Under way with RNLI escort: 21 April 2013

'Mary Ritchie', 'Witch' and 'Bonify' with West Mersea lifeboat Photo: Julian Cable
‘Mary Ritchie’, ‘Witch’ and ‘Bonify’ with West Mersea lifeboat Photo: Julian Cable

As the first three boats depart Heybridge Basin on the OGA Round Britain Challenge, they’re escorted by West Mersea lifeboat and a rib with Classic Boat Magazine photographer, Emily Harris and editor, Dan Houston.

Under sail at last, the first three boats, ‘Witch’, ‘Bonify’ and ‘Mary Ritchie’ depart Heybridge Basin on 21 April 2013 in beautiful sunshine and light winds. They’re escorted by Classic Boat, who will be featuring ‘Witch’ in the June edition, and the West Mersea Lifeboat.

In very shallow waters, ‘Mary Ritchie’ spent a couple of minutes on the Blackwater mud just outside the lock and ‘Witch’ had an unplanned ‘cuppa’ whilst crossing the Thames sandbanks. With little wind, the boats had to motor much of the way after leaving the Blackwater. Over the Wallet Spitway, the trio of boats safely crossed the Thames Estuary, motoring most of the way, although a wind piped up on the nose just past Margate, according to SY Bonify on Facebook.

The boats finished the first day at Ramsgate.