With the construction of the new railway underpass, Ferry Road and the construction of a solid bridge across the creek, preventing access to sailing boats, it was necessary to move the clubship. ‘When the old bridge was opened for the last time to water-borne traffic, the clubship was moved through to the eastern side on the midnight tide – perhaps one of the most nostalgic pieces of Essex waterside history.’
In anticipation of these changes, the club had bought from the church Commmissioners 75 acres of saltings on the Canvey side of the creek bridge. Members worked together to provide road access to the new mooring. A shed on the old club site was a temporary home for those members who were thirsty. A covenant forbidding the sale of alcohol on the new clubship site caused much consternation among the members, however the Church Commissioners were happy to withdraw the restriction, taking ‘the view that a clubship without a traditional beverage was a clubship no more.’
‘The club prospered, Membership grew’ and moorings on the creek were developed. With the increased membership more races and rallies were held, an entertainments committee planned an expanded programme of social events. The clubship Dowsing was now too small for the membership and was showing her age.
The building of the Thames flood barrier required the club to give up part of its site, but the compensation paid allowed the idea of a shore based club to become a reality.
Again, members helped out where they could, a builder was appointed to construct the new clubhouse but those who were professionally qualified supervised construction and provided water and electricity services. Others laid paths, cleared the site and helped financing the project with a £50 loan scheme.
The completion of the clubhouse could not have been done without the money raised by many coffee mornings, auctions and donations by individuals, their boat’s name engraved on a brass plaque fixed to each item.
Taken from a photocopy of an article titled “Benfleet Yacht Club A ‘Potted History’ 1922 – 1984” from the yacht clubs magazine.
Date unknown, as is the author.