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Pioneer has a lucky escape

June 29, 2020
Lucky escape - Pioneer aground off Bateman's Tower

The sailing smack Pioneer had a lucky escape on Sunday morning when she broke free of her mooring in the River Colne and drifted ashore near Bateman's Tower.

It's thought that the chain securing the Pioneer's mooring buoy parted and the strong onshore winds drove the 70-ft long sail training vessel ashore at around 9am.

Had the tide been higher, Pioneer  – which was relaunched in 2003 following a total rebuild and has taken thousands of local children sailing –  could have been driven onto the rocks around the Tower, but with just two hours to go before low water, she grounded on flat mud with no damage.

Crew from the Pioneer Trust were able to board the boat and ran out an anchor into deeper water to stop her drifting further inshore as the tide returned. However, at around 2.30pm Pioneer was able to back off the mud under her own engine power and was left safely at anchor in the River Colne.

Coastguards were called to Brightlingsea late on Saturday afternoon after a small speedboat had engine trouble and ran aground on the rocks on the upriver side of Bateman's Tower. The boat, believed to have come from Point Clear, was pulled clear by onlookers and beached beside the Tower, where it was quickly swamped by large waves. Those on board - believed to be a man and a child – were unhurt.

The boat was left tied to railings but floated free on Sunday morning's tide to end up in the mud off Splash Point, from where it was later recovered by Brightlingsea Boat Maintenance and towed to Brightlingsea Hard ready to be returned to its owner.

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