The start of Burnham-On-Sea’s sailing season has been put on hold as the annual yachts ‘crane-in’ has become the latest local event to be postponed due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Burnham-On-Sea Sailing Club was due to carry out its annual Spring crane-in of more than 20 yachts from its boatyard into the River Brue this morning (Thursday, March 26th).
The tradition is organised each year at this time when the yachts are hoisted out of the boat yard by a huge crane and lowered into the river for the start of the sailing season. But the club has taken the decision to postpone the event until later in the year.
Talking to Burnham-On-Sea.com, the club’s commodore, Eric Torkildsen said: “It would be hugely irresponsible for us to go ahead with the crane-in at this time, so we will look to do it later in the year when the Coronavirus has gone and the tides allow.”
“It does mean some yachts will probably not go into the water this year but the safety of our members is our top priority.”
It comes after high-pressure water jets mounted on a barge were used earlier this month to fire sea water at the river banks and move mud from around the pontoons to enable the crane-in to proceed.
“The recent high tides led to a lot of extra mud and silt settling around the pontoons. Unless we move it, the waterway would become blocked and yachts would be unable to moor there,” says Eric.
“The recent high tides led to a lot of extra mud and silt settling around the pontoons. Unless we move it, the waterway would become blocked and yachts would be unable to moor there.”
“The ‘mud blasting’ is carried out to maintain the waterway and the navigable parts of the water by the sailing club. We have seen the mud level rise here by about 12ft over recent years.”
The work takes place on a regular basis to keep the area around the pontoons usable, particularly in the run-up to the Sailing Club’s crane-in of yachts.
Those using the River Brue in Burnham regularly include yachts, fishing boats, gig rowers, lifeboats and Sedgemoor District Council’s Harbourmaster.