Broads 1997

Lustre - Broads 1997

  • Captain and Chief Cook - Mike Rowlands
  • Chief Engineer - Dave Rowlands
  • First Mate - Chris Rowlands
  • Cabin Boy - Andrew Roberts

Friday 29/8

Buying Provisions.

Despite "Broads 97" starting tomorrow most of the crew are working at some time today, except the skipper (he took the day off to prepare supplies). The Chief Engineer was working 9-5 in the classic office job. The first mate was working 12 hours form 11-11 in the local leisure centre. The Cabin Boy was working the early evening - evening - morning shift at Sainsburys, managing to do 8.5 hours. It was obvious from this that the crew were conserving energy for the long hours travelling in the coming week.

At 10 o'clock though, the cabin boy and the skipper took to the road armed with a Sainsburys Staff Discount Card and a sizeable shopping list. For the next two hours between chatting about various aspects of the holiday, the provisions were collected and paid for.

Once back at home the Cabin Boy decided that it was about time he packed, and after a swift haircut he sorted out the necessary items of clothing and VERY necessary items of audio equipment. Once the items were stowed, the cabin boy commenced 8.5 hours of sitting at a checkout, doing a totally pointless night shift. Returning home at 2.15am he found an army of friends waiting for him and ended up chatting until nearly 4am whilst doing the washing up and tidying the "parentless" house.

After only 3 hours sleep he then awaited the arrival of the rest of the crew on the Saturday morning.

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Saturday 30/8

The Stracey Arms.

The rest of the crew arrive to collect the Cabin Boy a few minutes late, and there was a small delay, whilst valuable items of audio were checked, double checked and packed. By about 9.30 the BX was on its way to Norfolk.

The Chief Engineer drove us in an advanced fashion for about half of the Journey. The first mate then took over for the final leg. The First Mate didn't seem to get involved in as many near death experiences (involving Astra Countrysides) as his elder sibling - especially on roundabouts. With the exception of the incident where all the cars occupants were anxious to wind down their windows as speedily as possible as a TVR rumbled past, the rest of the journey was incident free.

We arrived at the boat yard having made good time along quite a few congested roads. It was about 1.45pm when we were lunching on sandwiches and munching on chips admiring our craft for the week. Several other of the Ludham crews rolled up at around 2 o'clock. With the minumum of fuss, elderly sea salts guided their vessel out of the yard silently and smoothly. We then watched 3 cocky Oakley-ed lads and a lass drift out of the yard, more by luck than judgement. They displayed a blatant disregard for the correct terminology as one could be heard saying: "the guy driving told the others to get the back rope thing". No mention of the words "helmsman" or "stern warp". Dear oh dear!

Meanwhile on board Lustre we produced a perfect turn and executed a brilliant exit from our mooring, only after the "Pro's" from the yard had discouraged the skipper from his plans of reaching Yarmouth by nightfall.

Despite this we made brilliant progress, and had possibly the best sail of our broads lives though Acle putting the mast up on the move, and getting to the Stracey Arms in under 2 hours. Having overtaken many motorboats already we continued to cane our way through the field, and moored up at the Stracey Arms at around 6 o'clock. Calculations were then made, and hypotheses formed as to whether we could make it to Gt Yarmouth or not. In the end we decided to play it by ear. We had a meal at the Pub, keeping the skippers Curry till tomorrow. After much unsuccessful talent spotting the crew ordered their usual Mixed Grill, regretting eating the liver, consuming a few pints of beer, playing a few games of pool, and listening to the latest sample of Norfolk Singing Talent: A bloke doing Kareoke to 50's hits.

Returning to the boat for an early night the crew retired to bed after a small discussion hoping for as much brilliant wind tomorrow as experience today.

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Sunday 31/8

Salhouse Broad

Having retired to the boat reasonably early the night before, the crew had a fair amount of energy at 8.45 when they were woken with a piping hot cup of tea.

