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Trips in April and May 2017

People enjoy a trip on Maud in lots of different ways, and I hope the following will give you the flavour of our trips so far this year. Next time I write I will choose photos that illustrate other more serious ways of enjoying ourselves, watching the wildlife and learning about sailing a trading wherry.

With the exception of the final photo, all the pictures were taken on my mobile phone.

Here is the chilled out way, best suited to a sunny day :

Relaxing on a sunny day

And then there’s eating cakes, even better when on board boat and in good company :

Eating cakes!
Seeing the wherry’s rig from an unusual angle :

Maud's rig from an unusual angle

Sheltering from a chilly breeze :

Shelter in a chilly breeze

Or even helming the wherry under the watchful eye of Neil Thomas :

Neil Thomas at the helm

It has been a wonderful start to the season and we hope for many more trips with a happy group photo at the end just like this one :

Happy Cew
Picture by Chris Tovey

Written by Linda Pargeter, Trustee of Wherry Maud, May 21 2017.

 

Joint Event with the Wind Energy Museum – October 9th 2016

On May 15th we had had our first joint event with the Wind Energy Museum at Repps, offering a unique experience to a group of people to learn about different uses of wind power. That day was a great success and so we arranged a repeat on Sunday 9 October. The morning was spent touring the museum and having an early lunch there. Afterwards the group walked to Thurne Mill which was opened for them to view. Then they were able to step on board Maud and sail with us up the Bure towards St Benet’s Abbey and back.

All trips are different and volunteer skippers and crew enjoy meeting the members. This trip was made memorable because we had on board one of the people, John Henson, who shaped Maud’s mast in the mid-1990s at the International Boatbuilding Training Centre at Lowestoft. Here we see him at the helm in a shower of rain. That’s skipper Kim standing on deck next to him.

Skipper Kim with John Henson
Photo by Linda Pargeter

We had a shower or two of rain but dried off quickly in between. There are new pics in the Happy Faces photo gallery that show some of our cheery new members on board. New and old members , skipper Kim and crew members Martin and Linda were enjoying their sail so much that all agreed to stay out later than planned, arriving at Repps Staithe at around 6pm. The crew then returned Maud to her base in the Norfolk Wherry Trust boat shed by around 7pm, getting thoroughly wet in a heavy downpour on the way.

Maud at Repps Staithe
Photo by Linda Pargeter

Reviving Old Skills

During the weekend of 10/11 September 2016 Maud made history.

Do you know anyone who has witnessed a wherry being loaded in the traditional way using her mast as a crane*?
Well, now there are some Heritage Open Day visitors to Thurne who have seen that skill demonstrated.

Bystanders watching cargo being loaded : Sept 2016
Bystanders watching cargo being loaded.

The crew removed some of Maud’s hatches and stacked them either end of the hold, then they lowered the gaff and sail down onto them. That left an area of the hold open for loading and unloading. The mast was then lowered to a suitable angle for lifting from the centre of the hold.

Lifting cargo out of Maud's hold : Sept-2016
Lifting cargo out of Maud’s hold.

One of the crew operated the winch and heavy sacks and a large bag of reed were (almost) effortlessly transferred from wherry to bank and back again throughout the day.

Loading cargo at Thurne on 11 Sept 2016
Loading cargo at Thurne on 11 Sept 2016.

It was skipper Kim Dowe who taught the crew how it was done in preparation for the event. He learnt his skills from his father Vic who was a wherryman and who sailed Albion in the 1950s.

Skyscape with Maud's mast lifting gaff : Sept 2016
Skyscape with Maud’s mast lifting gaff.

*Note that the block at the mast head is suspended from the crane iron.

Maud during July

July has been a very busy month for the trust. Having moved Maud onto the southern rivers – the first leg Womack to Acle then Acle to St. Olaves –  we then set sail for Beccles, as part of the Beccles Charter Weekend, based at Hippersons yard. With a prime mooring spot it was lovely to be there amongst so many historic boats gathered together for the public to enjoy. On Sunday in particular people turned up in great numbers – with a hot day, good food, live music – it all added to the mix in what turned out to be a super weekend.

Beccles - Hipperson's Boatyard

Hipperson's boatyard Beccles

Leaving Beccles on July 10th we returned to Hardley Mill, taking a group part way to Somerleyton. That first leg was a great sail but in the afternoon the wind got up and from the wrong direction, together with the tide against us it made sailing tricky, but still skipper Kim guided Linda through the New Cut sailing “scandalised” (with the peak of the sail dipped). We arrived quite late at Hardley Mill.

Crew and passengers returning to Hardley Mill.

Maud with the peak of the sail dipped.The following weekend we sailed to the Ferry at Surlingham with new members from the friends of Hardley Windmill on board. At Surlingham Sonia, landlady of The Wherry House pub and her team made it a memorable weekend and looked after us so well – thank you Sonia for all you did.

Sonia, landlady of The Ferry House pub at Surlingham.

