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Lads Week 2019


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Well friday the 11th arrived and 8 am i set off for Norfolk, arriving early enough to go do some shopping at Lathams (where i bought a raincoat) I had promised to assist taking Broad Ambition round from the wetshed to Herbert Woods Yard.. while awaiting Simon and Robin to return from shopping I was sitting on the Bow of Broad Ambition watching the world go by, when this little chap helpfully came and sat on the pulpit rail of the boat opposite, even staying while I went to get the camera. I have had to lighten the image as i was shooting towards the doors and its not that bright in the wet shed.

I looked away for a fraction of a second and he was gone, I then spent 5 minutes seeing if I could spot him outside, before turning to see him fly off from the pulpit rail of the boat behind me where he had been studying me from a range of 6 foot.

Robin and Simon soon turned up and we were off down river, we had got no further than the turning to sutton when a gust of wind came in therough the open cockpit side and flipped the canopy clean off, all damage control parties to action stations (myself and simon) and the canopy was folded back down, then reinstalled to its correct location, the only damage was 1 press stud screw had pulled out of the windscreen.

we then carried on through to potter heigham, by now it was raining off and on (a theme to be continued through the week). eventually we were there and by now it was really raining. My coat was safely packed in the car - this was parked in the car park, round the other side of the boatyard, slightly damper now i moved the car to the back of the boat to unload, put my coat on, walked the 6 paces to the boat and was dripping wet, the rain was torrential now. 

10 minutes later it eased off, and with the car still fully loaded it was decided that it was time to head for the falgate for a couple of quick pints, it was here i tried to order a half of cider - only to find the pub didnt half half pint glasses, so a pint it was then.

After a quick couple of pints it was back to the boat, and time to offload the car (now the rain had stopped) and shortly thereafter to bed.


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The raincoat I bought at Lathams had been a regatta one, I did have a big thick heavy raincoat, which is what I wore between the car and the boat, but that was now very wet so was left in the car, then I used the other for the rest of the week.

one other little incident on BA was the fender overboard incident, as we approached Potter Heigham the order was given to deploy fenders, so I walked down the deck kicking them into the water, However the clip on one fender somehow came undone so it ended up bobbing behind us, a quick fender overboard drill was executed and it was retrieved in short order in one attempt

I will apologise in advance as I will be busy tomorrow so day 2 may well be delayed, plus somehow I dont seem to have many pictures of that day

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Saturday 12th.

With the tides not aat their most convenient the crossing of breydon was going to be tricky today, but first we had all those things neccesary to do for a voyage, stores and provisions, so the victuallers were sent off to tescos at Stalham, other pre bought stores were distributed between boats (Charlie brings down cake for each boat and another lad brings square sausage and black pudding for breakfasts. you will see the line of Jewels and BA here ready to set off.

We managed to get everything together and departed for acle bridge inn about 11.00 where a quick pint was consumed, we needed to be off at 13.00 to arrive at reedham before dark.

It was at acle we had our first dog overboard, as soon as we moored she ran the full length of the cabin and launched herself over the stern, unfortunately as we were now moored side on, someone had stolen the ground and replaced it with water, sploosh.

at 13.00 we left for Breydon, the tide was with us so we struggled to keep the speed below 6mph at 1200 revs, the trip was uneventful and we had clearance at the Great Yarmouth bridges, but the speed situation was soon to change, up to full throttle as we rounded the yellow post, and we were now just achieving 3.4mph (we used a gps speed app split screen with os mapping on my tablet through the week to keep our speeds below the limits). ebb was slacking so by the time we had crossed Breydon we were up to 4.5mph.

we continued our plod up to reedham, where there were just 3 spaces for 4 boats, no problem as we came alongside one of the other jewels and moored up 2 abreast.

one of the jewels was only just on the end of the quay heading next to the slipway, and we were concerned about the gap at the stern, in case the dog on board (Barney) should slip while getting on and off, we decided we could pull the boat forward by about 3 foot to alleviate this, - plan of action in mind we were half way to the bow to tighten up the ropes when from the boat we heard scrabble scrabble sploosh, yes barney had done just what we had feared, all hands to Man overboard stations, and the oiled team set to work, the man onboard was just too late as the tide had already swept barney out of reach, ashore we rushed to the head of the slipway and were calling to Barney, fortunately he heard and headed for us and exited up the slipway, plan b would have been to use the dinghy on jewel 1 to chase and retrieve him. (it was upon reviewing this option we noticed that the sailing dinghy had no oars provided, and the rowing dinghy towed by BA was at the other end of reedham quay, we rectified this later and herbert woods brought us a set of oars out. After that it was time for tea, on our boat Charlie was chef of the day and had prepared a nice rabbit casserole, which was lovely, then it was off to the ship, where we played darts and listened to the singer.

We had been warned that the quay heading might overtop at high tide by the ranger, but it was still just short when the lads returned from the pub, we did notice some overtopping at the upstream end the next day when we departed.


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sunday 13th

Not too early a start today, 10 am, our first destination was Rockland Broad, timed to arrive about opening time, it was a dull grey sort of a morning, no canopy down today as showers were plentiful, tide flowing in strongly, even the ducks were producing bow waves big enough to give a ranger apoplexy. shoreside facilities were utilised extensively (we managed the whole week without a pumpout). there are deer in the fields opposite the moorings, but none close enough to photograph. en route to rockland we encountered a couple of yachts, but these were succesfully negotiated, though i am not too sure what the skipper thought as our perfect line ahead formation split into 2 halves with two boats hugging the right bank and two heading over to the left, this manouver leaving everyone perfectly placed to pass behind him as he tacked through.

