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Drascombe Rally 2016


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Ibiza or a dinghy cruise on the Broads? No contest, I loaded the tent and sleeping bags aboard the good ship, Jenny Morgan, a Drascombe Longboat, an open sailing dinghy. The event being the annual Drascombe Association Broads Rally, this year to Hickling Broad where we moored at one of my favourite watering holes, the ever welcoming Pleasure Boat Inn.


For myself the event started as my wife, Lyn, and I set off from Oulton Broad on a twenty five mile voyage across the boarder and into the hinterlands of Norfolk. In order to make Gt. Yarmouth and gain a favourable tide going through that fine town I allowed for a three and a half journey and an early start. The wind started near to non existent and largely foul so we elected to set off under power and subsequently completing the journey thus, gorgeous weather but an unhelpful wind. We arrived at Gt Yarmouth Yacht Station to find the tide still ebbing out of the River Bure. The flow was near spent so rather than moor up at the yacht station we motored on, the g.p.s. telling us that we were loosing about a mile an hour of speed due to the adverse tide, obviously this would lessen as we went further up river.


We arrived at another much favoured mooring, the pub and restaurant just before Acle Bridge. As ever the welcome was warm, the service professional and efficient, the food better than most Broads outlets. For me it was game pie, excellent although I felt that the gravey, whilst tasting good, needed a touch of thickening. Lyn thoroughly enjoyed her steak & kidney pie, we were both satiated and well pleased.


By now the tide had turned and we continued our journey, still under power. My intention was to make Potter Heigham, moor up at the twenty four hour mooring above that wonderfully selective, medieval road bridge, to hoist both masts and all three sails before sailing up onto Hickling Broad. The wind was still on our nose, the mooring was full of boats so, nothing to be gained by stopping, we continued on up to Hickling Broad, mooring up outside the Pleasure Boat Inn.


A warming cup of coffee at the pub was first priority, the second being to rig our boat prior to setting up our tent on a camping deck laying across the centre-plate box. We returned later to the pub for an excellent supper, several bevvies and a chance to renew friendships with other drascombe owners. The end of a good trip.


The following day, Saturday, following a huge breakfast in the pub, an agenda was decided before setting off for Horsey Mere. The wind was blowing hard across Hicking Broad, close hauled sailing under main alone was both exciting and wet as several times Lyn and I were well doused in spray. Eventually we made our way to the dyke that leads up to Horsey, relief, the wind would now be behind us and several gybes were ahead!



Making Horsey in time for an ice cream lunch at the welcoming National Trust kiosk by the wind-mill we sat down in good company, both old and new as we met fellow drascombers for whom this was a first Broads rally. Many of us were surprised at being charged four pounds, it was only two pounds last time, for about an hours mooring at Horsey. However it is a delightful location, the toilets and showers being a welcome facility for those of us camping aboard, perhaps that was four pounds well spent.


The return journey along that windy dyke would be a challenge against the wind so we all motored down to Heigham Sound where we turned before the wind, this time most of us took the leisurely option and set only jib and mizzen, sailing briskly across Hickling and back to the Pleasure Boat. The evening revolving around a social get together and yet another excellent meal.


That night was windy and several times both Lyn and I were were woken by squalls rattling our rigging and shaking our tent. Nevertheless we survived, finally waking up to a red sky, a sailor's warning and one that was to prove quite true. Ourselves and another Drascombe, Damson, having decided to motor back to Oulton Broad against an increasing wind that was already whipping up the surface of Hickling Broad. Masts down and sails stowed, there are several bridges that we had to go under, we set off planning to arrive at Gt Yarmouth Yacht Station as the tide turned, the tide under us down the River Bure and also as we journeyed across Breydon Water and up the River Waveney to Oulton Broad. Arriving just as the tide turned we turned onto Breydon Water.


That red sky in the morning warning coming true as a gale swept along Breydon, wind against both tide and us, the surface a maelstrom of spray and breaking waves! We plodded on, faces glowing with the onslaught of salt water spray and wind, an exciting trip! Phew, we arrived safely at Burgh Castle, just as a Broads sailing cruiser turned onto Breydon, surely not expecting what was to come. I just hope that he didn't have to gybe!


The journey continued, still against the wind, without incident and down onto Oulton Broad, the end of yet another wonderful Drascombe Rally. My thanks to the organisers and my fellow drascombe owners who made the sometimes quite long journey to the Broads, trailing their wonderful boats.

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1 hour ago, SwanR said:

Really enjoyed reading about your trip. Sounds like those were long hours of sailing to get to and from Oulton Broad.

Thank you, Jean. I normally, if sailing, take two days for the journey, stopping off for the night at Berney. In this instance the wind was either non existent or blowing a hoolie plus it was right on the nose, hard work for a long trip so I decided to motor. One of the joys of the Drascombe is that it sails as well as it motors, a true motor sailer. If I get the tide right at Yarmouth then it's about five and a half hours comfortable journey time. I have a 4.5 hp four stroke outboard, less than a litre of fuel for an hour's cruising.  

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