Part of the press release below was used in the online version of the Eastern Daily Press and then in the printed copy on 27th March.
“The Wherry Maud Charitable Trust has recently secured a large stock of oak in readiness for their next round of hull maintenance, due to commence in July of 2020.
An appeal to the Trust’s patron, Sir Richard Jewson KCVO JP, Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk, led to a meeting with Edward Brun of the Clackmannan Woodland Trust, who was able to offer a prime sample of English oak recently felled in the process of normal estate management of the woodland around Sandringham.
Mike Barnes, a Trustee for Wherry Maud, selected the timber and arranged conversion of the log into sawn boards 1½ inches thick, that will be left to partially air dry until ready for use next summer.
Examination of the annular rings of the log, revealed the tree to have been planted in the reign of King George III around 1775, but of particular note was a very tight collection of annular rings that were identified as occurring around 1816. This was known as the year without a summer, consequent to what has latterly been termed a volcanic winter event, caused by the massive 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora in the Dutch East Indies. The effects were felt throughout Europe and gave rise to amongst other things, the Irish potato famine.
The log was expertly sawn by Neil Richardson, who recently took over the saw mill at Edingthorpe on the death of his father, Kenny, at the end of last year.”
Last Wednesday 19th September 2018 was the day scheduled for taking Maud from Reedham Ferry back to our winter berth at Womack, Ludham. As you will no doubt remember the weather forecast was not very promising due to Storm Helene. It was touch and go up to mid-morning on the 19th, would we make the trip or not? As the days get shorter it becomes more difficult to find a date with the tide right for going through Yarmouth and getting back to Ludham before nightfall. We really wanted to make the trip if we could.
Jimmy James was our skipper for the day and we all gathered together at the Reedham Ferry Inn. Jimmy had made careful preparations, including alerting staff at the Yacht Station in Great Yarmouth to the fact that we might need to moor there and wait for the tide to turn. In that case we would probably need someone to assist with mooring. Given the wind strength it would not have been prudent to raise sail. We had two tenders with us, “The Gem” with its inboard Yanmar diesel engine and “Silver Star” with a 6.5hp outboard, both useful but not very powerful..
With skipper, three crew and 11 members on board we departed Reedham Ferry at 1145hrs, were at Berney Arms at just after 1300hrs and arrived at Breydon New Bridge at 1402hrs. By Jimmy’s reckoning that made us 2 minutes late. We forgave him for that! He had a good excuse. He had anticipated having the stick (mast) up all the way from Reedham but the wind was too strong. There are some tight bends near Polkey’s Mill and he didn’t want to risk going aground. The wind on Maud’s mast is always a significant factor.
Everyone enjoyed the Breydon crossing and it was fine to sit on the hatches or stand on the steps in the hold to watch our progress. A small shower just as we departed soon cleared. There were ample quantities of hot drinks and cakes to eat and some interesting conversations about boats that members had sailed in the past.
Helming up the Bure with the wind coming from astern was hard work for the person on the tiller. Scenery from the boat was quite spectacular. My best memory is seeing Ashtree Farm Windpump through a mist of spray whipped up by the wind. It cleared just as suddenly. Wish I had had a camera in my hand.
We arrived at Acle Bridge Inn and moored up at around 5.30 and the decision was made to continue up to Womack before dark. At that point Jimmy decided that it would be good to try some sailing, with certain precautions.
The technical details for sailing safely in such strong winds were as follows:
The sail was very scandalised (the peak of the sail was only lifted about 5ft – see photo – and was controlled with the gaff line).
The throat was tied down. Throat block was hooked onto ring on spen (peak) block.
Rope around gaff close to peak block to keep belly of sail under control and sail ties between this line and throat.
Main block on clew of sail and cleated in hard (we put it on third reef cringle).
Jimmy’s comments on the experiment “Worked well down wind, but would not be any good other than down wind or broad(ish) reach. It pushed us along nicely with no horrible stresses on boat in the gusts“.
A big “thank you” to Jimmy for his expertise and to crew and members on board for making the trip a really special experience. It would be lovely to have more photos of the first part of the trip from Reedham Ferry to Acle Bridge for our album.
This is now the third year that the Trust has taken Maud “south” in the month of June and members have enjoyed the trip from Acle Bridge to the southern rivers.
Of course it all starts with a trip from Womack to Acle Bridge and this year was no exception. Jimmy was our skipper on the Friday evening of 8th June and everyone enjoyed the opportunity of a gentle sail down river with plenty of opportunity to see and photograph wildlife including marsh harriers. We took both tenders which was fortunate as Gem’s engine cut out and would not re-start. Diagnosis by engineer Paul the following morning was a faulty hose, causing air to enter the fuel line. The cunning plan, that worked like a charm, was for Nick to get spares in Yarmouth and lower them from the bridge as Maud was passing beneath.
For the second leg of our journey, Acle to Hardley Windmill, Kim was the skipper. Some interesting photos were taken, again by Gerald, as we passed under the bridges in Yarmouth.
An interesting feature of the trip was learning from Kim how skippers used to create a “window” by hitching up the sail to reefing points when the sail was preventing them seeing ahead. In this case it proved difficult as the reefing cords were not long enough. Kim plans to put longer cords in that position to make it easier in future.
