an exit. Running out of patience, she took the poor creature to an insect zapper that was hanging on the balcony nearby. I waited for the inevitable zipping sound. Satisfied and grinning, she triumphantly returned to her otherwise mundane duties.
Off for another sail, I drifted out of the Harbour and made my way east to Rice and Coles to have a look at ‘Ladybird’ and have a chat with the boatman. He always has wise words, particularly when it comes to watercraft. I wish I could manage a motorboat, as he does.
Soon it would be time for lunch, which I determined to have ashore at the Yacht Harbour. On the way there I had an interesting sail to windward through the moorings and the racing fleets. The Optimists are the ones to avoid, because some of the youngsters can be unpredictable. Quite a few of them are learners, but it’s great to see so many young people enjoying themselves.
I sat on a patch of grass beside the slipway, my eye glancing now and again at ‘Talitha’, to admire her lines.
It wasn’t until later when beating to Fambridge, that I realised I had I left my afternoon snack and a bottle of orange juice on the fisherman’s launch, and unless I return there tomorrow for more sailing, I think the gulls may take a liking to the salt and vinegar crisps and the Mr Kipling, exceedingly good Almond slices!
There were only three ski boats in action to the east of Fambridge, so there weren’t too many wakes to contend with.
Tacking between the moored yachts along the Hullbridge reach proved interesting, but not once did ‘Talitha’ fail to come about.
The Harbour Master’s launch was moored off the Ferry Road slipway, and I felt his piercing eyes watch my every move. Fortunately, things went reasonably well; the sail came down in a bit of a jumble, and the keel came up after I shoved the top of it from behind.
Within minutes I had the sail and mast off the boat, and shortly afterwards, her trolley was attached to her skeg. I couldn’t immediately trundle her up the slipway, because a ski boat was being launched.
At the car park it was a matter of following the rehearsed procedure of laying the boat on her side while on her road trailer and removing her keel; then we were off for a short road journey home.
It had been a splendid day.