Having finished all the interior coachroof improvements, including a handrail to run the full length of the cabin on both sides, we were ready to join the East Coast OGA cruise, with crewman, Dan ‘the Miller’. It’s the first time ‘Cachalot’ has sailed beyond Stone Point in our ownership, so we were keen to reach Brightlingsea, to join the fleet after the East Coast Race at Stone. Saturday 23 July dawns as our alarms jangle and Bev fires up the stove for the first brew of coffee. 0500 we drop the buoy and motor off in a dead calm downriver reaching Felixstowe Ferry at 0600. With more coffee and breakfast on deck, we motor across the Deben Bar and raise the mainsail off Wadgate Ledge. We’re sailing down to Brightlingsea in company with new OGA member Ben on his classic Bermudan yawl, ‘Tannhauser’. Both boats arrived to moor up on the Heritage Pontoon late afternoon after an enjoyable, if eventful, vogage down the coast.
On Sunday 24 July the OGA fleet began to arrive in Brightlingsea after the East Coast Race which took place on Saturday 23 July. By mid-afternoon about 20 boats of all shapes and sizes were rafted up on the Heritage Pontoon.
We’d offered to host a main course for six and had a most enjoyable evening moving from boat to boat for the other courses of the renowned ‘Safari Supper’. As plans for tomorrow were discussed, it looked like the weather was about to change with high winds forecast. Monday dawned and sure enough, the wind was beginning to blow with force 7 in the forecasts. There was plenty of discussion about what to do. The final decision was for the whole fleet to remain on the Heritage Pontoon and cancel the planned passage to Stone Point. An alternative barbecue venue was agreed with the Smack Dock and despite the wind we all had an enjoyable day. Steve finally managed to hoist his OGA pennant, Ben climbed his own mast to do some repairs and agreed to take the line up ours for Steve. Ed was also up his mast for most of the afternoon!
Words and photos: Beverley and Steve Yates
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