After a quick lunchtime pint (or two) at  the new inn it was up river to surlingham ferry inn, here we managed to get our first glimpse of sunshine, though there were some spectacular cloud formations as the sun set. the low sunlight on the trees against the dark clouds made a spectacular sight. a few drinks in the pub and out to a clear sky, so some images of the moon were obtained.



















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yes, no problems, though it may have been because the workmen were there because the sewers had overspilled and they were clearing up, several people turned up and left quite quickly, we got all 4 boats in at the side. our fishermen did catch a few fish, but not a huge amount.

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Monday 14th,

a l ate 11 am departure was planned, i have a feeling we left earlier than planned, destination for the day was Norwich, where we would be overnighting, during the afternoon we went about topping up the stores and relaxing in various ways. after tea we split up, some heading for a pub crawl around Norwich, others headed for the cinema, i was one of the latter, i went to watch Ad Astra, somehow though we pressed the right buttons, the machine gave us tickets for metallica, we soon realised the error and got seated in the correct screen before the picture started, so we saw all the adverts twice through, 

The lads who went for the pub crawl finally returned after 3am, rather silly of them as we had a 7.30 start next day




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Tuesday 15th,

Well 7.30 arrived, and with just a few minutes to spare the crew of Broad Ambition were finally roused, we had a fairly uneventful trip down to Reedham apart from one minor incident.

It was spotted that our dinghy was shipping water through the centreboard case, as she was sitting in the prop wash, this was spotted when the rear thwart was under water, so we slowed down and Griff decided she wouldnt stay afloat if she wasnt bailed, the crew pulled the dinghy to the stern and Charlie transferred into it and started bailing her out, we had a moment of worry from the crew as Ranworth Breeze came past and we worried about the wash, but Charlie wasnt worried. After bailing out, we lengthened one leg of the yolk ropes and shortened the other so we were towing off centre with the dinghy out of the prop flume, and this sorted the problem as we didnt ship any more water for the rest of the holiday.

Arriving at Reedham ferry we were the last to moor up, only to be informed by the crew of the chain ferry that the pub was shut and not opening that day, That being the case we cast off again and proceeded down to Reedham where we had a couple of pints in the Nelson.

After a few hours it was time to Cross breydon, going down on the ebb to arrive at low tide, this would mean battling the ebb up the bure to the Yacht Station, but we had to arrive before sunset.

It was during the crossing that Charlie - our skipper started Yawning, we persuaded him to take a nap and we would handle the crossing of breydon. with the ebb we managed to make 10.3 mph at  one point, we were still nearly .6mph slower than the other boats, and round the yellow post it was a case of slowing down to allow all the boats in front to get moored up. I  was on the helm this leg, as i was the next most experienced helm on board.

we approached the mooring slowly at about 1200 rpm, and a speed over the ground of about 1mph, the crew all performed brilliantly and we came up to the yacht station, with just a slight bump (to wake the skipper up to see how well the crew managed without him).

Tuesday evening and a few of us went into great yarmouth for a few beers and to sample the local night life.






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We 'Discovered' a pub we had not frequented before either.  TBH that's not difficult in GYA as this is the first time we have overnighted there for as long as I can remember on the annual Lads Week.  The beer was kept very well. 'Fallen Angles' was the venue,.  I've been in worse establishments, the staff were very attentive.  Sadly, no photo's


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Wednesday 16th

it was another early start to take advantage of the flood up to the lion at thurne for a quick couple of pints, before moving on to Ranworth, here we had fun fitting 4 boats in, but as people left we slotted them in, just one boat complaining we had jumped the queue, but our last boat had been sitting at her mud weight waiting when she arrived, so we were there first. 

Dogs were allowed off the boats and it was a general melee of ball throwing, and later a trip to the maltsters, during the evening i took an opportunity to get some photos of the sky and stars






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Thursday 17th

in the morning Broad Ambition took advantage of an early leaver to come round from the other section o staithe and water up, we had a 9am start, and headed up river to Wroxham, during the trip up we took an opportunity with all the experienced helms to do a close formation 3 abreast so that we could get some good pictures, this was the first day we managed to cruise with the canopy down, so we were making the best of it, Charlie had the tricky position in the centre and we made sure we left a good clearance for other river traffic coming the other way.

When we arrived at Wroxham, Broad Ambition moored up outside the hotel, and we took the 3 jewels into Faircraft loiynes yard to moor up. Shopping was done and a quick visit was made to the kings arms for the obligatory couple of pints, 2 pm and it was time to head down river to ludham bridge, today was my day to cook, and my menu was fresh sausages from the butchers, accompanied by mash, followed by a nice rice pudding.

After tea it was time to visit the dog inn, and consume some more beer.IMG_1954.JPG








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Friday 18th

Our last full day, not too early a start, but we were headed just around the corner, to Womack Water, here we moored up and watered up, the water point at ludham had been out of order, and the hose here is very slow, it took 2 hours to water up all 4 boats.

Some of the lads headed to the pub, and others decided to fish, we heard tell that there was good pike fishing here, which turned out to be the case, 2 lads took the dinghy and managed a total of 3 pike spinning, Charlie was fishing for perch with worm and float and managed to get himself a small jack pike.

mid afternoon and it was time to head to acle bridge inn where we had booked a room for our themed meal out, this years theme was crusaders. while there we experienced a good rainbow, getting ready for returning the boats the next morning we moved the dinghy from Broad Ambition to one of the other boats, as they had an early start to return to Stalham next day.







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Saturday 19th

just the short trip from Acle to Potter Heigham today, we headed upstream, arriving at the yard at 9 am, by 9.30 am we had unloaded and were getting into our cars to head for home, although the week had been fairly wet, it was enjoyed by all.

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