Dove Point Weekend by Roger Colman and Andy Smith

Dove Point Weekend.

Over Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th of May two groups paddled out from Dove Point to Leasowe on Sea Transition paddles.

SAT 29th – By Roger Colman

Dave and I paddled with, Cornelia; Mike; Jim; John and Sharon. It was the first sea paddle for three of the group and we all arrived at Dove Point in good time, which was fortunate. The place was a hive of activity as it was the Hoylake Regatta and the specialised ‘Hoylake Opera’ boats were being launched.

The ‘Hoylake Opera’ is a gaff rigged 16 foot clinker boat, designed by Captain Winchester, built by Alex Latta, well over 100 years ago, as the river and channel were silting and it became necessary to design a flat bottomed boat. Approximately 26 were built (all named after characters in operas and musical comedies) and the first ‘Opera’ Class Race commenced in 1902. 14 boats of the ‘Opera’ class remain today in Hoylake with another, ‘La Poupee’, on display in the Merseyside Maritime Museum.

So, having managed to squeeze, one by one, between the wall and an ‘Opera’ being launched, we were away. The sea was nice and calm and although warm the sky was a little foggy/hazy producing a wonderful light upon which many of us commented.

Dove Point 29.05.21 JG2 Dove Point 29.05.21 JG1

Waiting for the sea. And they’re Off. Pic’s John Groom.

En route to Leasowe, against a small tidal push, we stopped to play around a couple of masts under the watchful eye of Dave. Just getting the feel of the sea. Then onto Leasowe with plenty of edging practice and cheerful banter. There was no real swell of any description to take us to the beach which was a little unfortunate as it would have been a good experience for the newer members of the trip. That said, better too little than too much!

A pleasant stop on the sandy beach for a bit of lunch, more cheerful banter and then off to beat the ebbing tide. Timings are important here and the responsibility fell to Sharon to ensure we got back before the slipway dried out. However, we still managed to have another little play to feel how the sea behaved around a rock groyne on the return and arrive in good time. Good job Sharon.

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Figure of eights around masts. Cheerful Banter. Pic’s Sharon Walters.

SUN 30th – By Andy Smith

The disappointment of the initial sea transition paddle being cancelled due to weather quickly evaporated when I woke to a warm sunny day. The weather couldn’t have been any better for my first trip onto the great blue (brownish) yonder, it was almost as if Roger had requested it especially. I arrived at Dove Point just before 1pm to find a vast amount of sand and not a lot to paddle on, had we called it wrong??

Sure enough, and as promised, the water made an appearance 15 minutes later and it was time for Roger, Marty, Jim, Liz, Joe, Derek, Laura and I to set off.

As it was the first time that Laura and I had been on the sea Derek and Marty got onto the water first to ensure that there was someone with a bit of skill and knowledge able to help us out if we experienced any issues. We slid off the jetty into the incoming water and got a feel for the current without any issue.

Once the full group were afloat we paddled out approx 200 metres and headed in the direction of Leasowe.

On the way we stopped and had a play around 2 posts buried into the ground beneath the water. We did some “figure of 8” practice which was a little trickier thanks to the tidal push from the incoming tide and the distant wake from a guy dragging his family behind his speed boat. Cautious of the time and the reluctance to take part in the walk of shame we paddled on to Leasowe.

Upon approach to Leasowe it was clear that everyone was making the most of the warm weather and the beaches & the water appeared to be pretty busy. We paddled parallel to the waterfront and then directly towards the beach rather than risk approaching it diagonally and hitting a swimmer, by this time it was approaching 3pm and high tide.

We opted to hop out of the boats and stop for a bite to eat on the beach. I’d convinced myself that I would be going for a swim at some point so had decided to wear my dry suit, this drew some funny looks from the people on the beach that were in and out of the water in nothing more than bathing suits. Had it not been for a nice breeze blowing off the beach I think I would have been “boiled in the bag” so to speak!

After a brief stop it was time to get back in the water. We set off back in the direction of Dove Point just as the tide was starting to turn.

We were about half way back and the water had cleared nicely, nicely enough to see that there was only about 3-4ft of water below us. This might make Martys rolling a little problematic, it also meant that I had an excuse not to try too!

On the way back to Dove Point we carried out a little bit of edging practice around the aforementioned posts before heading back to the slipway, arriving just in time to prevent the walk of shame.

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