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High Summer Sail On Lustre June-july 2019

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Saturday 29th June

On this holiday me, hubby Graham, eldest son Harry and dog Seren. Almost two years since we sailed Lustre’s sister-ship Lullaby (see holiday tales July 2017). We did miss sailing last year!

We started off around 9am. Had a couple of traffic delays on the way, and also stopped off for coffee at Caxton Gibbet Costas. I had suggested to Graham that we could skip the coffee break and get to Norfolk quicker, so when Harry asked his Dad if we would be stopping off for coffee, he got the response ‘Well I am, but Mum isn’t’. A signal that I’m going to be well and truly teased this week. (More than usual, that is!)

We didn’t get to Ludham until almost mid-day. Made a bee-line for Alfresco Tearooms, where we always get a good meal and it's handy that they allow dogs inside as it was too hot to leave Seren in the car. Just a sandwich lunch today, but up to their usual high standard. After lunch I popped into Throwers for some bread and salad ingredients and into the butchers for some BBQ meats and bacon.

We got to Hunter’s Yard just after 1pm, (a little early). The reason we had booked Lustre this year was in response to Harry’s discovering that she had been fitted with an ‘electric quant’, i.e. an battery powered ‘Torqeedo’ engine. On our previous holidays with Hunter’s Yard boats we’ve had to quant (use a very long pole to push ourselves along with) when the wind has failed us. There's been quite a lot of controversy about fitting the Torqeedo engines to three of the boats. Some people view it as sacrilege and think Percy Hunter would have been turning in his grave. We thought it was a really good aid though. We had heard that some older sailors had regretfully stopped hiring from Hunter's Yard as they found the manual quanting was too difficult. Hopefully, this will mean that more people will hire these wonderful old boats. The Yard Foreman, Ian, showed us how to use the Torqeedo. I asked whether we should buy some cards for topping up the electric charge (I have some that we bought for our last holiday on a Ferry Marina boat but forgot to bring them with us), but Ian reassured us that they haven’t yet had a battery run-out over a week’s hire.


This year we just dumped all out stuff on board without bothering to unpack and got on our way as quickly as possible as we wanted to make sure to get to Potter Heigham for low tide (forecast for 4.50pm). First though, we removed one of the mattresses from forward cabin and put Seren's doggy bed in its place.

Whilst Harry and Graham were taking off the awning and readying the boat for setting-off I spotted a small white bird with black markings (possibly a Little Tern?) suddenly drop down into the water of the dyke and fly off with a fish in its beak.


The electric quant came into use immediately to get to the area at the end of Hunter’s Yard to set sail,


and even after that we used it a little to help us down Womack Dyke, given that a SW wind was blowing down the dyke.  

We mostly sailed up to and through Potter Heigham, though we did use the engine once or twice when bungalows/trees ‘stole’ our wind. Seren loves it when she's allowed on deck.


Mast down, ready for the bridge passage.


It was getting on for 4pm by now, and since we had the electric quant, we thought we would go through the bridge without waiting for the turn of the tide. First though, Graham wanted to pop to Latham’s to get a blanket as he’d forgotten to pack the fleece blankets that we usually use to cover furnishings.

It wasn’t long before we got on our way again. Harry took us though the bridges on the engine. A lot easier (and quicker) than quanting though manually!

Sails back up, we continued with a fair wind up the Thurne and through Candle Dyke.


We had thought we’d moor at the Deep-Go-Dyke BA moorings, but they and the Whiteslee mooring were full. We managed to find a space on the Deep Dyke moorings though, near the entrance to Hickling Broad.


I put some new potatoes on the boil and Graham fired up the BBQ. We had Ludham butcher’s minted lamb chops and their soy, garlic and ginger chicken skewers with the potatoes and salad for our dinner. Yum! The chicken was especially tasty. We sat with a beer or two enjoying the late evening sunshine until sundown. A beautiful warm and still evening. Can’t believe how lucky we are…the weather has turned so favourably for us, after a fairly rainy June.


A few mozzies were starting to come out, so we put the awning up and lit the paraffin lamps as they tend to deter the mozzies. A few other mod-cons have been fitted to the boat since we last sailed with Hunter’s. Some battery lights, fitted to ceiling magnets, fire-alarm and CO alarm. Harry managed to set off the fire alarm by letting his paraffin lamp smoke.

