Bradwell

Bradwell Creek

Sorry, the picture above is a bit faint, it was scanned from a transparency taken 25 to 30 years ago. For many years the HSC was based in Bradwell Creek and this picture shows a couple of HSC members, one of them is Glyn C., who have rowed up the creek from the hard in the plywood tender we used to have. They are now preparing to sail 'Susan', a Burnham one design dinghy which was at that time owned by Glyn C., but was owned by various HSC members at different times. It looks like Glyn has just lost the end of a halyard.

I think that in many ways Bradwell is a prime spot for a mooring on the Essex coast, being within an easy sail from a variety of destinations which make good picnic stops or good pub stops. For example you could sail west up the wide Blackwater estuary towards St Lawrence, Osea, Goldhanger or Maldon, or North to Tollesbury, Salcott or West Mersea, or North East to East Mersea, Brightlingsea or the Coln, or beyond. We moved to Paglesham mainly because it was accessible from Stambridge Youth Hostel, although that is now closed, and also it was nearer to London where the majority of our members live. Although Bradwell is not much further in a straight line from London than is Paglesham, it was quite a longer journey by road because the Essex lanes run like sailing boats tacking to windward, even though it fairly flat open countryside. Another point is that Paglesham does offer some relatively sheltered water for novices to practice. Sailing from moorings at Bradwell, once you are out of the small creek shown in the picture, you are straight into an estuary about a mile wide, with the open sea just to the North East.

The Burnham one Design, as in the picture above, was a fast and sturdy clinker built bermudian sloop, 16'6" length. It was an excellent cruising dinghy, particularly if you like wooden boats and are happy not to have any side decking.

In the middle of the above picture and on the horizon you can just make out the twin blocks of Bradwell nuclear power station, albeit very faintly. Bradwell power station has been a prominent landmark on the Essex coast for something like 40 years, in clear weather it guides you into the Blackwater estuary from as far away as the Gunfleet or the Wallet off Clacton. Like most people, I would prefer the skyline without it, but many of us do quite like to have electricity these days and I can't help thinking that it is going to need an incredible number of huge windmills to match the output that Bradwell produced until it was closed down about 3 years ago. I hope someone has done the sums, but I digress, this website is about sailing.

The hamlet alongside Bradwell creek is called Bradwell waterside. It has a large school sailing centre (I think that visiting trailer sailors can still use their slipway if they ask permission), a marina, a friendly sailing club and a post office cum general store, the later very well hiden, if you walk up from the slipway you will find it down a track on the left where the road bends sharp right. The main village of Bradwell separate to Bradwell waterside, some distance to the East.