While moored up Maud was open for viewing and, with the four up-stream short taster sailings we did over the weekend plus the return trip to Hardley Mill, it was financially the best weekend to date for the trust.

Maud near Bramerton Woods End.

During the week ended 24 July Maud was open for viewing at Hardley Mill on two occasions, providing extra interest at their AGM and also at the Coldham Hall Sailing Club barbecue.

So the last weekend of the month is here and we are setting sail for home. Don’t worry, with the warm welcome we received and the new friends we have made we WILL be back next year.

article and photographs by Neil Thomas, July 2016.

Come onto the Waveney, Maud…

The message is out that Maud is on her way to southern climes for a short time. Is anyone interested in sailing her from Acle to St Olaves? As it so happened I was at somewhat of a loose end (gardening can only go so far), and so I volunteered to assist in the passage. What I was hoping for was the chance to do some helming, especially across Breydon.

Maud on the Waveney
Photo by M. Abney.

A good start is finding that Kim will be the skipper so the chance of some action increases. Come the day there are some 11 or 12 of us on board, and a dog in a bag. At first I thought it was someone’s pack up but no, it was a very sweet dog. Kim kindly tells me that it is for me to give the safety briefing and to sort out the departure of Maud.
I discuss with him the best way of doing so bearing in mind we are on a lee shore and a motor cruiser is about 30′ in front. One idea was to go straight through it and take it with us, but on reflection it seemed better to leave her where she is. I decided that the way forward is to lower the mast to cut down windage and motor off. Kim points out that I can also use the tide to my advantage by turning the rudder to 90 degrees which will take the stern out.
Safety briefing is completed whilst we have our first hot refreshment. The weather is overcast and it is quite breezy, and again in consultation with Kim 2 reefs are the order of the day. The crew put them in.
We cast off and sweet as a nut Maud moves into the middle of the river being pushed gently along by Nigel in the “naughty boat”. The mast is put back up and the sail is set. The wind starts off North West in the teens with some gusts into the 20’s. I am helming and Maud is travelling as some speed and enjoying herself.
There is a lot of work to be done and I have to be aware of potential gybes. It is good to be able to talk things through with the skipper. Somewhere just down river of Stracey Arms Kim takes over and Maud goes even better. The plan is to sail almost to the yacht station at Gt Yarmouth lower sail and mast hopefully hitting low water.
On the way we play I spy birds (Marsh Harrier, Harnser, crane, egrets), and Kim plays the where are we and where is this game. Strange thing he lost, as we were in fact looking at Runham church.
As we reach Gt Yarmouth I moved to the bow to deal with the lowering of sails and mast. All down neat and tidy ready for the bridges. More local history is pointed out including the remains of the Bure railway bridge and where the old suspension bridge was. Even though it is close to low tide there is not too much clearance, especially under the railway bridge (Vauxhall).
We turn onto Breydon and it is like someone putting a brake on. The decision is made to stop and wait the tide and so we stop at the pontoon. I ring Liz. “Hello, where are you?”; “I am sitting outside Asda (or as it is known locally Asbo’s)” “What are you doing there?” “On the dolphin waiting for the tide.” “What time will you be home?” “Don’t know so look after yourself for food etc.” “Will do”
It was then time for coffee and a bacon sandwich, before setting off as soon as the tide had slowed. We go under Breydon bridge and put the mast up. The wind had gone round to north eastish. Sail back up and Maud roars back into life. Some of the gusts are quite lively. I get to have a helm whilst Kim has his sandwich. Having never sailed a wherry on open water in a decent wind I have to say that it is very hard work, even with the wind on the beam. Before too long Kim is back on the helm whilst I take the opportunity to look listen and try to learn.
There is a photo opportunity for our friends, having made sure the tender, Gem, would be able to keep up with us.

Maud across Breydon
Photo by Ivor Stemp.
Maud across Breydon
Photo by Ivor Stemp.

In what seemed like a blink of an eye we are across Breydon and heading to the mouth of the Yare and Waveney, where the wind seemed to have eased a bit. It never ceases to amaze me how far you travel by river to cover such a short distance on land. The evening wears on and Linda rings our berth point for final directions. The plan is to sail to the beginning of the 24 hour moorings, drop sail and moor up.
The tide is now flowing which means it is pushing Maud along with the wind. The decision is made to go past the mooring, turn and come back against the tide and wind. This means lowering the mast to go under St Olaves bridge so we can turn by the New Cut. The mast is safely down and we pass under the bridge. By the time we have turned and gone back upstream the level has risen a few inches and we have to dip the top of the mast to get under again.

Maud at St.Olave's bridge.
Photo by M&L Taylor.

We gently come alongside and after some 7 plus hours of sailing the journey has ended. I for one had a great time and so did my friend Harry who came along as a birthday treat. I understand from his wife it took him about 3 hours to tell her all about it, and then his friends on Sunday. All in all a great day which even the weather could not put a damper on.

by Malcolm D., 18 June 2016.

