Guest of honour brought 21 years of cruising experience to the meeting

The Countess Owners Association – an international yachting group – returned again to Essex this month for its annual dinner in Chelmsford.

The dinner was followed by the group’s annual ‘Dry Meet’, a day of seminars and talks, held in Margaretting Village Hall.

The star attraction this year was Member Arthur Robbins, who was visiting the UK especially for the event, to talk about cruising his Countess 33 yacht ‘Aquarius’.

Arthur had cruised for more than 60,000 miles, visiting 64 countries over a period of 21 years.

He was also awarded the trophy donated by COA Designer President Ian Anderson, reputed naval architect and designer of the Countess range of yachts. The trophy is an annual award for outstanding participation in or services to the Association.  

Other talks and seminars covered advanced polymers in yacht construction by Dr Marcus Walls-Bruck; latest sail developments by John Sturmer of Essex-based Gowen Sails; Coastguard Services by Colin Stroud – Woodham Ferrers Unit and the usual annual legal up-date by Rudi Fortsun, QC, particularly concerning accident liability and the problems presented by other EU countries’ approaches to tax-free diesel for yachts.

Before the annual dinner, at Chelmsford’s South Lodge Hotel, members were entertained at a drinks reception at the Old Moulsham home of the association’s President Robert Jones and his wife Prue, previous proud owners of two Countess yachts, originally produced by Colvic Craft, Ltd. in Essex.

Mr Jones reminded delegates that January 2014 will be the Association’s 30th anniversary and that it had been constantly providing valuable mutual help and friendship to all members.

The very first hull for the Countess range of yachts, a 28 ft. version, was produced in the Witham factory in 1979.

The entire range, up to the Countess 37, was then produced there from the early 1980s and later at Earls Colne, until production was moved to the West Country in 1991.

Essex is thus seen as the true birth-place of the association, which now has members with Countess yachts all over the world.

Membership is open to present and past owners of the Countess range of yachts: Contact Hon Sec or visit