As coerced into writing a few words about the late May cruise, I will try to describe it for those who weren’t present. Friday afternoon saw my departure from Coldham Hall in my halfdecker ‘Grace’ and whilst I had initial suspicions for the weather turning bad, the rain did hold off long enough for me to enjoy the run down over the tide to Reedham Ferry.
Later that evening ‘Wisp’ with Margaret, Denis and Chris arrived, completing the trio of YSC craft being ‘Wisp’, ‘White Rose’ and ‘Grace’. Sampling of the Adnams in the ferry P.H. made the rest of the evening somewhat hazy, but I gather a return to our craft occurred at midnight (ish) ready for the sail to Somerleyton on Saturday.
Saturday started with all the promises of a fine day, clear skies, sunshine, and the threat of 12 incoming GWYC meeting us at Somerleyton and with beating that lot to the Dukes Head in mind, all three YSC craft exited a bit sharpish to motor through the recently re-opened Reedham Bridge. At this point, it would be churlish not to mention the insider information actioned by Wisp, which meant both ‘White Rose’ and myself, lowered masts due to preconceived threats of the swing bridge being inoperable. As it was, ‘W/R’ and I did proceed unhindered through the bridge first, however ‘Wisp’ proceeded through with even less effort due to the bridge opening for them! Just not fair.....
From Haddiscoe bridge, there was a bustle of mast raising activity on two of the YSC craft, at which point a brief sail to Somerleyton Staithe was had, at this point the conditions being approximately NE force 2 to 3. Denis, Bob, Chris and Margaret decided it would be best if we spent the time prior to opening watching the departure of ‘Mimosa’ downriver, and the arrival of ‘Snipe’, ‘Force Four’, and ‘Puck’. In typical reaction to the gathering dark clouds, and to await the arrival of the oncoming tide, the lunchtime was spent in the Duke’s Head, gradually filling the bar with more and more GWYC, plus the majority of the YSC committee! Julia & Joe Kilner by road, and Terry and Jean with ‘Silver Leaf’ also arrived. After due course (about 5 pints) the tide was deemed suitable and henceforth we set off for Beccles.
The Waveney proved to be quite sultry with the skies overhead showing large amounts of dark cloud, and I can’t say I sailed in company with many yachts until past the Waveney River centre, but I certainly tracked the progress of some by peering over the marshes at (as quoted by Denis) “Wisp complete with big white frightener” I can vouch that their brisk approach as they ate up the lead I had wasn’t appreciated! Thankfully they didn’t catch up with me and ‘Grace’ until I had stopped just shy of North Cove to motor the final reaches to Beccles (and no, it wasn’t cheating if I motored that last bit).
Beccles Staithe filled up with yachts, during the course of the evening, to finally include ‘Melody’, ‘Silver Leaf’, ‘Grace’, ‘White Rose’, ‘Wisp’, ‘Dryad’, ‘Shiwana’, ‘Mimosa’, ‘Puck’, ‘Snipe’, Force Four’, ‘White Violet’, ‘Aelfleda’, ‘Stella Genesta’, ‘Shruff’, 'Modwena', ‘High Seas’, and the motor yacht (sorry Mel, couldn’t resist) ‘Farthing’
That evening, some YSC barbequed with varied success, ‘Melody’ in particular cooking about half a cow in the form of a giant steak. The GWYC had absconded to the Royal Oak P.H. and so far as I can recall, the evening ended for myself quite pleasantly in the cockpit of ‘Melody’ Terry, Jean, Arthur, Harriet and myself holding court.
morning dawned grey and drizzly with all the promise of more rain to come,
and after bartering a tow from “Silver Leaf” I went quite early to the
scene of lots of masts whizzing down, and
|the unexpected mutterings of an inboard engine from‘Stella Genesta’. Some Wyvern yachts were delayed more than others as during the night, the rising tide meant some repairs
by Steve Valentine were executed to ‘Aelfleda’. From the remains of
Aldeby swing bridge, Mr Wells (junior) guest helmed ‘Grace’ and with a
single reef down we tacked down the Waveney into the drizzle which later
turned quite noticeably into rain. Now I have heard at this point, there
was a particular talented manoeuvre by ‘Puck’. As recounted it seems
to be that conventional tacking was considered boring, so without further
a due a minor civil forestry project was undertaken in which the majority
of a riverside tree was removed, unfortunately this resultant bough made
friends with gravity and clouted one of the crew into the river to boot!
Photographic evidence is available I am assured (courtesy of Phil Marshall).
Due to it being a Bank Holiday weekend, the rain now set in with vigour, and getting progressively soggy, ‘Grace’ tacked the last bit of Oulton dyke and into the North Bay, and was towed by Bob Souter into the yacht station where eventually a scene of rafting up was to be seen. Some very sensible people shot off by train at this point, the Farrars and the Wells being noted amongst these sensible folk. The rest of us scuttled up to the Waveney P.H. until we had enough of a ‘beer coat’ to face the now thoroughly disgusting weather to cook, and then step up to the George Borrow Hotel for an evening of GWYC reminiscing. The only two noticeable blots of this day being the bloody awful rain, and the Force 7 from the NE making everything extremely damp, soggy, and uncomfortable. One note of solace on my own part here is that it seemed to make no difference whether cabin or open boat, EVERYONE was soaked! The second somewhat ‘down’ point of the evening was running out of Adnams, but seemingly this wasn’t too bad as the warmth of our surrounding prevented most of us leaving until the last moment.
Monday started very early for myself, as at 3.30am I was dancing about on the foredecks of ‘Shruff’ and ‘Grace’ trying to do clever things with mud weights to stop the outer row colliding with the inner row. Particular highlights very early on were watching ‘Mimosa’ extract themselves from the innermost mooring spot and seeing the grim expression upon the face of the GWYC commodore as he found himself holding the sole mooring rope for five yachts moored abreast.
I had persuaded Mel to tow ‘Grace’ alongside ‘Farthing’, which was extremely kind of her, allowing me to sit in relative comfort up to Reedham, enjoying hot coffee and chocolate biscuits. So leaving the majority of the craft at Oulton, we motored into the steady rain, and after another complete soaking the commemorative GWYC and YSC late May cruise drew to an end.
My only wish is that next time the weather will be somewhat more accommodating. However if certain members of the YSC have their way I’ll be in completely a different craft!