Saturday 9 July was a glorious warm, sunny day for my second Commodore’s Cruise. Many thanks to Allan and Belinda who allowed me to use their Sabre 27 as flagship for the day. We loaded up “Kalyba” with essential provisions of prosecco, lager, beer and vast amounts of food. Gradually boats appeared from everywhere and at 08:30 a fleet of 25 boats including a wayfarer, several dayboats and a selection of cruisers with 64 people and 2 dogs set sail in a pleasant f3-4 NNE wind for an easy broad reach with the ebb tide to Osea Pier where we anchored for breakfast.
Five cruisers had volunteered as cafés and once anchored set to producing bacon butties including a new for 2022 pescatarian fish finger butties option from café Akela. Orders were taken over Ch 37 and a delivery service was provided by Rob and Zoe who were escorting the fleet in yellow RIB. As we feasted, the wind gradually freshened to F4-5. At 10:30 the fleet slowly hauled up muddy anchors and set off for a lively broad reach past Thirslet and onto Bradwell. We were overhauled by a number of yachts including Nigel Clarke’s new Beneteau 30.1 “Puffin,” Kane Gooch’s beautiful 1889 oyster smack “Katie” and Steve Kuhl’s’ Dehler 42 “Sunbeat VI’ warming up for the ARC.
About a mile past Bradwell, we anchored off Weymarks Beach and Rob and Zoe did an excellent job providing a taxi service ashore. The champagne corks were soon popping as everyone tucked into their picnics and got the BBQs going. As the tide turned, the wind suddenly veered to the East as the sea breeze arrived. Artemis and Shamrock laid on a demonstration of dragging their anchors but both dug in again without the crews having to interrupt their lunch!
Eventually the cool boxes were emptied of alcohol and the gluttony finished, the post prandial somnolence slowly wore off and we gathered for a fleet photo and then onto beach games organised by Zoe. I led our team away for the egg and spoon race and despite a slow start, Harrison surged to victory on the anchor leg. The sack race and three-legged race were hilarious particularly when Karen and Tony did their usual trick of capsizing and falling on top of one another laughing.
As the sun continued to beat down, we decided it was time to decamp. Larkabout’s crew gave a demonstration of the challenges of rowing their tender against a brisk wind and flood tide. Tony seemed oblivious of the fact that his course over the ground was backwards but Rob spotted his plight and gave him a helpful tow. The fleet set off with the flood tide for another exhilarating downwind sail in the f4-5 ENE. As we passed Thirslet spit and gybed downwind past Marconi the wind freshened and was gusting f6 at times. We had a great sail home and arrived in time to get on the mooring by 18:00 and soon back ashore.
I would like to thank everyone who joined me on the cruise and helped make it a most enjoyable and successful occasion.
Photos © Nigel Butler, Zoe Nelson, Belinda Sturge