In general the area is not suitable for deeper draft fin keelers, except for a couple of temporary anchorages, a long way from any facilities.
The town of Southend is fronted by extensive drying mud flats that reach almost to the end of the pier. A deepwater gutway runs inwards towards Leigh on Sea and branches off a short way to Smallgains Creek, which houses a boatyard with mud berth moorings at the eastern extremity of Canvey Island. Another arm continues past Two Tree Island where many small craft are moored in semi shelter and then winds and twists it's way up Benfleet Creek, where there are two yacht clubs with extensive drying moorings and a boatyard, (that nestle in total shelter no matter what the wind is doing). ... read more
Yachts and motorboats making for Leigh on Sea, Canvey or Benfleet will have to locate Ray Gut, and should allow a suitable rise of tide before starting the run in from the Sothend Pier area. Those making for Holehaven will be to the south of the Sea Reach shipping channel (i.e on the Kent side, out of the way of shipping.) Pliotage directions are now given:
The harbour authority in this area is the PLA, and in this particular area above the Sea Reach No.4 Buoy and Crayfordness operates on VHF channel 68, and can be telephoned on 01474 660311. They operate patrol launches callsign " Thames Patrol" also on VHF channel 68. A link is provided below to a part of their site dealing with safety and regulations:
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Ray Gut can provide a useful Anchorage for even deeper draft craft on a temporary basis. Although it doesn't look too promising on the chart, it is not as totally exposed as it looks. If the wind is in the North you have the lee of the land, while if it has South or Southwest in it, the extensive drying banks to windward will give you some shelter from the waves.
At low water within the gutway, all will be calm but as the tide gradually covers the steep banks things will get more lively. Even at high water the banks take some sting out of the waves.There are no facilities nearby and anchoring here can feel very isolated, especially when the tide is fully in and you appear to be anchored in the middle of nowhere.The holding ground is good but it may be worth buoying your anchor in case it fouls any old ground tackle on the seabed.
The other possible mooring options are Smallgains Creek (Canvey Island) and Benfleet Creek, both only suitable for boats able to take the ground. Holehaven on the other side of Canvey Island can provide a deeper water anchorage. These are now described:
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