Four sailing cruisers met at Pile House to sail in company to Brightlingsea. Zelda (Chris Nolan and Steve Barham), Scarlet (Sarah Brown and Sylvia Knight), Dreamcatcher (Ramiro Salom and Blanca Boira) and Lyra of London (Miles and Joanne Delap) set off in sunshine and blue skies. Lyra flew her spinnaker, while Zelda, Scarlet and Dreamcatcher motor-sailed against the spring flood.
Brightlingsea Harbour, efficient as ever, berthed us all together. After a few minutes, we were joined by Girl Friday (Iain Crombie). Being a motor cruiser, Iain was able to leave at a very civilised time, cruise over the Rays'n and still arrive at the same time. There's a lot to be said for that!
We met in Colne YC at 7:30 for aperitifs, followed by the traditional curry. We received a warm welcome by the members of Colne YC and a special toast from the Commodore.
On Sunday, the weather forecast was too harsh for most to return. Lyra, with her larger crew, managed to get back. The remaining fleet settled down for a day in the town. In the afternoon we met on Dreamcatcher, where Blanca Boira produced a superb pasta dish, with tuna and tomato, washed down with some fine white wine. In the evening, we met on Scarlet for cocktails. I don't remember much after that.
Monday arrived together with a fresh weather forecast. The promised window for our return had disappeared, so we prepared for a challenging passage. Scarlet led Dreamcatcher and Zelda through a very lumpy Wallet, across the Swin Spitway and down the Swallowtail. We clocked an apparent Force 8 on the nose across the Spitway but, at least the sun was shining out of a blue sky. Scarlet and Dreamcatcher, both with deep reefs, dipped their bows, shrugged off the heavy seas and bounded from crest to crest.
As we reached Burnham, the wind dropped a little. We passed Ramiro and Blanca on their swinging mooring, smiling and waving. Scarlet was already moored in the Marina. We moored up, snugged gallant Zelda down, then toasted a rollicking, romping sail with two mugs of warm soup!
This was a great weekend: one to savour over a glass of scotch in the depths of winter. I thank those attending for making it so memorable.