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Old 18 June 2012, 16:36   #1
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Launch sites - River Blackwater, West Mersea area

Can anyone recommend suitable launch sites for my 3.5m Honwave AE plus 20hp engine on the Blackwater estuary or around West Mersea? I have fitted some decent transom wheels but the boat plus engine is heavy to manage by myself so for my first launch I would like to start somewhere where I can get the boat inflated next to the car, attach the engine and wheel it to the water without too much hassle. I don't mind paying a launch fee if it means an easier launch at least until I get into the swing of things. I am all kitted out and have just done my power boat level 2 training, just need to get afloat without incident.
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Old 18 June 2012, 18:47   #2
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Can anyone recommend suitable launch sites for my 3.5m Honwave AE plus 20hp engine on the Blackwater estuary or around West Mersea? I have fitted some decent transom wheels but the boat plus engine is heavy to manage by myself so for my first launch I would like to start somewhere where I can get the boat inflated next to the car, attach the engine and wheel it to the water without too much hassle. I don't mind paying a launch fee if it means an easier launch at least until I get into the swing of things. I am all kitted out and have just done my power boat level 2 training, just need to get afloat without incident.
Hi Boogie, Forget West Mersea, you can't park anywhere around there unless you join one of the sailing clubs. you can try the Blackwater Sailing club at Heybridge, they will let you launch a few times without having to join immediately, and there is a launch site at Maldon, near the boating lake but the problem with the blackwater area is, for a newbie, if you get the tide wrong you can easily get caught out and left stranded on the mud.
I would recommend Titmarsh Marina at Walton on Naze there is plenty of room to park, you can inflate your boat next to your car and there is always some water there even at low tide so you can launch (and get back) at any time you want. They do make a small charge for launching but it is well worth the facilities they offer. You will also see lots of seals.
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Old 18 June 2012, 22:05   #3
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Lol

I've just hopped into my nice warm bed, have a cuppa in one hand and the Ribnet app up on my phone in the other.

I've just got back from a reasonably successful night fishing trip @ West Mersea where we launched our Fastroller for entry into the Blackwater. No parking charges, no launching fees, no club membership - so I guess I'll have to kind of disagree.

You can take your car down to the water edge at all states of tide (day or night), you get left the hell alone with no busybodies sticking their noses in - or holding their hand out. Perfect, if you're like me and have a hatred of people in fluoro jackets.
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Old 19 June 2012, 03:52   #4
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Lol

I've just hopped into my nice warm bed, have a cuppa in one hand and the Ribnet app up on my phone in the other.

I've just got back from a reasonably successful night fishing trip @ West Mersea where we launched our Fastroller for entry into the Blackwater. No parking charges, no launching fees, no club membership - so I guess I'll have to kind of disagree.

You can take your car down to the water edge at all states of tide (day or night), you get left the hell alone with no busybodies sticking their noses in - or holding their hand out. Perfect, if you're like me and have a hatred of people in fluoro jackets.
Good for you Sharkbyte, if you're a nightbird and don't mind getting your feet and boat muddy. Lol.
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Old 19 June 2012, 04:03   #5
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A couple of options for east backwater are Bradwell marina on the south side and Brightlingsea in the north. You'll have to pay for both though.
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Old 19 June 2012, 05:16   #6
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Sharkbyte - Are you launching from the beach next to the hammerhead pontoon at West Mersea, or somewhere else?
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Old 19 June 2012, 05:21   #7
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Thanks Ppenman Brightlingsea is fairly handy, I will check it out.
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Old 20 June 2012, 16:34   #8
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West Mersea public slip is just East of the hammerhead there and is good for 3ish hrs either side of HW. It gets very busy there in the summer and parking is difficult but not impossible. The slip is plenty wide enough so if you stick to the side you should be able to set up and not get in anyone else's way. You can also launch off the main beach, setting up in the car park and squeezing through a gap in the beach huts (not recommended if you are on your own though).

Quieter options are Tollesbury which has a free public slip next to the marina 2.5 hrs before HW, but you can be faced with a bit of a slow trawl to get out of the creek. You can also launch at Maldon prom park 1.5 hrs before HW and there is lots of space there to set up in the car park before you go to the ramp.

These are really the only free slips that are useable on the Blackwater; you can pay to launch at most marinas but I'd recommend using them as that's the beauty of Sibbing.

As another poster has warned, this area dries out very quickly so err on the side of caution, have at least 1/2 an hour in hand. It's either a difficult muddy drag to get you to shore or an 8hr wait... Don't let it put you off though, it's a fine area to explore.

Andy
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Old 21 June 2012, 16:30   #9
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Sharkbyte - Are you launching from the beach next to the hammerhead pontoon at West Mersea, or somewhere else?
That's right.

Went again the other night. Launched at low water, as usual, and came back a couple of hours down.

Not entirely sure about some of the information given on this thread - it's like people are talking about somewhere else entirely (excessive mud, launch windows, parking charges, sailing club memberships Etc. Etc.).

FWIW, you couldn't pay me enough to use Bradwell Marina ever again, Brightlingsea is money for nothing (unless you like lots of greasy mud), a pain in the rear for parking and the likelihood of a ticket (and lengthy appeal) because the P&D machine isn't working, not to mention the tedious passage along the Colne.

Probably best to go down there and make your own mind up, mate.
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Old 25 June 2012, 18:12   #10
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You've got the option of two slips at West Mersea.

The one on the right of the hammerhead is the easiest to access at most states of tide (although you should try and avoid launching anywhere on Mersea at low tide if possible because there isn't much water) provided you stay relatively central - it get's very soft very quickly if you're in the wrong area. You've got to watch out for the metal rails running down the middle, the lifeboat launching area and also the boxes of oysters that are usually positioned just to the left of the hard. They're submerged at high tide and it's easy to catch your prop on them. Also, occasionally you'll find some moron has left a trailer on the hard only for it to be covered by the rising tide. Watch out for them! Plus the Dabchicks lot on the first slip I mentioned can be a tad hostile sometimes. Don't expect a huge amount of courtesy or manners, especially on Wednesday nights when the cadets are out sailing. If there is any kind of major sailing event on don't even bother with this one.

Your other option is the hard to the left of the hammerhead. This one is good because theres less stuff to watch out for and a lot more room. However, if it's low tide and you're not 100% certain you know the route down to the water DO NOT BOTHER. It's pretty muddy and a couple of inches the wrong way will have you stuck fast. I speak from experience. Your best bet is to take a wander down first and check where is hard and where is soft. It can be quite deceptive so don't do it by how it looks.

As for parking... you've got the carpark just next to the pontoon and then just pretty much anywhere else you can stick the car. Make sure it doesn't obstruct other people and isn't going to wind anyone up. I've never had particularly bad issues parking on Mersea, you just need to arrive with plenty of time and be prepared to hang around for a bit.

If I was you I'd use the second slip that I've mentioned and launch when theres a reasonable amount of water. That way it's a lot safer and less stressful. Also, it means you can tuck yourself over to one side whilst you sort yourself out - not an option on the first slip I mentioned.
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