Local rally – small boats big fun

This year John Luff-Smith is leading a series of local rallies and mini-cruises. These are for members new to cruiser ownership as well as ‘old hands’ who enjoy sailing in company. The first rally was a sail to the River Roach, anchor for lunch and then sail back, a trip of just 21 nautical miles.

Heading down the River Crouch on the ebb tide and favourable wind

John also brought along a member new to cruising who wanted to see the river and another who was looking to ‘try a cruiser’ to see if it was for him. Which proved a great experience and met with great enthusiasm by his crew.

The lead boats heading down the River Crouch

Dayboat owners came along and one of our dinghy sailors could try his hand at sailing a cruiser and proved disgracefully good at embarrassing larger cruiser owners helming one of the smallest boats in the fleet.

Passing Burnham, Tina and Tony in their traditional day boat

Despite the early rain, that just cleared for our start time, and a good deal of cloud, there was a steady sailing breeze and the sun even made an occasionally appearance. We had a light favourable wind and the ebb tide under us, making good progress to the River Roach. Eleven boats with their sails stretching down the river made a fine sight. It was such good sailing that half the fleet kept going to enjoy the brightening day to the full. Then joined the rest to anchor for lunch.

Graeme at the helm of his Alacrity 17 Weekender – small boats are great fun

Most of our members have bought modest boats and moor them on our low cost half tide moorings. However small budgets and small boats can deliver a lot of fun and good cruiser sailing experience. It was great to see some of the cruisers most recently brought to the club put through their paces.

Richard with his son at the helm in their 1960’s Hurley 20

Anchoring for lunch, saw the fleet assemble taking a lead from the flotilla leader John LS who anchored Footloose in the traditional anchorage on the starboard hand side 500m inside the River Roach. the tenders were deployed for some socially distanced visiting other yachts.

Footloose in the shelter of the seawall anchoring in 4m of water with excellent holding

Tina and Tony sailed further up the Roach to see the seals with their pups, and some of the children had fun in a tender.

Calm water and little current at low tide made rowing between the yachts easy and safe

And just when you (don’t) need it, a whipped line chafed through and the main halyard parted near the top of the mast of La Vie En Rose. Que one bosun’s chair rustled up from the fleet and one willing child who went up the mast to retrieve the end of the halyard. This drew a round a applause from the flotilla and a proud dad and grandad moment from those aboard.

So that’s why he brought the kids along on the cruise… halyard retrieved.

11 boats were anchored for lunch before setting off for home two hours after low water.

Quiet anchorage

With the help of a favorable flood tide, the fleet sailed with quite a lot of tacking with some motoring to get through the moored boats at Burnham, making their way back to Up River YC.

Tacking back to Hullbridge

Memorable quotes from the day;

It was so good we just kept going…

Ian sailing Lucette

Thank you to John and everyone for making us welcome. Lovely day, our first time ever to the Roach, a long day using both tides, but one to remember.


That’s what kids are for… her mum’s gonna freak!


And one final quote that summed up the day for everyone.

I would like to say thank you John for organising and keeping us all safe and everyone that just made the day.

Tony on Doubledee

Dates for your diary:

Seals at Yokesfleet

August 1st – 2nd – Overnight in Yolksfleet. Leave about 10 am on Saturday 1st, seal watching and overnight in Yolksfleet Creek, back at about midday on Sunday 2nd. Coordinator John LS. 

August 8th – 9th – Osea Island BBQ and start of Family Cruise Week to the River Blackwater ends Saturday 15 August – see details in the Club Booklet. Coordinator Graham L.  

August 15th – 16th – Cliff Reach BBQ overnighter. Leave at about 10.30am on Saturday, returning midday on Sunday. Coordinator John LS.


September 5th – 6th – Brightlingsea Rally – see details in the Club Booklet. Coordinator Graham L.

September 12 or 13th (depends on the weather) – trip out of the Crouch. Leave at 8am, anchor for lunch, back by 7pm. Coordinator John LS.  

September 27th or 28th – Overnighter with BBQ. Details to follow nearer the time as this trip is weather dependent. Coordinator John LS. 

TBA – potentially a further mini-rally subject to fine weather, details nearer the time. Coordinator John LS.    

October !7th – !8th – Bradwell Rally, last of the scheduled trips this year – see details in the Club Booklet. Coordinator Graham L.