We settled down for the night around 10pm, just as the light was failing. Harry and Seren (both in the forward cabin) took a while to settle as there were several flies worrying them. A lot of banging went on for a while as Harry swatted the flies.



Seren settled for the night. 

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1 hour ago, YnysMon said:

This year we just dumped all out stuff on board without bothering to unpack and got on our way as quickly as possible

So you're telling me there is an alternative? :default_ohmy:

  • Haha 3

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Love your photos Helen. Really looking forward to reading this tale. I was thinking of you through the week as you definitely seemed to have found summer. 

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Thanks Jean. Yes, the weather was pretty much perfect. Not even a drop of rain! We certainly needed the sunscreen!

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Sunday 30th June

As usual on Broads holidays I woke really early at 5am, not long after dawn. Seren had been whining quietly since it started to get light, but as she didn’t sound distressed, I ignored her (getting her in training for sleeping later as the week progresses). Graham was sleeping soundly. There was quite a bit of ‘bow-slap’ as an early Westerly breeze had sprung up as forecast.

Graham woke around 7am, but no sign of Harry getting up. It was another beautiful morning with a cloudless sky. We eventually woke Harry up after 8am with a cup of tea.

We put two reefs in this morning, as the breeze seemed quite strong - we could see that the water at the end of Hickling Broad was pretty choppy.  We started off by sailing across Hickling Broad until we were nearing the Sailing Club, then we turned back, sailed past the Deep Dyke moorings and made our way through Meadow Dyke, the wind being just right to take us though on sail. There was a fair wind on Horsey Mere, but not as strong as we had expected. We took out sails down on the far side of the Mere, using the electric quant to keep our bow to the wind and then motored into the Dyke, arriving late morning.

Graham went off down the end of the dyke to check out where to pay for the mooring (£5 for an overnight mooring). However, it turns out that the guy that runs the Ross’ Wildlife Tours now takes the mooring fees. I asked him if he had space for two for an afternoon wildlife tour and booked for the 3.15pm tour, as I had won a free ticket for two for the tour from the Friends of Hunter’s Yard photo competition a couple of years ago (3rd prize).

First though we had brunch (fried new potatoes, Ludham butcher’s smoked bacon and beans). We whiled away the afternoon sitting in the very warm sunshine until it was time for the Wildlife Trip. Graham made sure that Seren wasn’t getting too hot, he had brought a cloth and neck cloth with him which he dampened to help cool her down.



Graham stayed with Seren whilst Harry and I took the trip. This took us across Horsey Mere, the guide (Ross?) explaining some of the history and techniques of thatching (use of sedge for the ridge of the roof and reeds on the main parts of the roof). We went down Meadow Dyke, spotting Norfolk Hawker Dragonflies and another brown Dragonfly whose name I forget.


We also saw (briefly) a Swallowtail Butterfly zooming across the dyke on the strong breeze. Then into Heigham Sound to see a pair of Swans with cygnets, Avocets flying by, a Marsh Harrier and some Common Terns.


On the return cruise back through Meadow Dyke the guide turned off the engine and drew our attention to the song of a Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler.

We relaxed a bit more after our tour, before walking across the fields to the Nelson Head for an early dinner. As it was such a beautiful warm evening we sat outside to eat. Seren found a shady spot!



Crab salad for me off their specials board. It was okay but I would have preferred to have had it with potato salad or coleslaw rather than hot new potatoes and side salad. It was a very small crab, the smallest I’ve seen, though plenty enough for my appetite. Hope the size is not due to overfishing!

Annoyed on our return to the boat to find that my Kindle wouldn’t work. Ended up borrowing ‘Persuasion’ from Harry, who had brought three ‘real’ books with him. A re-read for me, but it is one of my favourite Jane Austin novels.


Watched the sun setting over Horsey Mere, then turned in for the night.


Nice to be able to use real loos! We were a bit bothered by flies again this evening, though not as badly as last night. No mozzies though, thankfully.

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There will be a delay before I post the next instalment. We're planning to go to the RHS Gardens at Hyde Hall tomorrow. I've been off work this week as well as last and have been spending most of the last few days on our new allotment (new to us that is), which is why I didn't get around to posting until today.

