Lack of boats in the Crouch environs


What’s happened to Burnham Week? Time was when scores of dayboats and dinghies would be hustling to get through the Havengore Passage (pictured) after the last day’s racing at Burnham-on-Crouch in Essex. The mysterious Havengore route cuts off a day’s passage down the Crouch and out round the Maplin Sands to the Thames Estuary.

But last weekend as we came through this short-cut behind the sinister goings on of the MOD at Foulness Island, we saw only two cruising boats and neither of them had been racing at Burnham.

One opinion offered was that of a boatman from one of the royal clubs. He said that because of Cork Week, Cowes Week and Ramsgate Week yachtsmen – who had to put aside a week for the family as well – had simply run out of holiday allowance by the time Burnham Week came round at the end of August.

The reason it is held at the end of the season is historical: it was when the legendary East Coast fishing crews of the great J Class Yachts, came back from Cowes.

My informant also said that making the starts and finishes further down river and not off the clubs in the heart of Burnham, had killed off the racing as a spectator sport.