East Coast Cruising Companion 2012 Updates
by Jan Harber
Work is still ongoing (until August) on the harbour wall but there have been no other changes since a downloadable sketch plan of the entrance was produced by Chris Woods of www.eastcoastrivers.com in 2011.
ORFORD RIVER Entrance
pp. 25, 27 and 28
Orford Haven Buoy new position (May 2012):
52deg 01.85N 01deg 28.21E
Positions of the seasonal buoys Oxley and Weir are as follows:
Oxley 52deg 02.15N 01deg 27.80E
Weir 52deg 02.42N 01deg 27.65E
These two buoys may be moved to accommodate shoal and channel movements. For this reason the advice, as last year, is to follow the buoyage as you find it when you approach.
The channel between Barthorpe’s Creek and North Weir Point is subject to frequent and unexpected change. There are isolated shoal patches and clay shelves protruding from the mainland shore upriver from the old orange beacon. The horse inside North Weir Point remains mid-channel with a recorded depth of 2.1m. Substantial eddies are to be experienced in this area.
See www.eastcoastrivers.com for a downloadable chartlet, aerial photo and full details based on a survey conducted by Chris Woods on April 11th 2012.
On the suggested track the minimum depth at LAT was 1.0m. This survey was carried out after Oxley and Weir were positioned (based on an earlier survey) and it suggests there is somewhat more water available about 130m to the NE, although the shoal to the north of the channel rises steeply so should be treated with respect.
p. 34 Port Guide
Add: The Orford Boatyard (Laurence Hebson) Mob: 07833728624
THE RIVER DEBEN
Entrance pp.43, 44, 45, 46 and 47
Woodbridge Haven Buoy new position: 51deg 58.10N 01deg 23.69E
West Knoll 51deg 58.35N 01deg 23.46E
Mid Knoll 51deg 58.75N 01deg 23.41E
See www.eastcoastrivers.com for a downloadable chartlet, aerial photo and full details based on a survey conducted by Chris Woods on March 19th 2012.
p.51 If you require a mooring the Harbourmaster may also be able to advise.
p.52 Port Guide
Add: Harbourmaster (for moorings or use of scrubbing posts) Tel: 736257 or mob: 07505035456 or email: waldringfieldhm@btinternet
p.52 Add: The Creek is buoyed up to the Martlesham Creek Boatyard with access for one hour either side HW (based on 3ft draft). Visitors willing to dry out can be accommodated. Contact Tel: 01394 384727, mob: 07850 754726 or visit www.martleshamcreekboatyard.co.uk
p.58 The Wallet The scale shown on this chart is incorrect. It should be 4km and 8nm
THE RIVER ORWELL
p.70 Tony Ward’s moorings are now Pin Mill Moorings, looked after by Gus Curtis of Harry King’s Boatyard.
Port Guide: the Foresters Arms and Venture pubs in Chelmondiston now closed
p.73 Woolverstone Port Guide
Fuel: It has been reported that diesel cannot be dispensed in cans.
p.88 Entrance to Walton Channel
In March 2012, following unsubstantiated reports that access to The Backwaters was silting up the Walton-on-the-Naze Fairways Committee issued this statement:
“…The sand may have altered but has not affected the access to the Backwaters and is unlikely to do so in the immediate future and there is just as much water as before. The Fairways Committee, which leases the mooring rights to the area from the Crown Commissioners, and the Walton and Frinton Yacht Club, which maintains the buoyage in the channel, continually monitor the area and currently are aware of no silting inhibiting the navigation to the area.
The coxswain of the Walton Lifeboat confirms that the channel has narrowed but there has been no change in the depth.
The Walton Backwaters are open for business as usual and welcome visitors from far and wide.”
pp. 95 and 96
A new 69-metre long berthing pontoon is being installed (April 2012) between the Fishermen’s Pontoon and the Town Jetty hammerhead. It will lie almost parallel to the existing pontoons. The intention is for the pontoon to provide permanent berthing for the traditional fishing smacks.
Brightlingsea Port Guide
pp. 96 and 97 Water Taxi
Brightlingsea Harbour Commissioners are now providing the Water Taxi Service operating between the pontoons, moorings and the Town or Colne YC jetties. The cost is £1 per head per journey and there is now a token system in operation.
Call on 07535 508537 or VHF Ch 37. Times and further details available on www.brightlingseaharbour.org
West Mersea and Mersea Quarters
pp.102 and 103
Late in 2011 an ex-naval pinnace sank while on tow to West Mersea. The wreck of the “Crebe” is a hazard to navigation, very near the Nass Beacon in position:
51deg 45.87N 00deg 54.85E
marked by a port lateral lit buoy Pillar Can Red Q.Fl.R. with red can topmark.
The wreck is due to be removed in the near future.
