Albion News Archive - 2012

01/11/12 - 08/12/12 : Conclusion of Work & Return of Albion

Work was brought to an end on Monday 18th November with the hanging of the new rudder & tiller. Before that the tar coat was being finished whilst the hull was treated with its second preservative "DeepKill" which is used on all internal timber junctions. After this the lining of the hold was re-installed having been freshly painted. Albion was loaded & at lunch time on Monday 18th November we waited for the high water to materialise. Well, we had high water but it was not high enough! We cancelled the launch & the traverse of Mutford Lock. On Wednesday we tried again. Fortunately we had masses of water which was just as well as otherwise we would have been moving into "unsociable hours". Darkness. Albion was moved off the slip easily & tied up against Excelsior. On Friday 23rd November at an unseasonable hour we gathered to take Albion across Lake Lothing through Mutford Lock to Oulton Broad Yacht Station where she remained for a short while to "take up." To cut a long story short there were bridge works on both the Waveney & the Bure which delayed our departure from Oulton, but finally, on a clear, crisp morning (the 8th December,) we gathered at Oulton at dawn & prepared for the trip home, powered by Badger & our outboard. Ice was salted on the decks & we slowly pushed away from the Yacht Station for the six-hour journey back. An uneventful journey, made quicker by the camaraderie of the volunteer crew & slower by the cold (!). Our journey was recorded for us by John (one of our volunteers) & extracts may well appear on the web site in good time. We pushed into base at 1525 just before sunset. Now the work can really begin!!

Deepkill being applied in the hull. New rudder and tiller installed.
Lake Lothing with heritage craft 102 ahead. Mooring in Mutford Lock prior to entering Oulton Broad.
Oulton Broad Yacht Station - dawn start. On the return trip.
Albion pushing up the River Bure under Vauxhall Bridge, Yarmouth. Albion running up the Bure, Yarmouth.

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01/11/12 - 15/11/12 : Base Upgrades.

Whilst Albion has been away we have turned our attention to our base. Having shown signs of wear it was decided to replace the complete quay heading on the south-east side of base and at the same time to replace the mooring posts on the other side. Find below some photographs of the work.

The Old Quay, in need of extensive TLC. New sub frames being installed.
The old quay was gone by noon on the first day. More new subframes being installed.
Almost done, with just the netting to lay.
A 2 metre pile casing being lined up. And there it was, almost gone.
Pile casings being filled with concrete.

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31/10/12 : Work in Progress.

In the last fifteen days Albion has been pressure washed to clean her hull and the work of refinishing her hull coating has begun. This is done manually and with heat and is a slow laborious  process. It is still continuing! The lining of the hold has been removed and repainted. The inside of the hull has been cleaned of all accumulated debris and has been finished with a preservative across all planks and frames. The steel keel has been repainted with epoxy. Several hull planks have been removed and new boards are being fashioned to replace them. The old rudder has been removed and taken away to be rebuilt whilst a new tiller has been completed to replace the previous one which was in poor condition.

Pressure washing under way. Hull with lining (ceiling) removed. (Note doubled frames).
First plank being fitted. Maynard (our boatbuilder) applying "friendly persuasion.".

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16/10/12 : Albion Returns to the Slipway.

At 0945 Albion was located between the dolphins of the trolleys of number 2 slip at the Excelsior Yard, Lake Lothing. By 1010 she had been winched up into place and shores were being installed to support her. She had arrived at Lake Lothing on Tuesday the 9th of October ready for today's high water. During the next few weeks, several planks will be replaced in her hull, the rudder will be rebuilt and a new tiller installed. Several keel bolts will be drawn and checked and her steel keel painted. Once these tasks are completed she will come off the slip again ready for her return journey.

Hatch covers cluttered with wedges and blocks Albion approaches the slipway. The "journey" up the slipway begins.
Nearly there. Mission accomplished.

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30/08/12: Last Open Days of 2012.

In the last couple of weeks our Open Day season came to an end. On the 14th August we found ourselves at one of regular haunts at Horning whilst on the 26th August we found ourselves the guests of the Bure Navigation Conservation Trust's centenary celebrations of the great flood of 1912 at Coltishall.
The latter involved the transit of Wroxham bridge in both directions which was the cause of some concern for our organisers. As it happened all went according to plan and we thouroghly enjoyed our day and set records for the number of visitors and sales takings for this season - thank you all who supported us.
Find below a series of photographs capturing the highlights of these events.

