Sabrina 2 2014

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River Cruiser: Sabrina 2 (2014)

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Posted by Malcolm Duffield, 12th June, 2014

Technical Info.
Craft:Sabrina 2
Class:River Cruiser
Author:Malcolm Duffield
Year:2014

(In) famous 5 Go Sailing

It was forecast to be a lovely weekend, and Jonny thought it would be a wheeze to go sailing while things were still quiet and without those nasty adults with rods that get in the way sitting on the banks looking ferocious. He called on his bestest friends to join him but when they could not come he asked Claire Tine Robin and that funny boy from down the lane. All were delighted to be asked as they had not seen each other for at least 7 days.

We’ll meet again don’t know where (in Horning), don’t know when (about 9 on Saturday) but I know we will said John. Everyone was getting excited as the weekend drew near. Nothing like a quiet gentle sail said Robin, well as we will discover he was half right. John decided he wanted to play at being the captain and told us he was bringing lots of unhealthy snacking type stuff, like hard tack. If we wanted anything remotely more than room temperature we had to bring it with us and keep it that way ‘cos I ain’t got the room to do it not wiv 5 on, bored.

Robin was worried about that funny boy so he collected him on the way through. Apparently they were off to some place where the big boats go and get to drink and dance the Hokey Cokey. Robin has Sue with him. Sue’s not coming ‘cos John not invite her (not really). Sue has gone overboard with the vitals ensuring that the boys and girls will not go hungry for more than 5 minutes. Sue is going to rush around and take one or two photographs. John, not that he is at all selfish has arranged to have a really big hot breakfast with the big boys next door, which he proceeds to eat in front of the gang with no trace of guilt whatsoever. Sometimes he can be really horrid.

With John burping and the rest of our tummies rumbling we have to walk for miles for something called a briefing. Why is it called briefing when it takes soo long. As it happens this year’s adventure is going to be curtailed due to not much wind, or that is what they said.

All too soon the boat is let go of (good job we had jumped on board) and Sabrina 2 makes her way slowly up river to wait for her start. You may remember John can be horrid. We’ll moor there so you 2 with the shorts on get ready to jump ashore. What here asks Claire and Funny one. Yes there. What here with all the nettles, thistles and nowhere to make fast? Yes. Well I ain’t gerring off said Ms Nuneaton, not when there is a lovely bit of decking and mooring rings next door. So we went across the river and nudged into the reeds. The boat is made ready.

Horrid John barks out the orders and woe betide if they not jumped to immediately. Anyone would think he owns the boat. Last weekend we practiced how to keep clear of other boats when getting to your start. A week is a long time and all that practice went to waste. To our surprise some of our school chums had wangled time off from prep and were at the start line, cheering us on. Come on Sabrina 2……………… For goodness sake come on!!!!!!

Chums cheering

Not to be deterred HJ stuck Robin up front as a makeshift booming out pole. Robin had his own booming out pole which he kept getting out and pointing at people. He made out it was a camera. Horning Street with 30 sailing craft running down looks great, unless you are a DAFI (Diesel Assisted Idiot). We passed a few, got passed by a few, got caught up by a few, and caught up a few more. All of that before the New Inn.

After what seemed a short time but was in fact blinkin’ ages we had crept as far as the Water Work. “Come on Sabrina 2……………………………………For goodness sake get a move on”. Yes 2 of our schoolies had slipped away from the crowds, had lunch, afternoon tea and an ice cream before cheering us on there. The good news was that we had avoided a bit of a melee. HJ was keeping well clear of Yeoman’s for some reason.

Eventually we reach the River Ant and head up to the mark. Bearing in mind a shortened course the mark was laid about as close to the bridge as possible, obviously taking into account the joys of the Saturday afternoon Richo brigade coming down river. 2 things happened at the mark, well actually 3 things. First of all there was a lot of noise. A couple of school prefects and some first formers were there to cheer us on again. Second the wind completely disappeared which made HJ even more delightful. Thirdly we took for ever getting round the mark. It took so long the school bullies ran out of insults. One said “Can you hurry up, we’re bored now”. HJ provided a suitable response.

