Ever wondered what a TYC East Coast cruise is like? Follow the log of Captain Gary, his number 1 and the cook on the good ship "Midas Touch" as they joined the annual tour around the Essex and Suffolk coast.

Where do I start – how about Friday, Day 1?

Mega 1st long day. 5 boats left Thurrock Yacht Club at 8am. 12 hrs later of mixed motoring and sailing we get to Brightlingsea. I'm feeling knackered but elated. Lovely place to Moor up. Much needed rest required. Went ashore and my legs felt wobbly from a long long day on the boat...funny feeling... only sailors understand!

Saturday Day 2

We all left at 12 heading for the River Deben. 6 hrs later we're moored at the entrance to the river. What lovely scenery . Lovely location. Enjoying the sunset now and drinking a beer while writing this update. Tomorrow I thinks we're going up river to Woodbridge. I'll let you know - who cares as the moment is very very nice

Ps : can't wait to tell you all about 3 cans of beer floating off Brightlingsea. Very funny!

Sunday Day 3

Arrived at Tidemill Marina in Woodbridge at 11ish. Lovely place and well equipped. Another first for me today was to steer into the marina and into the berth...yeeha... DONE! Plenty of fellow club members to catch mooring lines etc. Nice and slow is how you do it. My duty today... wash up, but no complaint as no 1 and the cook are providing very good food. More stuff later people's!

Monday Day 4

It's a rest day in the marina.... And boy I need it. Doing odd bits on the boat. Learning about sail trimming from other club members. On the way into the marina, when we arrived, we had spotted an abandoned small boat on the other bank. So today on, ship mate Alan's yellow kayak, we paddled out to the boat and explored. Walked around town yesterday evening. Woodbridge is a lovely place.

News Flash :

3 cans of beer found by sea cadets drifting near Brightlingsea!!!

I mentioned in an earlier report about 3 cans of beer in the water........ The day after we arrived at Brightlingsea marina (Saturday) no 1 suggested putting 3 cans of beer over the side to chill them. He used a shopping bag and tied a bit of string to the handles and dropped them over the side. A bit later and by some fluke I had left my hand held vhf boat radio on and we heard :

Harbour Master: "... the cadets have picked up 3 cans of beer floating out to sea!!!" I looked at no1 and he looked at me.... he leaped across the cockpit and pulled up the bag of..... Empty bag of beer!!!

No 1 : "our beers have gone! They must be ours.... Get on the radio and tell them"

Me: " Midas Touch to harbour master. I think they are our cans"

We had visions of the young cadets getting drunk on our beer

Harbour master: "OK Midas Touch. I'll return them soon and speak to you about littering"

I turned to no1 and said:" now we're in trouble" 5 mins later the harbour master's luanch came along side..... " here's your beer" said with a big grin. I replied sheeply " sorry about that and as a fine here is a fiver. Please make sure the sea cadets, who found the cans, get a treat". Harbour Master: "yes I will" and he went away laughing as we all did on Midas Touch. So that was the story of The sea cadets and 3 cans of beer.

Thursday Day 7

Left Shotley Marina this morning at silly o’clock 5:45. As tide was low we had to negotiate the lock. The previous day we entered on full flow where tide was high and both ends of lock open. We're now back at Brightlingsea Marina as one of the other boats developed fuel probs. We were hoping to make West Mersea. Pleased to say fuel probs sorted. Sad to leave Deben River as it had some lovely places. So yesterday (weds) was just a hop southwards around the coast from Ramsholt Arms(Deben) to Shotley Marina (Stour/Orwell). We all chilled out, showered and rested. Today was good sailing with some crashing waves (well I thought they were fun). Possibly another early early start tomorrow. I'm tired, I'm aching but I'm learning and experiencing lots

Friday Day 8

Left Brightlingsea at sensible 7 oh clock, making our way to Queenborough, Kent. We got to Queenborough and most of us rafted up against the hamerhead main pontoon. Friday was a testing day with crossing the estuary, very tiring and slow. Just what you need at the end of 8 hrs sailing. I think our boat has voted to return to Grays tomorrow. I'll know when it happens. Lots of learning and positives gained from journey so far. When the wind is on the nose it can be very frustrating. Do more motoring than sailing. And I thinks we're into the wind going up the Thames. Oh well that's sailing (motoring) for you

Saturday Day 9

We returned to Grays and arrived back on moorings about 13:30ish. After clearing boat of clothes/personal stuff etc we all retired to the clubhouse for a chat over a pint or two. Sunday and Monday for me has consisted of sleep, shopping, sleep, washing clothes and getting flat straight for returning to work…. and more sleep. Boy have I needed good sleep.

The trip has taught me lots and hopefully my sailing skills have improved. Big thanks to No 1(Alan) and Cook (Dawn) for being great company.

Ps.... On the way to Queenborough, on Friday, just off the Maplin Sands, I spotted a Harbour Porpoise (dolphin lookalike). Sorry but wasn't quick with taking a picture... It was a quick moment. Now for more sleep zzzzz.


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