Rockland St Mary.
It's good to start things as you mean to finish them, perhaps that's why we'd decided to come back there for the end of season cruise. The fleet assembled there so far were 'Dragonfly', 'Seabird', and 'White Rose'. Strictly speaking a YSC vehicle was there.... but we are here to speak of nautical matters.
The evening started with a sampling of our skipper's fine cooking. Christine Walton and myself were crewing on 'White Rose' for the weekend and were being treated to Sweet and Sour Pork (v.tasty!) Whilst the VC & Madam Vice tackled a suitably mean looking S&K pudding......
The first night passed most amiably there after, with Henry & Jo Fillery, Mark and Harriet joining the Dowsetts in the pub for an evening of end of season’s natterings. Rumours were circulating about how many boats would supplement our fleet over the weekend. Not wanting to peak too early, we retired at last orders.
Saturday brought quite a lot of breeze, certainly too much for a comfortable sail. Instead we prepared ourselves for the motor up to Surlingham Ferry; the gusts proved that this was a sensible, if chilly decision!
Surlingham Ferry saw the rest of the YSC contingent arriving, there was the hospital ship 'Retribution' with Tony, Oscar and Janet aboard. Soon after 'Wisp' arrived, and then 'Shruff' completed the fleet. Despite the administering of real ale to all present, the wind most definitely hadn't eased (as confirmed later by Tony, 33 knot gusts according to his dial). At this point, most of the sailing boats gathered decided to follow the thoughts of ‘Wisp’ and motor up to Norwich with the masts down.
Once safely installed on the Hotel Nelson’s moorings, there only remained some very minor forestry work to remove the most inquisitive of tree canopy away from our mast!
The end of season dinner was well populated this year, with around 24 YSC members and guests appearing either by water, rail or road. Without sounding too much like a restaurant review, I think once again the Hotel Nelson, and particularly our long suffering waitress Sam, provided excellent service and a warm welcome to everyone. Eventually at 12:45am we were asked to leave, but in the proper spirit, continued the party aboard ‘Seabird’ until much later.
Sunday morning proved actually to be a flurry of activity, there was a surprise visit from the paper fairy, leaving VC confused as to how two days running, the Daily Mail had found its way aboard. Then a gas shortage threatened to ruin breakfast aboard ‘Retribution’, such excitement proved too much for us on ‘White Rose’ and with only minor forestry, we made an early departure for the journey downriver.
Setting sail at Whitlingham, we managed to sneak underneath the Postwick viaduct having dipped the peak, and then settled down to a very mixed sail! One minute close hauled, then running, then tacking, then close hauled….. the trees made for interesting sailing however once clear…. Woosh! ‘White Rose’ romped past Bramerton with ‘Shruff’ following in hot pursuit. Alas, once the trees were again encountered it was back to a slow crawl.
All too soon I had to make my departure at Rockland, leaving the remainder of the fleet to enjoy a lunchtime at Cantley in the now warm Autumn sunshine (lucky devils!) So, for me thus ended a very enjoyable close to the sailing season this year. Thanks to Bob particularly, but also everyone else for making the weekend really enjoyable.