Some history behind the names of the Estuary Marks

The Estuary is dotted with a racing marks of a variety of shapes, colours and sizes.  Many of them have been in place since the early days of sailing on the Estuary, and were owned by each Club. 

Many have names which are clearly inspired by the romance of the sea. For example, Green Can is so-called because it was topped with a green can. T stake was a stake with a crossbar. Tripod was a stake with a triangle on top.

Many of these marks have been replaced with anonymous buoys after they have been snagged by passing yachts or made obsolete by changing channels. Heathcote Pile is a good example, having been gradually moved further up the Estuary over the years. Originally it was a large square pile planted firmly where the Avon channel and the Heathcote Channel met.

The sandbanks of the Estuary also changed. Skylark marks a small, low-lying island known by that name, which was eroded away by the 1920s after the causeway was built.

Until the 1950s, a long jetty stood near the club, similar to the one at Pleasant Point. Estuary races run by MPYC would start between the end of the jetty and a mark on the opposite side of the channel. Mortens Jetty has gone but the Mortens mark remains.

Water for Sumner used to be pumped from artesian wells in the Estuary. A pipe ran from a pumphouse near Skylark to the causeway, lying about six inches off the mud. Boats would come to a sudden halt when their centreboards hit the pipe. An old well further south was marked by two vertical pipes - the Wells mark.

We would like to know the story behind the name 22, so if you can help let us know.