Manning a guard ship 2011
Manning a guard ship 2011
Posted by Elizabeth Goodyear, 20th June 2011
Well it was quite a weekend!
Weather forecast was not quite as I would have liked as my position as a guard ship was on Hickling with a rescue boat attached!
Daughter 1 was promoted from galley slave to standing on the clubhouse roof to hold up the race starts and then helping with the IT/radio crew. She managed to take rather a lot of photos of the start which needless to say are now posted somewhere on facebook!
Daughter 3 was crewing in my white boat no. 96 with a friend of years back helming, who I crewed when I was in my teens/early 20’s at Horning so with his wife there were 3 on board. Well what a race they had, they came on to Hickling full sail and finished in 4th overall position behind Fox White boat 132 with Chris Bunn helming and crewed by Nikki Tansley and Paul Dennis all crack crews and helms and two Wayfarers. The third Wayfarer was only a minute ahead. This was the first time my white boat had ever entered the race and I am thrilled with the result. Daughter 3 is totally exhausted though and a bit bruised and battered.
Well how did I get on?
I think being a guard ship is almost as hard as sailing the race except you don't have to lower masts and paddle under bridges.
You certainly don't get much sleep.
Last year I was a beginner so was positioned at Ant Mouth to record the returning boats which meant we were very busy in the dark. This year I was at Hickling and with the weather forecast many went to Hickling first before the wind increased so were very busy in the day but not a lot went on during the night except the wind was blowing rather stronger than I liked for being moored overnight on Hickling! This wouldn't have been my first choice.
Over the weekend many Norfolk Broads Forumites said hello, waved and shouted greetings. At one point ‘Malanka’ was moored at the end of the garden!
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Poor GaryCantley (forum id), I was really sorry to hear over the radio you retired as you were going like a train on Hickling. I might have taken a photo ……
We set off for Hickling at 8 am and it was glorious sunshine, two swallowtails flew across the river one near Ranworth and one on Heigham Sound.
Came to Potter and I had asked for a pilot but it read 6' 8" so I went for it.... and immediately found an oncoming boat in my way, plus a boat coming off the moorings by the bridge. Quickly into reverse and the club dory bashed into the stern so this was already a prequel to a disaster but I kept my nerve and my steerage and we got through, a bit on the hoof but with 2" to spare. The canopy roof is quite wide.
Once on Hickling we rendezvoused with another boat who put the mark down and told us which post to tie on! All achieved successfully and two mudweights at the stern to keep us from drifting into the channel!
A little while later I looked for the mark only to think WE had moved and then to realise the mark was now some distance across the broad. Quickly into the Dory and cause was found - the mudweight had detached. OOPS bit of a problem but the Dory had a spare mudweight and problem solved.
The first boat to arrive was a Punt followed by a Thames Rater. The wash from all the boats made poor WR rock all over the place.
It remained steadily busy all afternoon and we had no emergencies to deal with which was a great relief. The broad was a reach/broad reach so everyone was getting across quite safely although many boats were reefed!
Part of the course entailed dropping a 'card' into a basket on the buoy. This required a lot of skill in the weather conditions and not everyone was successful. On several occasions the basket got sunk and the light on the top dislodged. Several visits to the mark had to be made and the broad probably has quite a few tokens floating around.
As dusk drew in, the wind increased and the number of boats outstanding got to about 4!!!!! We had a gap of over 3 hours before the last boat passed us as dawn broke. It was hard to sleep as the radio was quite busy elsewhere (it was important to keep it on) and the wind was howling around us and the boat rocking about.
With the last boat we were able to collect the buoy and accompanying mud, and return to Horning. The height under Potter was 6'5" and despite the reduced headroom, did a better attempt with just about 2" to spare. I always remember the figure of 6'3" in my youth!
We were back at Horning about 8 am, Dory back at Clubhouse and now able to hear about my daughters' eventful day.
Will I do it again - of course, only happy to volunteer. Thanks to my crew of 2 who did such a sterling job in what could have been very testing conditions (we did have back up available if we had needed it by the way). Liz
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