Burnham Rally – did you miss out?

A small but hardy contingent form URYC ‘braved’ perfect sailing conditions to go on the shakedown rally to Burnham this weekend.

Tim and family (and ships dog) in Brucca, John Bear-Away Smith sailing Footloose  and the Idleflite duo, made it to a surprisingly sunny Burnham Marina on Saturday. Supported by John and Marion Jones who left their Westerly on Prior’s jetty to join us for the evening.

The ‘lets-eat-ashore’ crew thought the Swallowtail Restaurant looked a good bet. But they took one look at us and decided they had a club private function booked and we were shown the door… Undeterred and happily boycotting their bar, we sallied forth, taking a reef in our jackets and braved the rising headwinds to walk to Burnham. We met Tim, Amanda and crew exploring the boat yard (dog looked keen on a 40 footer too).

We looked at Burnham’s latest tourist attraction; the capsized houseboat. The sign stating ‘This boat has been sold KEEP OFF’ was presumably testament to the dangers of clicking ‘bid now’ on eBay when not of sound mind, also known as ‘after 10 pints of Guinness’. Along with everyone else, we considered how we might right it and pump it out, swiftly followed by the question ‘why’ – which was much harder to answer.

Finding our way to the Anchor Hotel, we eased the sheets and broad reached into the bar. In a flurry of flapping canvas and the roar of anchor chain over the bow roller, John Jones cried “Drinks all round landlord.” Unfortunately the noise drowned out John’s offer. Once the fleet had dropped their assorted anchors in the bar, stowed their sails and settled down with pints in hand, disaster struck. At 20.10hrs the surly youth behind the bar informed us we were too late for food. He recommended Ye Olde White Hart next door. A foraging party was sent out to establish if indeed vital vitals were available.

Success, kitchen shuts in 10 minutes we were told, so get here quick. With full signals flags raised and a strong breeze from astern the foraging party quickly returned with the good news. Rear Admiral Smith was first to weigh anchor and led the fleet the short distance to the White Hart avoiding treacherous sand banks, sunken reefs and the siren call of the fish and chip shop. 

We found an empty cove, ran out bow anchors and led lines ashore to secure ourselves in good order around a table soon groaning with food.  

Drinks all round! … whispered the skipper of the sloop Idle Flite. When asked to speak up there was something about ‘going aground’ and other mumbled nonsense. In the warm glow of their riding lights and glasses in hand, the URYC crew yarned into the night. The stories grew ever more epic. 

The return trip was undertaken with all sails set and a strong breeze from aft (probably the beer). The sail back to URYC the next day was good too. In fact the weather was far better than forecast, so anyone who didn’t go on the shakedown cruise certainly missed out.