Tollesbury Entrance to North and South Channels
pp. 104 and 105
The No. 5 G buoy has been removed. A new No. 2 red buoy Fl (R) 5s has been added to the East of the cardinal buoy that marks Great Cob Spit.
pp.106 and 107
The barrier, or baffle wall, off the now being de-commissioned nuclear power station, near the entrance to Bradwell Creek has gone, having been dismantled.
On the chart on p.107 it is marked as a ‘Training Wall’ with FR lights at either end.
Although the wall has been removed and the bed restored there is still a shelf in the sediment where the wall used to be so navigate with care in this area.
Bradwell Port Guide
A community shop has opened in Bradwell-on-Sea, near the church (where there was previously a store). There is bread, meat, fruit, veg, newspapers and a PO. The shop is open 7-1 and 2-5 Monday to Sat; 9 – 1 Sundays. PO closed Wed and Sun. Tel: 01621 776274
From Bradwell Waterside it is about a mile walk: up the road turn left, then right into the High Street towards the Church. Shop is on the right just before the church.
Osea Island – The Stumble
pp.110 and 111
Large amounts of builders rubble and rubbish were piled along either side of The Stumble causeway in March 2012, by the owner of Osea Island, apparently in an attempt to repair the roadway. The rubble extends several feet above the causeway in some places and is therefore a considerable hazard to navigation when it is hidden at HW. Maldon District Council has marked the hazard with 4 yellow buoys and it is hoped that the rubble will eventually be removed.
Lawling Creek and Maylandsea
pp.110 and 111
Lawling Creek is now marked by five new lit buoys installed in 2012 by Maldon District Council.
After leaving Blackwater No. 2, the new buoys are:
Green con No. 1 Q G 6s Lawling Creek; Green con No. 3 Q G 4s Mundon Point; closely followed by Red Can No. 2 Q R 4s; then Red Can No. 4 Q R 6s Mayland Creek; and Red Can No. 6 Fl R 4s.
Maldon Port Guide
Sailmaker Taylors, The Hythe – Add Tel: 853885
Waypoints and Buoyage
pp. 115, 116, 117, 118 and 119
MAJOR CHANGES took place in Summer 2011 to the Crouch buoyage from the WHITAKER SPIT to the BURNHAM FAIRWAY. This is in readiness for the new shipping trade importing tunnelling materials from the London Crossrail project to the RSPB’s Wallasea Wild Coast marine habitat creation project.
There are many additional buoys, including some marking the north side of the Swallow Tail Spit, and all are now lit. Several of the original buoys have been moved, replaced or re-named. For example, there is a new lateral port buoy Pinto Fl(R)5s on the Foulness shore marking Nase Point at the mouth of the Roach. And the Branklet (Red and Green preferred channel to Stbd) is now lit Fl (R) 2+1 10s.
If you have not already done so, go to the Crouch Harbour Authority website: www.crouchharbour.org.uk for downloadable chartlets plus the latest details and positions of the new buoyage.
NOTES FROM CHA
Out in the approaches the overhauled buoyage system is working well with few complaints.
The Pilots have found there is deeper water in the now better buoyed channel north of Swallow Tail Bank than in the 'main' Whitaker Channel over the Whitaker Spit. Ships are now using the north Channel more frequently especially near low water.
NB. although deeper, this channel is narrow and shoals very steeply onto the Swallow Tail Bank, so ships cannot deviate from their course at all. Do not expect them to!
Likewise buoys Buxey 1 and Buxey 2 near the Sunken Buxey have been slightly moved, making the 'dog leg' round these buoys slightly tighter. This is a popular spot for fishing and anchored boats can hamper ships transitting this area. Angling boats and others must keep well clear of the channel or be at serious risk of collision.
pp.116 and 117
In 2011 the Crouch Harbour Authority installed two additional unlit buoys to mark the Raysand swatchway. Both are unlit safe water marks (vertical red & white stripes). The Raysand North is a tall pillar buoy; Raysand Middle is a smaller and lower unit.The original yellow spherical Raysand Buoy is retained at the south end of the swatchway.The experimental new buoys are intended to assist in locating the channel when approaching from the north.The two additional buoys are still on station in Raysand Channel as last year.
When Mark Wakelin (CHA Harbourmaster) came through in mid-April they appeared to be in approximately the best water. The two 'new' SWM buoys and the original Spherical Yellow buoy are all on the same meridian of longitude (ie are in a line north-south).
Positions are: Raysand North SWM N51 deg 40.70, E 00deg 59.50;
Raysand Middle SWM N 51deg 40.00, E 00deg 59.50;
and Raysand Buoy (Sph. Yellow) N51deg 39.10, E 00deg 59.50.
Wallasea Wetland Project
pp.118, 119 and 120
Hot news from Mark Wakelin is that as of May 4th 2012 the new ship unloading pontoon for the Wallasea Wetlands Project is installed at Ringwood Point on Wallasea Island, close upriver of Burnham Fairway No.1 Buoy. The two halves of the pontoon were towed from Tilbury by tug MTS Taktow. The various conveyor systems etc for the jetty are scheduled for completion by end May 2012 and the jetty will be trialled with about 50,000 tonnes imported material during June. Shipments of Crossrail tunnelling materials will start in earnest during July 2012 and will build up gradually to a maximum of probably four 2,500dwt ship arrivals per 24 hrs.
