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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On Saturday 7 May John Cook took the following four photos :
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.
Keeping Broads history alive…