Down to the creek on Friday evening in readiness for the following mornings high tide and the start of the barge match at Osea Island. After preparing Huffler a very nice evening sail was had along the Osea shores, followed by a night in the mud even managing to keep hold of my new mud boots this time. It was a nice sight to see a couple of barges creeping down to Osea from Maldon during late evening to anchor near the start line in readiness for the match the following morning which added to the anticipation felt for the Saturday. The morning brought mirror-like calm conditions with warm sunshine but the forecast was for f3-4 winds from the east later. The turn out was good, such a wonderful sight to see so many barges and smacks together with all sails luffing and filling to the light morning airs.
Barges racing were SB Victor, Reminder, Repertor, Decima, Phoenician, Edme.
Barges also in attendance were SB Cabby, Hydrogen, Kitty, Nellie.
It wasn't long before I had left my mooring and while sailing over to Osea heard the start gun cracking off. The huge topsails were visible through the trees on Osea as I made way towards the Marconi buoy trying to get a good view of the start. Huffler had all sails set and was in her element now, huffling amongst the big hulks of the East Coast.
I had planned to meet two fellow Blackwater pocket gaffers on the water later. We had planned to anchor and raft at Sales Point beach for some lunch while watching the ongoing match.
These images were taken while out on the river in Huffler sailing down with the fleet in company with a Cornish Shrimper and a Winkle brig.
SB Victor, first off the block and eventual class winner.
SB Repertor Staysail class with SB Edme Bowsprit class beyond.