Dead Deer, Gaffers and Casinos in the Thames Estuary

»«Sunday 25th November 2012

At the first Cruiser Winter Talk before lunch on Sunday more than fifty members and guests heard Tall Tales of three members' voyages this Summer, Sue King in Quick Reflex, Mick King in Baldrick and Len Cole in Amanda Louise ll.

Mick King tried to explain why he and his "gaffer" Baldrick stagger back to Burnham each year after The Old Gaffers' Rally with a hangover.

Sue King was pleased to report on a successful summer cruise which was surprisingly incident free this year, apart from the car being written off on the way by a passing deer on the M11. After meeting something nasty in the Black Deep, Graham, Sue and Quick Reflex had an idyllic trip getting as far as Dieppe and back safely to Burnham via the Orwell. Democratic yacht command was hotly debated by Sue and Graham during the talk.

Len Cole on Amanda Louise II, with crew including Amanda, found the same 'nasty' waiting in the Black Deep - a forest of uncharted windmills stretching all the way across from Long Sand to Kentish Knock. It was also reported that Amanda won rather more often at the Calais Casino than Len knew. A rather stormy trip back via Kentish ports to to the Fleshpots of Ipswich then followed. It included successful Shopping Excursions along the way.

The Missing Link is a new trophy for those little misadventures that happen to all of us. I decided, after considering a lot of contenders from Anne, Star Swan, hitting a rock in France to Chris, parking Nightsong on someone's golf range in Devon, that the winner was Clara.

It had to be the Commodore on two counts. First, for forgetting a torch. He is tall. It was dark on the way back from the Butt and Oyster after closing time. Those overhanging oak tree branches on the path were hard and low. Second, his attempt in an absent moment to pull the anchor up through his newly polished topsides while testing the electric windlass was pretty successful.

For those that missed these tales there is another talk on 13th January when Andy Ramsey reveals what a Young Charter Skipper got up to in Greece and the Corinth Canal. It is also Roast Lamb, so book in early.

Arthur Heasley