Ivory Gull 2010
River Cruiser: Ivory Gull (2010)
Posted by David Stamford, 21stJune, 2010
Ivory Gull’s first Three Rivers Race
Hole in the head and in the hull
Back in Brid after our first ever Three Rivers Race. The crew has already been to have his head examined. We all are wondering if we should have joined him. Luckily the hole he made in his skull caused by an involuntary gybe earlier in the season is healing up and the stainless steel tingle may not be needed. However we may need to persuade the medic to come and perform a similar bit of surgery on Ivory Gull.
Our trip to Horning on Friday started well enough even though the crew were still in Flamborough. Denis and I motored from Wayford to Barton where we put the sails up in order to check that our secret weapon, Denis’s Freedom 21 Spinnaker, to be flown on a now illegal metal Yorkshire One Design pole, did not get tangled up with the normal tacking process we had perfected on Ivory Gull. All seemed OK and we briefly discussed trying to fly the kite on the broad but the wind was brisk and with both of us well over 70 and me with my gammy legs we thought we might damage something so decided to wait for the youngsters. Hole in the head Fred our young "ringer" a fit 59 with both the Atlantic and Pacific under his belt and Jim 69 a late replacement for Simon who had a bout of common sense and found other more interesting things to do. The more mathematically minded will have noted that made our average age a disappointing half-year short of 70. Next year it……… don’t even go there!
So we set off under sail through Irstead we soon noticed a Hunter's Yard boat ahead trying to tack in the very narrow river and getting seriously tangled with hire cruisers wanting to pass either side of him. We furled the jenny started the motor but left the main up. A hire cruiser was impatiently chugging at our rear. The sailboat started a tack across to the starboard side of the river and I pointed Ivory Gull at his stern where the hole was going to appear when he started to move away from the port bank. However the wind had dropped and the anticipated hole wasn't as large as I had hoped and when it did appear it contained another hire cruiser confidently edging forward in the knowledge that this was his side of the river. A rapid engaging of stern power did little to arrest our forward motion and the cruiser following us also continued forward giving us a healthy nudge towards bank where we firmly encountered something fairly solid on the non inhabited side bank of Irstead. We eventually made our apologies to all concerned and continued on our way mainly under sail but with the occasional burst on the engine to avoid any further nasty tacking.
We stopped at Ludham Bridge to get the mast down and Denis jumped ashore to fasten the moorings. His language at this point cannot be repeated here but in more colourful terms informed me that something had penetrated our strip planked Hull just above the water line and he could actually see the inside of the boat from outside. When we opened the Cave locker by the settee the daylight dazzled us. It looked as if this year the race was going to have to be given a miss.
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A Temporary Repair
A mobile call the crew found them in the Farm Shop at Holbeach at least 2 hours away from the New Inn at Horning where we had arranged to meet. What now? We thought, well first we need to see if we can get the bits of splintered wood back in place. Not much chance but we do carry a rubber mallet for late night rhond anchor bashing. I didn’t know I had a panel beating skills, but surprisingly with a lot of banging and some levering with different bits of wood we had laying about, the planking was persuaded to go back to approximately its original position minus the odd splinter and quite a lot of paint. We decided that we could fit an 18 x 12-inch piece of ply as a tingle on the inside. We might be able to make a temporary waterproof patch. We were lucky to find Robert Paul, who we have used for our BSC, sitting eating his beans on toast outside his chandlery shed. He was able to provide us with a new tube of sicoflex and a loan of his applicator gun also the remains of an isopon tin and hardener. Armed with these we liberally coated the plywood patch with sicoflex and screwed it tightly to the inside of the damaged planks. The isopon was mixed and liberally daubed on the outside of the hull making a nice pink patch for the port tack boats to aim at.
We then dropped mast and motored down to the New Inn putting up the mast underway. A technique we would have like to be able to use on the 3RR but as it involves using the engine it is unlikely that we would be allowed.
We often use the New Inn and Gus always gets a tip from us so we had been able to book a meal for Friday night. On our arrival Gus the Crew and a place to leave the boat together with a car were waiting for us. Fred who had never been on the boat before had a good look round and found where most of the bits of string were tied. He gave the new halyards and the spinnaker uphaul and downhaul fitting the thumbs up and we went to look at Horning Sailing Club.
After a good meal at the New Inn Jim and I went in his car to Broadsedge where we slept on "Northener" and Denis and Fred settled down on Ivory Gull.
Next morning we joined the Raft on the island hoping nobody would notice our pink bit. Despite the holing the boat it looked as if we were going to at least start our first ever 3RR.
The briefing at least gave us a chance to get to know some of our fellow competitors. The fact we were not going to start till 12:40 gave time to get down to where the Broads Inspector was giving the hire cruisers an early warning of what to expect ahead. We spent the time waiting for our gun using the inspectors boat as target practice for starboard turns around the marks. As our start time approached we made our way to the x zone and entered it just after the previous gun. The first thing we noticed that a lot of the boats in there were, according to us, in earlier starts. A frantic check of the hoists confirmed the no 8 pennant was flying so we made a run from the club down the line towards the triangle. A quick turn and back up put us on the line in the middle of the river when the gun went and off we went to a spanking start.
We soon found that being caught on port tack meant that you were fair game for being pranged at the sharp end whereas if you were lucky enough to be on starboard the target seemed to move toward the rear. We tried reasonably successfully not to hit anyone but that didn't stop them hitting us. I did wipe my brow with my red hankie but that didn't seem to have much effect. Fred was good at giving the odd dirty look as people approached too close and was heard to explain carefully to someone that as they had plenty of room to pass behind us they had no right to call for water. However things settled when we had passed most of the hire cruiser class. We even had time to pass a few pleasantries with fellow competitors.
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Following the Plan
We did the Ant first because we knew that might be the bit where our linkage steering device would fail to cope and we would be able to give in gracefully and go back to Wayford. Getting up to the turn was a doddle the return trip was a bit more of a hassle but having achieved it I could say to Denis if we can do that we can do anything.
South Walsham seemed a good next challenge and despite having to drop the tablet in the bucket with not enough room to make a starboard turn resulting in a visit to the bushes, caught on camera of course.
We were pleased to get back on the main river. The next fun would be Potter Bridge. Bows in at the pilot hut with main down and a removal of bolts shackles and much winching dropped the mast onto some fenders placed on the coach roof rather than putting the crutch in. The process was long and laborious but done on all occasions without mishap. At Acle we used the crutch and left the A frame in the air going down but it turned out to be far too close for comfort and we dare not repeat the fun going back up after a few hours of flood.
Slow bridges and, like many of the other cruisers, grounding in the main channel at Hickling meant that the plan to reach Acle between 1 and 2 am in time for the tide to turn in our favour was hopelessly out. Luckily we were still travelling South when the Squall came giving us a welcome turn of speed on our way to Acle arriving there as the first signs of daylight returned. A slow trip down to final turn made us feel that we were not going to make it back. But a rising wind from behind and a final bridge made us repack the spinnaker and set up the pole on a broad reach up to Thurne Mouth. We turned the corner and sped off towards Bennett’s. A couple of involuntary gybes and we put a whisker pole on the jenny and abandoned any plans to fly the kite. We were back in Horning at just after 9 and finished 109th in corrected time of 16hrs 35mins. Thanks to all who have given us advice, which we found very useful, and also to all who helped in any way to organize the racing, a tremendous effort. We all had a good time and were delighted to say we achieved our stated goal, we finished. David, Denis, Jim and Fred.
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