And all on board had some time for relaxation. Spot the skipper taking photos of the landscape while Harry is at the helm clearly enjoying the experience.
Acle Bridge Inn was the venue for our winter members’ lunch and 27 people came along. At the pub there is a newly refurbished back room with large television that enabled Martin, our archivist, to show photos throughout the meal.
It was pleasing to welcome a few new members as well as those who have supported Maud for many years. There was a good buzz of conversation throughout and memories were tested by the short quiz on Maud’s history. Not surprisingly the winners were old friends of Maud, although no team got full marks and the tie breaker was not needed.
The facilities, the food and the service could not be faulted. All excellent and thanks to Phil, Vanessa and their team.
In 2018 so far we have had two working parties. The first was on Saturday 3 Feb when 11 people attended. A whole list of jobs were tackled and there were two major ones:
launch of the new tender “Silver Star” and bringing her round to Womack
putting up two storage chests next to Maud so that we can clear spare items out of the hold, give us more space and make it look much tidier.
The second working party took place on Monday 19 Feb and 8 people came for all or part of the day. Again lots of jobs were tackled and Mike and Peter concentrated on preparation so that we are ready to paint when the temperature has risen a bit. Of special note was the installation by Martin of an LED lighting panel above the galley. The lights are run from a battery and should last for 8 hours. Lighting will be much appreciated when preparing drinks and washing up in low light conditions.
Another job that hadn’t been done for some years was a complete re-paint of the name boards. Nicki and Roger did a splendid job on those, taking them home to finish the lettering. No, they haven’t been stolen and will be put back on the occasion of the next working party on 10 March.
We were fortunate that the weather that evening was good, al- though cold. No snow, and that was the important thing. The arts centre at Halesworth is outside our usual area of operation but for most members only an average 45 minute drive. It was the only venue we could find for a winter screening. From the Broads area there are two routes that you can take, via Norwich and via Great Yarmouth. Unfortunately there was an accident on the A47 road to Yarmouth that evening. One of our trustees was caught up in the resulting traffic jam and had to turn round and use the alternative route. Having planned to arrive at the venue early he arrived with only a few minutes to spare. We conclude that others may have had similar problems and may have given up and gone home.
The film was publicised widely by the arts centre and by ourselves. We emailed our members and others, and in the process made useful contacts at sailing clubs down the coast from Great Yarmouth to Suffolk. Some people did attend as a result of publicity from their sailing club.
It was fascinating to see a beautiful sailing vessel constructed on a beach next to the sea, built out of mostly local materials and with the only plans being a half model. Many of the boat builders in the Caribbean are descended from Scottish settlers who passed on their skills to the local population and inter-married with them. Surnames such as Compton bear witness to this. We have to remember that when Maud was built on the bank of the Yare at Reedham there would also have been few plans and the hull of the boat would have been set up mainly by eye.
A total of 62 people attended and all agreed that it had been a pleasant evening. The film ended with wonderful footage of the Classic Sail Regatta on Antigua. After all that sunshine it was quite a shock to come out of the cinema to a dark, cold winter’s evening.
Here is a “thank you” from one of our members:
“Hi, we really enjoyed the film, it brought back memories as I trained as a boatbuilder and worked in Greece in primitive circumstances, thanks for arranging it”.
We will be contacting Indian Creek Films with a view to arranging another screening of the film at an alternative venue nearer The Broads.
a Wherry Maud Trust Archive Afternoon
was held at Acle Church Hall.
Approximately 33 members and non members attended and during the afternoon had the opportunity to listen to presentations given by Geoff Doggett, Thelma Waller, Linda Pargeter and Martin Carruthers. The presentations were accompanied by slide shows.
Geoff’s talk touched on many aspects of early transport in the Waveney Valley and suggested further topics to investigate regarding water transport. His slides of photographs from the Hobrough collection in the Bridewell Museum were particularly interesting. J.S. Hobrough, the river contractor, had a fleet of wherries and owned Maud between 1919 and 1940. The Hobrough collection comprises a unique collection of photographs detailing the projects that the firm undertook using largely manual labour and machinery that looks primitive to our modern eyes.
Linda spoke about the art of the Rev David Poole, a royal portrait artist, who had collaborated with his friend Ted Ellis, the well known local naturalist, and had produced beautifully illustrated books on the Broads area. Sketches of groups of wherries were shown and Thelma read a Ted Ellis poem about the last days of the trading wherries. The poem was actually dedicated by Ted Ellis to J.S. Hobrough.
After tea, coffee and delicious cakes baked by members, there were two further talks.
Linda gave an outline of what is known about skippers of Maud and appealed for help in tracing descendants of some of them. She showed photographs of a few and gave a list of names that need further investigation.
The final talk was given by Martin, the Wherry Maud Trust volunteer archivist. He has been cataloguing and scanning documents, postcards, photos and diaries. He showed a selection of picture postcards mostly showing wherries, and then drew members’ attention to the social history of the messages on the back of the cards. One postcard, dated 1909, tells us that on 25 Oct 1909 King Edward VII visited Norwich, accompanied by his Secretary of State for War, Lord Haldane. Martin did some research and found that the purpose of the visit was to lay a foundation stone for an extension of the Norfolk and Norwich hospital. But why was he accompanied by the Secretary of State for War? One question always leads to another.