Taking forever - photo by Tony Bennett









Soon we were zooming down river, or was that a dream. Next stop south Walsham. HJ had a bit of a personality change and let someone else steer for a while, giving himself time to consider how much better he could have taken the mark.

Thinking time

As the course was shortened because of not much wind it was pleasing to see the mark at the far end of S Walsham Broad. Bloomin’ heck said Lady Louise I thought you had been kidnapped or sunk, what’s taken you so long. We just smiled the way you do and drifted on. Token in number called and HJ grabs the tiller again.

As we meander down the Bure we discuss whether to do to Acle or Hickling first, have a cuppa something to eat and talk endlessly about nothing. Acle first then to make the most of the tide to get us back to Hickling, once it has changed. Enough wind to make against it in any event. Old boy Glynn sallies forth coming from Stokesby to see what is happening. Their 3RR barbeque having been turned into a where the hell are they barbeque. Good to see that a little thing like no boats coming has not dampened his enthusiasm.

In the glorious evening sunshine we make our way onto the Thurne. As the sun starts to go down we go past Thurne village, as it sets we go past Womack, as night falls we approach Potter. HJ demand funny boy goes to the front and single handedly take down that big sticky up bit of wood, and to do so miles away from the bridge, just in case. Out comes the drum and ramming speed is obtained even against the tide. Sure enough as we get to the bridge a round of applause for us. We look up and thankfully the school bullies, prefects and first formers’ are back at school. In between the 2 bridges however 2 small school parties had escaped and encouraged us on. “Get your back into it” amongst them. Revenge is best served cold and early. Up and onwards we head to Hickling. Sally is coming down river. Got far to go? we ask. Horning they said, big pause, after Acle……..

A careful look out is kept for the posts to make sure we are in the channel. Don’t want HJ to get even more grumpy. Tine once again performs her duty with admirable perfection and plops it in as we go around.

Hickling needs careful navigation especially at night. What you don’t want is for someone to complain the bum is wet with wine; demand someone finds out where it came from; lose track of where you are, and ipso facto where the channel is, and then follow the nearest stern light because it might, just might be a dinghy which is not too worried about the depth of the water. Well what we did was all sit on one side, and then the other, and so on and so forth.. Wagged the tiller like we were in the last throes so to speak, went about and sailed to the nearest post, which happened to be green and not red. Back where we should have been progress is made and we catch up those that had pasted us not too long ago. “We thought you were being brave” said one.

The wind was dropping and dropping and the tide was against us just for a change. However we managed to keep way on until we caught up Cygnet. We stopped at the end of the bungalows, near to but just enough away from other boats so we did not have to talk to them. What we could have done then is boiled the kettle (or more precisely the water in the kettle (if you read this you know who you are)), we would have to be quick as the tide turns in just over an hour and a half. Not a chance.

I spy is not much fun in the nearly dark, nor is anything else. The mist comes down, goes up and comes down again. The tide turns, Catspaw slips off and we quickly follow. We go with the tide, shoot the new road bridge, and at 5:30 am wish our school friends a bright good morning. Only got a response from Glory but Mischief confirms we woke them up. Result! I can assure people it is a lot easier paddling with the tide than against it. We drift with the tide, catch Sally up, get accused of nicking her wind and drift quicker than she does. We hail Snowbird at 7:30 ish, and get asked to keep the noise down.

Fully expecting to have to stop and wait for the tide when we get to the Bure we are pleasantly surprised there is enough wind to keep us going against the tide. All too soon, seriously, we are back amongst the trees HJ so dearly loves. A long slog back up the street.

The long slog

First we are well clear, then we are not and then we are. They get all the good lifts and we don’t but we keep in front of most of the boats in our start and cross the line just after 10:00 am. We are all for getting the breakfast asap but HJ insists that Sabrina 2 is spotless before we go ashore.

Tidying up
Thinking of that breakfast












We have breakfast and realise we have done not too bad all things considered. The crew departs apart from the funny one who assists HJ getting Sabrina 2 back to her moorings, whilst he catches up with some sleep.

Back to her moorings










We are 28th. overall and 10th. River Cruiser. Not bad!

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