After the Jubilee Party celebrations on the River Orwell, boats taking part in the Round Britain Challenge had not yet quite completed their circumnavigation, which had technically started in Ramsgate, with some boats joining the fleet further south and westward. After departing Suffolk Yacht Harbour on Monday 7 August, a few joined the Jubilee Cruise and stopped overnight for the beach barbecue at Stone Point whilst most continued south.
On Monday evening, ‘Bonita’ reached her home berth on the Swale, finding a mooring buoy covered in weed after three months neglect. ‘Hilda’ and ‘Recipe’ returned to Ramsgate, completing their Round Britain Cruise and then crossed the North Sea to home ports in the Netherlands. At 0100 Tuesday, ‘Onward of Ito’ moored at Greenwich Yacht Club, having covered 1925 nautical miles ‘round the top’, making the last long passage across the Thames from Suffolk Yacht Harbour in one ‘hop’. ‘Barbarossa’ is now back in her mud at Benfleet Creek and ‘Lahloo’ in her home berth at West Mersea.
’Charlotte Elizabeth’, ‘Moon River’ and ’Letty’ have all reached their home ports on the South Coast. ‘Minstrel’ continues on passage down the east coast of England. Sadly, ‘Indian Runner’ is stranded just a few miles from home with engine failure awaiting an engineer and ‘Cygnet of London’ is trapped in Chatham Marina due to a failed lock gate, also only a few miles from home. ‘Susan J’ still has some distance to go back to the Helford River and is waiting in Brighton for a fair weather window.
We had a marvellous time at the OGA60 Jubilee party, and the East Coast summer cruise is continuing down to Chatham over the next few days. It’s clear the OGA is in robust good health on the East Coast. However after more than 3 months away D and I thought it time to go home to catch up with the real world. So we left Levington at around 6.30am. We had a westerly wind about force 4. We made good progress and arrived at our mooring on the Swale at about 4.20, high water. Our mooring buoy was covered with weed after being unused in the water for so long. And so ends Bonitas second circumnavigation of the UK. We have had our share of difficult weather, but we very much enjoyed going round with the Old Gaffers, got to know some very remarkable sailors and visited many places we might otherwise never have seen. The boat has stood up to the wear and tear fairly well. There are a couple of new(ish) deck leaks revealed by the torrential rain, and a full list of jobs to be done in the winter.Mike Beckett, ‘Bonita’