This year’s Autumn Cruise was always going to be minimalist, with only Vixen and Egret expected to participate on the water. The plan was set to meet at St Olaves on Friday afternoon, cruise to Oulton Broad via Burgh St Peter on Saturday and then take Egret through the lock to Lowestoft for the evening meal.
By Wednesday evening, it became apparent that the weather forecast was not in our favour, with a strong southerly gale predicted for Saturday night, meaning the marina at the RN&SYC would be rather rock and rolly. Chloe the dog would not have enjoyed it. Instead, the crew of Vixen invited themselves to the Grange, from where the intrepid party (including Chloe) set out by car to the Bell at St Olaves for the planned evening meal. As expected, there was no great flotilla of boats on the mooring, but the three of us enjoyed a fine repast before retiring back to the Grange for wine, conversation and, eventually, bed.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny. Briefly. A lazy morning ensued, having breakfast and reading the papers, with a gentle stroll around the wood for some light exercise. Chloe’s version of this was a full on charge, back and forth through the undergrowth, trying to catch a muntjac; followed by a quick dip, from which she emerged with green legs and nose from the pondweed. She seemed to find this amusing and was very pleased with herself.
The planned lunchtime stop of Burgh St Peter seemed unnecessarily ambitious by road, so we settled for a light snack and a drink at the near-by Queen’s Head before the crew of Vixen took their leave and headed off in the approaching storm to Lowestoft. By car, of course. Here the wind was howling around the yacht club building as the rain lashed the windows and the sea looked distinctly grey and unfriendly. The rolling boats in the marina reinforced the decision not to come by water.
As evening approached, more members began arriving, including the brave ones who came by train and then battled the force 7 headwind and driving rain to reach the sanctuary of the yacht club. We were also joined by four guests who had abandoned all idea of sleeping on their boats in the marina and booked rooms in the club for the night. Fifteen of us were seated in a square to enjoy the three course meal, preceded by Grace from Tony Knights and concluded by a speech from him, hilariously thanking those who had fictitiously battled the stormy conditions by water to attend.
In traditional YSC manner, the evening wound down in the members’ bar, boosting the club’s profits to an unwise degree. However, despite the somewhat unusual format of this year’s (non) cruise, the event was deemed a great success by all present.