Only half of the plot had been cultivated in recent years, the other half was overshadowed by trees that were growing on what was originally plot 1 (we're plot 2) and under the mulch beneath the trees we found about three layers of carpet (grrr!). Luckily for us a couple of guys on neighbouring plots helped us out by cutting back the trees (having checked first with the Parish Council). One of them even took the carpets to the dump for us. Aren't people kind! :default_biggrin:


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Monday 1st July

Woke to a cloudless blue sky again and a strong breeze. We turned the boat on the ropes so that the awning opening would be sheltered from the wind, and to bring our bow around to face the exit of the dyke. By 9am though there was a fair amount of cloud, though with sunny spells. We didn’t rush to get away this morning as I made us a breakfast of fried new potatoes, spam and scrambled egg. By the time we’d eaten that lot it was after 10.

We were a bit lazy this morning. We knew that we’d have the wind against us down Meadow Dyke, so rather than sail across the Mere we just motored across and then down the dyke.


Once in Heigham Sound I held the boat head to wind whilst Graham and Harry got the sails up. We had a lovely sail through Candle Dyke and then all the way up to West Somerton, passing a weed cutting machine near Martham Broad. There seems to be a weed cutter permanently working up there in July/August.

On the moorings at West Somerton.


When we got to West Somerton, we thought the mooring there was pretty exposed to the strong wind and would be even worse overnight as the wind was forecast to swing to the north. We decided to leave the mooring and head back down river to Womack. This was probably a bad idea, as we realised that we could have done with that northerly wind for the section past Martham Broad. We couldn’t use the electric quant on that section as it was far too weedy (would have fouled the prop),


and the wind was too strong to manually quant, so we were reduced to tacking against the strong westerly wind. We got on okay initially until we failed to turn on a section passing the Broad and ended up stuck in mud just outside the marked channel. Whoops!

Attempts to push ourselves off with the quant failed miserably and we ended up flagging down the two guys in the weed-cutting machine who towed us off the mud and downriver as far as a wild mooring on the bend (marked Dungeon Corner on the map). We rond-anchored there for a while for a coffee break, next to a couple who kindly lent us their boat hook to try to clear the weed that we had collected underneath the boat.


It was well after 2pm by the time we got going again. We were a bit tired by now, so just motored down the Thurne rather than raising our sails. We had to put the motor into reverse a few times to clear the remainder of the weed.

We all agreed, that's the last time we'll visit West Somerton. It's just not worth the hassle!


At Potter, Graham and I popped into Latham’s for a few essentials (citronella candles, fly-swat, doggy treats, duck and swan food).

Whilst Harry and Graham got our mast down, I walked Seren to the de-masting area south of the bridge and tried videoing their passage through the bridge.


As Harry came in to moor a large Herbie Woods boat unexpectedly came in to moor from the other direction, with imminent danger of collision (we had thought he was aiming for the boatyard entrance). Harry threw Lustre into reverse and I hastily threw the bow rope around a post. Phew – disaster averted!

When I told them that the area was reserved for de-masting, one of their crew explained that their helmsman was worried about negotiating the boatyard entry. It was only when I pointed out that another yacht was approaching and needed to de-mast that they moved to a space a bit further on.

After we’d got our mast back up, we motored through Potter and back to Hunter’s Yard, back to our home berth.

Even more lazily, we drove (!) up to the King’s Arms for dinner. Graham had scampi and salad of their light-bites menu (still a large portion of scampi though). Harry and I had fish dishes off their specials board. He had plaice stuffed with prawns with a spring onion and cream sauce, crushed new potatoes and veggies whilst I had herb crusted sea bream fillets with creamy leek and bacon sauce and rosti. Although I try to avoid dairy most of the year, I usually find that I can get away with eating dairy products in July, August and September, so I’m making the most of it! My dish was very tasty, but I always find the helpings in the King’s Arms was too big. Harry and I swopped dishes half way though, as we’d both had difficulty deciding which dish to have.

We lit a citronella candle in the well area of the boat this evening to deter flies and mozzies. Seemed to work – we weren’t bothered by flies in the night.

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