Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Leigh-on-Sea Bank Holiday Amble Part 2

'Nancy Grey'

Continuing my amble along the sea front at Leigh-on-Sea I deliberately focussed my attention towards the water where a few interesting yachts were tethered to their moorings, gently jigging to the ebbing tide. I thrust away all thoughts of the bustling activity behind me made by bank holiday visitors; the sound of their voices and the hoot of a passing train could not draw my gaze away from the yachts. I knew that within an hour they would return to their mud berths where they would remain until the next high tide.

I mused about this, and of the inherent dangers to those who did not understand the workings of the sea. Each year, our local inshore lifeboat is called to rescue people who stray onto the mud for a cooling dip in the murky water, or to wade knee deep in the dark, squidgy mess. Shallows beyond the outer banks have become a venue for kiteboarders, adding to those who have who have run into difficulties requiring rescue by the lifeboat.

A peculiar thing about seaside towns like Leigh-on-Sea, where high water briefly comes within touching distance, but twice in twenty-four hours; sometimes they have the suffix ‘on-sea’ added to their name. Next door to Leigh, there’s Southend-on-Sea, and further north there’s Frinton-on-Sea. At these places the sea remains aloof for much of the time. Two or so hours before high water, a surging flood of muddy liquid sweeps up Leigh Creek. Within minutes it swallows surrounding mudbanks to release vessels that were stuck in gunge. They pop out of the mud and assume a perpendicular stance. If Aeolus ruffles the surface they dance in unison to his piping tune.

After admiring ‘Endeavour’, the lovely Woolworths green-painted smack, my gaze fell upon a beautiful barge yacht, the ‘Nancy Grey’. I love her long clean lines, fairly low topsides and varnished cabin trunk. Everything looks just right, including her swallowtail burgee, her Wykeham-Martin furling gear and her large leeboards. She’s a vessel I have admired over the years since I moved to Essex decades ago, and whenever I visit Leigh I seek her out to have a glimpse of her. This 30’ yacht was built by Shuttlewoods of Pagelsham in 1939. More can be discovered about her by searching the links below.

Anyone who would like a full-size photo of the one above for wallpaper on their computer, just give me your email address and I’ll send it to you via attachment. Paul, if you are reading this, and want a photo, please get in touch. I know you have an interest, because you have subscribed to bargeyacht’s YouTube Channel, which features the ‘Nancy Grey’.


‘Nancy Grey’ of Rochester


Photos of ‘Nancy Grey’


Barge Yacht, ‘Nancy Grey’ – Sailing around the Maplin


One Bob and Two Nicks


Barge Yacht ‘Nancy Grey’ Sailing


‘Nancy Grey’


Blackwater Race


Stangate Creek



Paul Mullings said...

Hi Bill thanks for thinking about me re. Nancy Grey. The truth is I know Nick Hann, Nancy's caretaker/owner very well having grown up on the Leigh foreshore many years ago and have in fact sailed on her. I have a few photo's taken aboard if you are interested. Drop me a line mullings.paul@gmail.com Regards Paul

William Serjeant said...


Yeah, I should have remembered the photo of 'Nancy Grey' and the smiling Nick on your blog.

I'll drop you a line with a large photo of 'Nancy Grey'.