Long Distance Cat Cruise - class of '23
Twelve cats, one RIB, 20 intrepid sailors, two destinations
The annual long distance cat cruise was supported by our largest fleet yet. Following a detailed briefing (sailing out on an ebb tide brings sand banks and hidden obstacles into play) 12 cats along with James and Colin on support boat set sail for Westgate Bay, 15 miles east near Margate. We left on the ebb tide around 9am and we were hoping that 2hrs sailing would get us to Westgate. Unfortunately, a dead calm greeted our launch followed by an easterly wind, right on the nose. This meant tacking back and forth along the coast. With designated "way points" at Herne Bay Pier, off reculver and Minnis Bay where we all waited for the fleet to catch up, it soon became clear that we wouldn’t get to Westgate an hour or so before low tide (our plan). As such plan B (always good to have a backup) came into play - Minnis Bay. The wind picked up mid-morning and we arrived at Minnis just before low tide, just enough time to snaffle some grub and drinks at the Windshack Cafe (if you've not been make sure you're hungry before you order a bucket of chips!), a great little cafe west of the main beach area. With 12 cats parked on the beach we were quite a sight, but after less than an hour we set sail back to Tankerton. With the wind behind us, we had an easy run back and arrived as the flood tide was slopping against the bottom of the ramp - just right to get ashore. With boats packed away by midafternoon many of us sat outside on the TBSC Balcony with a cold one, tired but happy after nearly 30 miles cruising along our fantastic coastline. What’s better on a sunny Saturday in June? As we sat there we all thought - where next?