Tag Archives: Womack

A trip across Breydon with 50mph gusting wind

Trip to Breydon (1)
At Reedham Ferry in the morning, deceptively calm. Photo by Mike Nicholls.

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.

Trip to Breydon (2)
Trainee skipper Malcolm Duffield on the foredeck on the approach to Breydon Bridge. Photo by Mike Nicholls.

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.

Trip to Breydon (3)
Sailing from Acle Bridge to Womack, Malcolm Duffield on the tiller. Photo by J. James.
Trip to Breydon (4)
Sailing from Acle Bridge to Womack, Malcolm Duffield on the tiller. Photo by J. James.

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).
Trip to Breydon (5)
…And this is how the rig looked! Photo by artist Adrian Wincup.

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.

Taking Maud South

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.

Navigating Under Bridge
photo by Gerald Thomas

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.

photo by David Pilch
photo by David Pilch

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.

photo by David Pilch


Maud is in commission again

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.

Linda Pargeter
3 October 2017

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.