In order to avoid a sub-optimal visit to the river, we’re going for a crazy early one tonight so we can stay coastal and hit one of our favourites – the downwinder / down-tider from Chalkwell to Thorpe Bay. It’s a one-way ticket, and we are cutting it fine with the tide so we need everyone at Chalkwell Beach (SS0 8JJ) from 5pm (earlier if you need to pump up) and completely ready to go at 5.20pm. Absolutely no late-comers as the water’s not hanging around! The forecast is looking ideal with a north-westerly breeze and a strong ebb tide, so the water ought to stay perfectly flat, yet although all of our regulars will be absolutely fine this definitely isn’t a week for first-timers or weaker paddlers: we need to be absolutely sure everyone can paddle strong and reasonably fast for 8km so we make it in before the tide’s gone… So, meeting from 5pm and ready for a super-quick 5.20pm briefing at Chalkwell, then we’ll immediately be launching the shortest boards first and quickly graduating up via the longer boards to the full-on raceboarders. We’re hoping to take around an hour down to the slipway just shy of the coastguard station (SS3 9HG www.supsect.com/thorpe-bay) from where we’ll book enough taxis for everyone to go back and collect vehicles. Then we can all drive back and pack up, before reconvening at The Shorehouse for drinks and a Harvester dinner. Unless you have the whole afternoon off, please don’t bother shuffling vehicles about beforehand as we’re not hanging around for stragglers – and we’ll be done well before 7pm anyway, so there’s ample opportunity to sort logistics afterwards! (And sorry, but timings and safety mean there’s no hire kit tonight…)
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