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.
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 (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.
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.
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.
On Sunday 20 March volunteers gathered together to put Maud’s gaff back on board and to re-rig.
Nobody present had rigged a wherry before! A copy of David Bray’s instructions were produced and followed and each stage, once correct, was photographed for future use and to put in our manual. Once assembled, all components were diligently tested by the “A team” and pronounced ready for use.
After lacing the sail onto the gaff and making some final connections we were ready to have a test sail. There was a good wind and we had a brisk sail down to Clippesby. The following day there were pictures to prove it on Facebook. Not many wherries are out sailing in March. It’s our ambition to be the first in the year whenever possible.
There have been lots of opportunities for “partying” from February until April 2016 and members have given their time generously.
Maintenance on The Gem
Work started on the 7th February on our tender, The Gem, and continued until she was pronounced ready for re-launching in the third week of March. During that time she was given a thorough clean out, her bottom was scraped and painted and other areas of paintwork touched in. This was the result.
It doesn’t sound much but it was hard work. As a finishing touch the brass letters of the tender’s name were polished and varnished, proving that there is always a job someone can help with.
Maintenance on Maud
On Saturday 13th February work began on Maud and there were 5 work parties in the period to 3rd April.
It’s no exaggeration to say that we all enjoyed ourselves hugely and the weather was quite kind to us. Morale was kept high with some nice touches – Martin’s profiteroles went down a treat, as did most of his jokes. We even found time to do some work and at today’s date, 4th April, Maud is looking smarter than she has for a long time. She has had a good clean inside the hold and the cabin and lots of new paint has been applied to the exterior. As always there are jobs that haven’t been done but we will fit those in between trips.