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West Mersea BBQ, Saturday, 28 July - Murmurings from the North Sea!

East Coast - 02 Aug 18 Cruising

Vivien Ryser, our longtime Treasurer invites the East Coasters each year to a swimming Barbeque at her home, Alfa House in West Mersea. After almost four months of benign, indeed 'Mediterranean' weather it was a chance for the North Sea to send a reminder!

Jacqui-B with Tim Langdon and Gale Bryan onboard arrived in Harwich for the compulsory stop off at the Alma on Friday afternoon to find the local kids following that well-known tradition of diving off the harbour wall. It was nearing 30 deg C and blistering sunshine so we followed their example using our swimming ladder (for the tenth time this year) for a cool off in the Harbour. Our Secretary, John Cooney wizzed into Harbour in a rib and Gail Bellamy (who can sing - hooray!) arrived.[In the event making four Gales for the weekend!]

With perhaps a touch of complacency Jacqui-B set off at 0600 on Saturday.
Well winds up to 35 knots on the nose said it all.
Also in that languid sunny moment drying off from our swim the previous day Gale had clearly omitted to secure one of the clips on the Helmsman's Seat properly which went AWOL with a fender amidst a sea of white horses. Despite a search pattern worthy of an Ocean Minesweeper we only recovered the consolation prize - the fender.

Arriving in West Mersea the deeply embedded tradition (of all of four months) had lots of people in bikinis on the foreshore - all clutching anything that might move in the howling (albeit warm) breeze.

When you are encrusted (possibly embalmed?) in salt the prospect of a swimming pool, barbeque, beer and wine is extremely piquant! Our expectations were met. Vivien, Val and Team had put on a wonderful spread and James Simpson and Terry Corner proved their cooking skills. The sun shined. Vivien has a lovely garden with classic statues of Aphrodite and Hebe. Remarkable what we learnt about them; they certainly didn't need salt encrusted clothes!

The voyage back was in theory all downwind. On Sunday after a bit of assessment of a forecast SSW 6-7- and a rest - there was a bit of lull. Convinced that downwind with a reefed genoa was manageable we sailed with the prospect of a ripping good tide. Amazing what a fetch just from the Thames can do!. We donned safety lines, shut off the hatch and gritted our teeth, tearing up the Wallet hoping nothing would break. Cooney apparently was having a similar experience further North.

We had been reminded, after six benign crossings of the North Sea that our little patch was back to its old self - and we should judge things accordingly.

Our thanks to Vivien and Team for a splendid weekend.


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