TOPSAIL CHARTERS Ltd
Tel: 01621 857 567
Maldon is rich in maritime history and home to the largest fleet of working barges in the country. The Quay where Reminder is berthed, is found at the bottom of the High Street, yet as you stand on deck your view is of marshes, birds and the river snaking its way into the distance.
Join Reminder on Friday evening and choose to eat ashore or have dinner on board. The Queens Head, drinking place for bargemen since the 19th century is a stone’s throw away and the High Street offers a wide variety of places to eat.
Depending on the tides, you may leave the Quay late on Friday night and drop down river to Osea Island for the night (about an hour away), or depart on the Saturday morning tide.
Once past Northea Island (owned by the RSPB), Heybridge Basin (and the entrance to the Chelmer & Blackwater Canal), and Osea Island, the river starts to widen and you sail past Tollesbury Creek (a well known smuggling village) and West Mersea famous for its native Oysters. On the South shore you’ll see the isolated 9th century chapel of St Peters on the Wall at Bradwell.
Continuing past Mersea Island you’ll see the town of Brightlingsea in the distance and the entrance to the River Colne.
Turning left into the Colne, you may sail up river to Wivenhoe, a delightful small town with a Quay where you either stop for an hour or so and a chance to stretch your legs, or you may tie up for the night. Alternatively you may drop anchor in Pyefleet Creek and be taken ashore in the barge boat at East Mersea Stone for swimming, beach football or a walk in the country park. Another option is to tie alongside the jetty at Brightlingsea for a wander around this famous sailing town. All options include a pub visit if wished.
Sometimes if it is windy or if the tides work out a particular way, you may stay in the Blackwater River and perhaps go ashore on Osea Island or get dropped at Bradwell where you can walk around the village or even to St Peters on the Wall, the oldest consecrated building in Great Britain.
On Sunday, you head back to Maldon, arrival time dictated by the tides.