For us the cruise started with a pleasant light wind sail upriver from Reedham to Cantley where, on arrival, we found the Chardonnay Set in full swing on Seabird. However, we all soon went into the Reedcutter where we enjoyed a meal and a few more drinks together.
There was just enough wind from the right direction in the morning to allow the three yachts present – Dragonfly, White Rose and Wisp – to sail upriver on the beginnings of the ebb tide to Coldham Hall. Here the arrival of Grace just about ensured that sailing boats were not outnumbered by the motor boat contingent. Retribution did come complete with a mystery guest, namely one DK Snutch, making a welcome appearance on the river. As the pub was not open as early as expected, a number of us were forced to drink on Wisp for half an hour to fill in time, but in due course we all adjourned for beer.
Some boats attempted to sail in the afternoon, but the general consensus was that Surlingham Broad was the only place it was possible to do so, ensuring that plenty of petrol and diesel were used on the way to Norwich. Somewhat unfairly, the motor boats all moored on the open part of the quay outside the Nelson, leaving the yachts to do a bit of lumberjacking with their masts as they moored under and in the overhanging trees.
Immediately upon arrival, the Vice Commodore and FC2 disappeared into the bar for what they called research. Others, more sober minded, drank tea, coffee and hot chocolate on Retribution and Seabird. Pam and Gerald put everyone else to shame by appearing in a sartorial elegance that was matched only by Auntie Jan. The rest of us straggled into the hotel as best dressed as we could.
Now one member, who put in only guest appearances over the weekend, had decried the Nelson as having bad food and being full of the blue rinse brigade. In reality, the food was excellent, as was the beer and wine and the most notable customers were girls dressed as fairies, complete with wings, and a group of Alice in Wonderland characters.
We were very well looked after and the hotel seemed delighted to have us there, despite (or perhaps because of) the Chardonnay Set drinking their entire week’s supply of two Australian whites and making heavy inroads into a third. Meanwhile, others were discussing the logic of the argument that if heaven existed it would be full, therefore it doesn’t exist; and the Secretary was being surprised by an old schoolfriend. The Commodore had concealed this friend’s arrival and I am asked to point out that he was Right.
When the Nelson closed, those who hadn’t had enough retired to Seabird for port – or perhaps quant rescuing was very thirsty work. The morning revealed an open bottle of Jacob’s Creek on Dragonfly’s doorstep which tells its own tale, marking as it does just where the attempt to drink the bar dry stopped.
Sunday was as windless as the previous day, but with the added disadvantage of what there was being on the nose. Perhaps members with motor boats have the right idea....? So we all had a gentle chug down to Beauchamp, where we sat outside watching the racing dinghies drift backwards through the narrows as we enjoyed final drinks before all going our separate ways.
Boats present: Cygnet, Dragonfly, Grace, Insh’allah, Live Wyre (briefly), Melody, Retribution, Seabird, White Rose, Wisp