Sailing round the Isle of Sheppey, 21st June 2013

In the Thames Estuary 21 June 2013 Tenacious 1
In the Thames Estuary 21 June 2013 Tenacious

A day trip through the Swale, around the Isle of Sheppey, past the SS Montgomery, out to the Red Sands Fort, across to the wind farm and back into the sheltered part of the Swale for an evening meal makes a great interest-packed trip, if the weather’s right. And so that’s route I took with my friend Martin on Friday for his first trip on our little plastic Hunter.

It turned out to be a great choice, and there were some great sites along the way, even if the conditions were not what you’d call ideal for photography. As we sailed, we encountered the square rigged ship Tenacious, saw the sailing barge Mirosa beating up the Swale, passed a favourite local classic yacht at Queenborough, took a peek at the wind farm’s noisy towers, and came across a cutter playing in the breeze. It all added up to another great day in what must be counted a superb area for sailing small boats…

In fact we were wonderfully lucky – just after we passed through Kings Ferry lifting bridge, it malfunctioned and prevented many local racers from reaching the Medway, where there was supposed to be a big race. And the weather forced them to cancel their races today and yesterday. Sailing can be such a frustrating business…

On the photos… I was singing to the seals, so that may explain why two of them were looking at me so intently. Singing to seals may seem strange to you, but it’s just the way some of us roll round here. I still don’t know what the cutter was, but I’m even more intrigued by the impressive Rosa – a boat that looks to me to be rigged like a big-sea smack – but is she large enough to have been built for that duty? I’d love to know – please email me at gmatkin@gmail.com if you know the answers!

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