When they finally emerged at 9.30, the crew started, and drained their now ice cold cup of tea! Having reached the conclusion the night before that Gt Yarmouth was impossible unless freak tides and outrageous wind-shifts occurred, in the end it was decided that we would head back up the river, making as much progress towards Wroxham as possible. In the end, the wind proved sufficient to take us swiftly to Salhouse Broad by lunch.

In typical style with a Roberts/Rowlands crew, the cruise was as incident packed as any short cruise could get. We made excellent progress along the Bure, catching and in fact passing most motor and motor+sail boats.

We were making such good progress we executed (not for the first time) the shooting of a major bridge. As always the manoeuvre started about 1/2 a mile too soon, as all crew members were worried by the speed we were travelling at. Having discussed in amazing detail what each crew member would be doing throughout, and working how long we would have to lower mainsail, jib, and mast to leave enough power to pass through. As always 5 minutes was added as a safety margin, and we approached the bridge at Acle under jib alone. Luckily the current provided us with enough power to slide through.

On the other side, with motorboats overtaking us, we raised mast, jib and mainsail, and now with full power on tap, we soon steamed on past all the motorboats that had made us look slow at the bridge.

Again we made excellent progress turning bends but remaining on a course with the wind coming from a "nice" direction. However, closing up on a wherry, we soon realised the approaching bend would mean we would be tacking when trying to pass the huge traditional broads boat.

The least experienced member of the crew was helming, and it showed, as the cabin boy produced a few inefficient tacks until his technique was corrected.

The whery was also making slow progress, and it was a few minutes before we slid past. Towards the end of that tack, the wind shifted again, and the first mate instructed the cabin to make the most of it by extending the tack into a small bay. The main problem was, that having just made a neat overtake, the occupants of the wherry were all looking on with admiration as we accelerated away. However, they were also still watching when crashed into the trees, after the cabin boy totally misjudged the tack. Luckily, the first mate, anxious to correct his previous error, backed the Jib, and we were back on the move, skimming accross the front of the Wherry. Mainly due to a change of helmsman.

For the rest of the journey to Salhouse Broad, it was tacking practice with no wind. It was a complete contrast to the weather conditions earlier that allowed us to overtake motorboats. Infact it was just memories of the skillfull shooting of Acle Bridge that kept us going, going about, lowered sail, gliding back on course under Jib alone. We got to Salhouse for lunch and decided to have an easy afternoon staying hte night in the same position.

After lunch the cabin boy went for a row, investigating any talent moored up on the broad. Whilst rowing across the broad one of the oars slipped out of the dodgy rowlock and the cabin boy ended up flat on his back in the bottom of the boat. Sods law dictated that the whole incident occured in full visibility of the beach, where everyone was watching. He recovered well, speedily wringing out his t-shirt, replacing the oars and rowing off - taking care not to repeat the incident.

A few minutes after that, Chris, who was listening to his walkman remarked that Radio 1, who normally played the charts at around 6 o'clock, were playing very sombre music. Although we didn't know it then, it was all to do with the death of Princess Di, who apparently was involved in a car crash earlier in the day.

Mikes frozen curry was heated for tea, and eating it we discovered that the freezing process had turned it into the hottest curry known to man. Despite this, it was really nice, and all the crew finished their portions in double quick time.

That evening it was decided that a photoshoot would be set up and we swabbed the decks and coiled all chord in preparation. Chirs stowed the quant pole (stuck to the bottom) and then pushed the boat away from it. This gave us all a laugh and filled in time waiting for Dave to frame up an arty sunset shot of the boat.

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Quotes of the holiday

  • Mike: "Where's the yellow box, overboard?"
  • Mike: "Hold on. I've just been assaulted by the tiller."
  • Chris: "Ahhh.. The only time Top Gear Magazine takes a back seat - Dad's Log."
  • Dave: "Roger that."
  • Chris: "I can't be arsed to go rowing - i'll do some crunches instead."
  • Chris: "Maybe sometime today." (Dave had asked "Are you getting up?")
  • Andrew: "Chris isn't quanting because his sports bra got wet yesterday."
  • Dave: "We were heeling like a meister."
  • Dave (of chris): "We've got the muscle merchant on the quant."