After a successful re-launch in heavy rain on Friday 8th September the trustees of Maud are pleased to report that Maud is ready to sail again from the Norfolk Wherry Trust base at Womack.
On Sunday 17th September re-rigging was completed under the watchful eye of skipper Kim Dowe.
Kim and his crew then set out from Burgh Castle to return to Ludham. Unfortunately conditions in the shape of a head wind for the first part of the journey across Breydon and later very light winds prevented raising sail and the whole trip was done with the tender pushing. Maud arrived at Acle Bridge just as it got dark.
On the following day Ian Scowen skippered Maud, again under engine, from Acle Bridge to Womack.
This coming Sunday morning, 8th October, Maud will be making a couple of short trips from Womack and we are hoping for favourable winds so that we can say that Maud is actually sailing again after the refit.
Thank you to our new member Sue Grief for these superb photos she took of events on the 17th September.
Wherry Maud Trust final report on Maud’s
Three Yearly Out-of-the-water Maintenance
and Update on results of the 2017 Appeal
Maud has been re-launched – see the above photo by Martin Curruthers. She returned to Womack on 18 September under motor and we plan to sail her on the Thurne and Bure this coming Sunday 8th October.
Trustees are now closing the appeal:
Further to our last report in which we declared our intention to close the appeal once Maud was back in commission, the appeal is now closed.
We last reported that £3000 had been raised. The final total is £3830!
We are still not in a position to confirm the final total spent but should be able to do that shortly.
The extra money raised will enable trustees to start building a fund for the higher costs expected for the next two refits in 2020 and 2023.
Grateful thanks goes to those members who gave their time freely to minimise labour costs. Trustees estimate that around 240 hours of volunteer labour was used to complete the project.
Last but not least, grateful thanks for the efficiency and skill of the two-man team from Colin Buttifant Boatbuilders and of the staff of Goodchild Marine. Always good to know that Maud is in safe hands.
Target was set to fund an estimated mix of materials and to supplement funds already in hand.
The amount we hoped to raise was £2,200. Thanks to the generosity of a few individuals we have exceeded the target.
As at the end of July we had raised only £20, by the 15th of August the figure had risen to £895 and currently, due mainly to one donation, we have raised £3000!
The appeal will close once Maud is successfully in commission again.
The extra money raised has been allocated for the purchase of fastenings for the next phase of major maintenance in 2020.
The final total spend cannot be given until bills are received but will be in the region of £12500.
You may have seen from reports in the press that the Trust now has a 6-year maintenance plan. Longer lengths of oak planking will be replaced in 2020 and 2023. Fund raising for that work will be ongoing.
June and July seem a long way behind us now, even though it is only early August. Maud’s 2017 sailing season will shortly be almost at an end due to three-yearly out-of-the-water maintenance starting on August 7th.
I promised some pictures of members performing crewing tasks and here they are. This time the photos are sent in by our members
A winch party on 3rd June paying serious attention to lowering sail. Note the new halyard (rope) on the winch barrel, and the way the crew are concentrating on the job in hand.
On the 18th June trip from Acle Bridge to Hardley, Neil Thomas (trustee and trainee skipper) took the helm while Kim Dowe (skipper) had a rest.
And on the 30th June a winch party admired the way the halyard has finished in the ideal place after raising sail. The idea is to finish hoisting with the rope on the bare barrel of the winch, making hoisting easier as those hoisting get more tired.
Also on 30th June during the journey from Hardley to Beccles, skipper Ian Scowen (left) gave member Ellie Rockley a chance to experience helming Maud.
And then it was Steve Hiscox’s turn, with Ian Scowen still supervising of course. Herringfleet Mill on the Waveney in the background.
On the 29 July trip from Frostbites at Thorpe down river back to Hardley Mill, Haydn was having his first try at quanting Maud. Haydn joined as trainee crew this year and has already earnt his “Gem driver” badge. Perhaps someone else took a better photo?
Another volunteer job is to take people out in The Gem (Maud’s tender) to get a good view of Maud under sail and take photos. Here, on 29 July, Glyn Pugh is driving and Ruth is enjoying the view.
Finally, a group photo taken at the end of our very memorable trip from Acle Bridge to Hardley Mill. The trip was very memorable because Betsy (extreme right) had come from Florida especially to take her second trip on Maud and see windmills on the lower Bure and Yare. More about her visit in the August newsletter.
Written by Linda Pargeter, Trustee of Wherry Maud Trust, 4 August 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 :
And then there’s eating cakes, even better when on board boat and in good company :
Seeing the wherry’s rig from an unusual angle :
Sheltering from a chilly breeze :
Or even helming the wherry under the watchful eye of Neil Thomas :
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 :
Written by Linda Pargeter, Trustee of Wherry Maud, May 21 2017.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
*Note that the block at the mast head is suspended from the crane iron.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Keeping Broads history alive…