Oh the bliss. A night in the yard was not on the original plan – but it did mean that we could have a shower before breakfasting and setting off. We were on Hustler 4 again, a result of a swop required last year because of the odd dates of our visit, and the booking not having been swopped back to Hustler 2. The upside of this was that H4 came with a brand new suit of Jeckells sails, and very smart they looked too.
When lighting the cooker for tea we found that only one of the two burners was working. However, turning off the gas and allowing the fumes to clear followed by a good blow down the feed to the dodgy burner seemed to free it up and breakfast was back on again.
During the rigging process part of the jib’s shackle slipped overboard and disappeared into the murky dyke water with a gentle ‘plop’. The offices and workshop are closed on Sunday so, after a quick discussion, we decided to borrow the shackle from an adjacent boat and leave a note for the yard so it could be replaced. It’s very unlikely that anyone would be picking up a boat on Sunday because the place was closed.
So, suitably fed and rigged we quanted to the head of the silent dyke mooring on the north point, the wind direction just allowing this. We saw the others sailing past along the main river as we moved to our place. Casting off and backing the jib set us off down Womack Dyke to the Thurne with a fair breeze no tacks were needed in this narrow waterway.
As forecast the wind blew from astern making the trip to Potter bridge smooth and trouble free. The mast was lowered and our transit of the two bridges was smooth, we moored on the west bank above the new bridge and walked down to Lathams to meet the others. It’s had a bit of a facelift and a re-organisation with a small expansion of the food section and other bits moved around.
Over coffee we agreed to try and meet up so that we could try and land somewhere near Martham Ferry and then take a walk into Martham Village for lunch. The problem is that there are no decent moorings nearby as the good river frontage opposite Candle Dyke belongs to the boatyard and the rest is soft bank and fishing platforms where it is not built up. Martham Ferry is not a real ferry but a floating bridge. It used to be a simple affair with a rotating floating pontoon bridging the gap between the two sides of the bank. It is hinged on the Martham side and was pulled across by a rope when needed by someone on the north bank. It has been completely refurbished and is now a steel structure and the rope seems to have disappeared. It looks as if it is electrically driven.
The gap through which you must sail is narrow and difficult when on a beat as the surrounding buildings can make the wind fickle. However, on today’s approach we were on the run following Wood Sorrell so it was not a problem. Just past the gap, on the left bank where we wanted to moor, were several fishing platforms and a grassy bank. The fishing platforms were empty and not in use. Wood Sorrel sailed past for a recce and then turned and made a landing on the first platform. We were invited to come alongside and the two boats moored together. Then, once they were secure together, we slid them backwards a small distance so they were secured to the bank with rond anchors between two of the fishing platforms leaving access clear for anyone who may need them.
Then we walked through the car park and along the track to Martham. The sun was coming through and the sunshine caught the church and made it a delightful colour. On reaching the main road we turned right past an interesting antiques shop featuring a wind up 78 rpm gramophone and made for the Kings Arms just next door. We were treated to an excellent Sunday roast washed down with great Adnams beers, Bitter, Broadside and a guest beer. Also tried new Adnams Ghost Ship, flowery but good drinking.
Full of food and drink we returned to the boats in sunshine but as dark clouds were gathering. We set off back to Candle Dyke with all our wet gear on – just as well as we were treated to rain, thunder and hail – all of which killed the wind for a while. Then the wind picked up again as we crossed White Slea and swung through 180 degrees to blow us gently home across Hickling Broad allowing us to sail gently into the staithe at the Pleasure Boat under jib. When we moored we saw Lucent and Buff tip moored in front of us.
After our big lunch we had a light snack on board before spending the rest of the evening in the Pleasure Boat. On our way from boat to pub we noticed a camper van in the car park. An elderly couple emerged as we were looking round the boats in the dyke and we heard the man, as he was locking up, call over to the lady. We couldn’t hear his words, but her reply was to be heard clearly “I’m not stupid, I can see it’s raining”. Spoken with feeling – someone is in for a good evening! At the end of the bar a drummer and four guitarists were standing where there was an ‘Open Mike’ going on. Not the most musical of entertainment; will probably improve with practice. There was a real fire in the main bar keeping the spring chill at bay. Wherry, Nelsons Revenge plus guest ales were available.
In the morning we had a look around and noted that the pub garden has had a major overhaul and looks delightful. Also the key headings, which had been renewed in recent years, were in fine fettle.