Perfect Lady 9 2008

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River Cruiser: Perfect Lady 9 (2008)

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Posted by Mat Gravener, 2nd June, 2008

Technical Info.
Craft:Perfect Lady 9
Class:River Cruiser
Author:Mat Gravener
Year:2008
Concentration!

The Start

Can’t wait till next year, this has been the best three rivers I’ve done, the crew, Lee, Paul and Nick were fantastic.

Our start was slow, and we missed it so started with the hire boats. Managed to break free from a number of others and decided on the Ant first, it was mayhem! Somehow we managed to thread our way through and get out again unscathed. Then over to South Walsham running and reaching out onto the broad, token safely deposited then back along fleet dyke, relying mainly on the tide and drifted on long tacks, although got a long reach out the top end onto the Bure.

Acle

Now a bit more wind so onto Acle, and one of those unforgettable glorious sails, boat healing gently, constant wind, bow wave, smooth wake behind us, fantastic!! Decided early on that we were not going to stop for the bridges but try shooting through. Everything went like clockwork, what a great designer and perfectionist Herbert Woods was, don’t think we even had to paddle through, tide took us. On to Stracey and back up to Acle.

Potter Heigham

Arrived at Potter in daylight and were able to shot through the bridge. Some lovely chap in a moored hire cruiser started singing ‘there goin’a shoot the bridge, there goin’a shoot the bridge’. I felt confident standing on the foredeck, Paul who was steering kept whispering ‘drop the mast, quick’, I was just showing off and dropped the mast as close as possible, although nearly came a cropper when the tail end of the forestay jammed under one off the forepeak floors! Fortunately there was enough slack. Another great sail up to Hickling and back as it got dark, through the bridges again, with the tide. Brilliant sailing down out of Potter, then some very fast stuff from Thurne mouth to Horning in pitch darkness. One of us on sitting in the forepeak with a torch telling the others where the bank is, exciting stuff.

Perfect Lady 9

The Finish

All thinking we will be back by about four at this rate. Oh no, not a chance, two bends before the waterworks at Horning, wind died completely, tide turned and after a couple of tacks realised we had covered about two hundred yards, backwards! Dropped the mudweight and waited patiently with around five other boats. Two came past and spent a good half hour trying to make progress but also gave up and waited.

The tide slowed so off we all went, Rogue pulled away from the pack, then somehow we did, then they all caught up again as we were once more becalmed, slow going, short tacking through Horning, encouraging words from friends moored on the Staithe (they had finished at 10 the night before!!) and we crossed the finish line at just after eight in the morning.

Anyone who is apprehensive about taking part, don’t be, it really is one of the best sailing events you could possibly do on the broads, if you combine it with good company, good weather, a good boat, and a fantastic crowd its even better.

Here’s to next year, Cheers Mat


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