Vessels will swing in the river immediately upriver of the jetty either on arrival or on departure. It is essential that yachts/small craft do not
hamper ships swinging, so anchoring in the swinging area will be forbidden.
It is not intended to establish any formal exclusion zone around the jetty unless persistent dangerous manoeuvring by vessels of any type necessitates this!
North Fambridge Port Guide
North Fambridge Yacht Station add:Laundry facility in shower block
pp.127128 and 129
The Branklet is now a lit, Preferred Channel to Starboard red and green buoy Fl(R) 2+1 10s.
There are two new lateral port-hand buoys:
Pinto Fl (R) 5s on the Foulness shore off Nase Point and Crow Fl (R) 10s in Quay Reach on the Foulness shore just downstream of Monkton Quay (marked as Steps on the chart on p.129)
BE AWARE: There have been reports of shoal ‘lumps’ on both the Foulness and Wallasea shores between Branklet and Crow buoys. So keep an eye on the echo sounder hereabouts.
The Ray and Benfleet Creek
pp.143, 144, 145 and 146
Phil Bostock of Benfleet YC has recently produced a series of very useful GPS-based navigation charts showing Benfleet Creek and two key areas of The Ray, based on survey work he did from a dinghy in July 2011.
The charts, prefaced by a detailed passage plan for Benfleet Creek, plus a fascinating description of how Phil undertook the surveying, can all be downloaded from www.benfleetyachtclub.org
Benfleet Port Guide
To Benfleet Yacht Club add: www.benfleetyachtclub.org
In 2011 the public hard was reported to be clean and dinghy friendly, it is easy to haul up above the tideline. NB if left tethered, dinghies can be trapped underneath the hard. The Greenhithe moorings can be uncomfortable due to work boat wash at night.
Greenwich Yacht Club
There is a pontoon at Greenwich YC, which in 2011 was £10 overnight on an inside berth. There is a good bus service into Greenwich.
NB We would not advise going there this summer!
Queenborough All Tide Landing
p.163 We understand funding has been found to keep the all-tide landing open.
pp. 161 and 165
The now-restored spritsail barge Edith May is based at Lower Halstow and comes and goes on charters from the dock. Bear in mind that this can restrict access for visitors.
On the plus side, Nick Ardley reports that Edith May’s owners have marked a passage from Half Acre Creek to Milford Hope Creek and also a way across the Milford Hope Marsh which, in places, no longer sits above chartum datum. Good news for ditch-crawlers…
p.179 The threat from developers at Faversham, with its heritage of traditional maritime industries, has become a very real one, particularly at Standard Quay where the barge Cambria was re-launched last year having been extensively restored.
For more information about the latest situation have a look on www.favershamcreektrust.com or www.standardquay.com
CROSS ESTUARY ROUTES
Gore Channel no longer usable
p.186 and 190
Surveys carried out in 2011 showed that the western, narrow end of the Gore Channel has become increasingly shallow. There is more depth in the Copperas Channel, slightly to the south. Accordingly Trinity House has moved and renamed the East Last and Hook Spit buoys so that they now mark the Copperas Channel.
E.Last is now Reculver and has been moved to 51deg 23.63N 01deg 12.56E
Hook Spit is now Copperas and has been moved to 51deg 23.81N 01deg 11.18E
Herne Bay/Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm
High voltage export cables from the Kentish Flats Offshore Wind Farm are coming ashore at Herne Bay. These cables are being protected by four rock ‘berms’ which will reduce the charted depth above them by approximately 1 metre. Trinity House is to install four special marks to indicate the area of the berms.
Foulger’s Gat and London Array Offshore Wind Farm
p.185 and 188
Work continues until the end of 2012 on the London Array Offshore Wind Farm on Long Sand and Kentish Knock either side of Foulger’s Gat.
Consult www.londonarray.com for latest navigation information on this and the Herne Bay berms.
FINALLY: Thanks to Chris Woods of eastcoastrivers.com for his surveys, aerial photography and production of sketch plans of the Deben and Ore entrances, Southwold and Brightlingsea.
And to Nick Ardley and Roger Cooper who kindly brought me back notes from their 2011 cruises.
John Pryor, RN, who died in 2011, will be remembered by many older East Coast sailors. John was born in 1919, joined the Navy on leaving school and was involved in the Dunkirk rescue operation before being taken prisoner. After the war he joined the Admiralty Hydrographic department and spent much time abroad. On his retirement to Snape he became involved with producing the Aldeburgh YC’s annual sketch plans and sailing directions - carrying out invaluable surveys of the Ore entrance for many years.