Tag Archives: Thurne

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.

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