Two Trips in May

On Saturday 7 May John Cook took the following four photos :

Day sail from Womack 01
Day sail at Womack - 02
Day sail from Womack - 03
Day Sail at Womack - 04


And Martin & Lynette Taylor took some photos on Sunday 15 May when six new members came for a short sail as part of a joint event with the Wind Energy Museum. Two mill enthusiasts had come from further away than the others, in fact from Florida. All look a bit chilly, but happy.

Martin and Lynette Taylor photographs at Wind Energy Event
Martin and Lynette Taylor photo at Wind Energy Museum event

Day trip from Womack to Ranworth and back

7 May day trip

Well, who would believe such a change in the weather since our last trip on 17th April?

The 17th April photo of people on the foredeck showed us all in nice, warm clothing, but 3 weeks later there we were in brilliant sunshine, wearing tee shirts and even with a touch of sunburn by the end of the day.

On board the wherry Maud, May 7th 2016.

We left Womack at about 10.30 and had a gentle sail round to Ranworth, arriving on the Broad sometime after 1pm for shore leave. Soon we heard the wonderful sound of the bells of the church ringing out for a wedding and learnt that Neil Thomas’s wife Nikki was one of the team ringing.

On the return trip to Womack we were helped by the tide but hindered by a head wind on some reaches. We left the sail up and used the engine in the tender to push us when needed. As often happens we had a fair wind on the last reach before the entrance to Womack and were sorry to have to lower sail.

There was an experimental element to the trip. We do have quite a few members who are dog owners and whose pooches are quite happy on board boats. So, with the consent of all those on board, Tom was allowed to bring Pip and Mollie with him.

Mollie the Collie on board Maud.

Mollie the Collie (above) enjoyed all the attention from dog-loving members and didn’t tire of chasing a stick thrown a short distance for her in the hold.

Maud passenger Pip the dog

Pip, a much larger dog, was quite happy as long as Tom wasn’t far away.

Other members will be sending photos and they will be put onto our website once received. Watch this space.

Social Evening and Annual Meeting

On 30 April 2016 the trustees put on a Social Evening and Annual Meeting for associate members.

The evening began at 5.45 when Linda Pargeter gave a presentation of the trust and its work in 2015, its first year of operation, and details of plans for events in the coming year. See a video of the presentation.

Immediately afterwards John Greenaway, recently retired owner of Traditional Boat Supplies at Beccles, gave a fascinating talk about his life.


His early years were spent in Mevagissey, then a very close community of fishermen. He was taken out of school by his mother at the age of fourteen and a half to support his family by fishing for pilchard in the family lugger.

After two or three years national service changed all that and, although in a reserved occupation, he volunteered for the forces. A self-taught, extremely fast, shorthand writer he was soon in demand for clerical service overseas and served in Bermuda and Jamaica until demob. He then set up in the charter business with a friend and later for 3 months went as bosun on Errol Flynn’s yacht with the Rat Pack attending frequent parties on board. After various other business ventures he came to Beccles and spent many years building up an international business supplying anything and everything needed for maintaining traditional boats. This year, fed up with his sleep being interrupted by international calls, he finally decided to retire, although in his retirement he will be looking for new adventures. He interspersed his half-hour talk with amusing anecdotes and members were most appreciative. Few of us realised, for example, that a true Cornish Pasty has a filling of pilchard and vegetables, with a jam section at one end.


 John Greenaway

 John Greenaway 02

 John Greenaway 03

Thank you, John. Members enjoyed your talk immensely.

Then members had a short time for a chat and a drink before the FISH AND CHIPS arrived. A few people had chosen sausage or a vegetarian option instead of the fish, and nobody went hungry. Quite the opposite!

John Greenaway 04
And many members decided to stay on to see the film of Albion’s trip round to Ely in the 1970s. Everyone enjoyed watching but perhaps we won’t try a similar voyage with Maud yet awhile.

 

Trip from Thurne

17 April Afternoon Trip from Thurne

On a chilly but bright afternoon we made about a three-hour trip from Thurne up to St Benet’s Abbey and back. Six new members on board enjoyed a first experience of wherry sailing. Kim Dowe was our skipper and Neil Thomas (one of the WMT Trustees) was his understudy. Neil is taking every opportunity to learn from Kim as he hopes to graduate as a wherry skipper soon.

We had some good bird-spotting too. Two cranes were riding the thermals above our head for a while and a male marsh harrier gave us a fine display.

On the bank near St Benet’s members of a camera club were very excited to see a wherry out and about and promised to put some of their pictures of Maud on Facebook.

A most enjoyable early-season trip.

A chat on the foredeck
Enjoying a chat on the foredeck
Passing Thurne Mill
Passing Thurne Mill on the way back to Womack

 

Upcoming Talks

Date Time Group Name Venue Address Speaker Cost Duration
Mon.

6 March 2017

10am Maldon U3A Maritime Branch Blackwater Sailing Club, Basin Rd, Heybridge, Maldon CM9 4SD Linda Pargeter U3A Members only Approx 1 hour