Approaching Wroxham bridge on 25th August. A few worried looks ?
Don't panic Capt Mainwaring ! All hands at work please !
What was all the fuss about ? The definition of "unflustered" from our skipper ?



A video of Albion passing under Wroxham Bridge. Courtesy J Cornish.


When our volunteers arrived on the 26th it looked more like a renactment of the 1912 floods rather than a celebration !
Drying out !. Sunshine soon allowed us to set for business.
The music draws the crowds in. Stuart Wilson of the BNCT introduces the event.
In full swing and thankful for a full compliment of volunteers. Alan Helsdon and "Shufflewing" doing their stuff.
Musicians at rest. Albion's cargo of malt & beer - the real reason for her visit !
The Buxton Sea Scouts arrive with their cargo of potatoes for Albion. Handing over the cargo !
On the return to Ludham, Albion passing Belaugh Bend on August 27th
Crew's eye view of the return under Wroxham bridge.

Horning Open Day

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10/08/12: Back Home !

Having spent a most enjoyable couple of weeks on the Southern Rivers encompassing member's cruises and open days it was time to return to home waters. We took the opportunity to familiarise some our crew with this area as a training day. Find below some views en-route.

An early start at Cantley. Berney Arms Drainage Mill. Drag chain deployed - just in case !
Breydon Bridge safely negotiated. Ditto for the old Vauxhall railway bridge.

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08/08/12: Norwich Open Day.

Our volunteers were kept very busy at the Norwich Yacht Station on another glorious day. Local press and TV welcomed our arrival and the crowds stayed with us throughout. It was brilliant to be kept so busy (although it didn't seem so at the time !).

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07 & 08/08/12: Member's Cruise & Journey into Norwich.

On the 7th August another group of members sailed on Albion on the Southern Broadland Rivers. This cruise was from Cantley to Frostbites Sailing Club in Norwich. The next morning Albion left Frostbites for the city centre and a successful Open Day.

Albion, with sail lowered prepares to moor at Frostbites Sailing Club. Albion’s mast is lowered to negotiate one of the city bridges on her way to the Norwich Open Day.

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05/08/12: Oulton Broad Open Day.

On arrival we found little water under Albion and had to resort to asking our visitors to "walk the plank" to get aboard ! Despite this, we had a good turn out in mainly glorious weather, the near obligatory southern rivers downpour waited until near the end of our visit !

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03/08/12: Reedham Open Day.

We continued to enjoy "Olympic weather" at Reedham and those that could tear themselves away from Team GB's efforts on the TV had a great day out looking over Albion. We did however have difficulty getting our "wherry facts" over to one particular reptilian visitor (see below) !

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29/07/12: Geldeston Lock Open Day.

The forecast was for some sun, followed by showers later. That was the message we volunteers took to Geldeston, and so started the day. Much to everyone's delight the wherry Albion was quite an attraction where we had a continuous stream of visitors. One visitor was able to give us some information and pass on photo's of Albion on the exact same mooring, at Geldeston Lock, in 1907 (see below). Young and old had a wonderful day looking over the boat and talking with Mike Fuller about his archive material. By 3 o'clock in the afternoon all eyes were turned towards the heavens, and the open day was abruptly closed as we were enveloped in lightning, thunder, and a typical summer downpour. For some reason, the visitors chose to retreat into the pub, never to be seen again (the Green Jack Albion Mild must have been especially good !). The souvenir tables were very quickly covered, and all the volunteers retreated into Albion's hold where Dave Frost and his accordian accompanied a session of "community singing". The clouds cleared, we packed our bags, and we waved farewell to Geldeston Lock where a fun day was had by all.
Find below a selection of photos from the event plus one from the Members Cruise that took Albion to Geldeston.

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08/07/12: Norada Re-launch

Albion sailed to Salhouse Broad today to celebrate the re-launch of the wherry yacht Norada (formerly the Lady Edith) built in 1912 by Ernest Collins of Wroxham.With light NW wind and scattered light showers the weather was not with us but we received a rousing welcome by the gathering on shore and by the Wherry Brass Band. We had left base at 0800hrs, followed closely by the trading wherry Maud. After mooring up, with Maud alongside, we did a busy trade in visitors until 1515 when Maud cast off from us and we in turn slipped our mooring for the return journey to base. Although there were only three wherries there it was an enjoyable day and it was good to see Norada gleaming under a new paint and varnish finish. 2012 is turning into a memorable year of special events.

Albion and Maud 

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05/07/12: A New Tiller Takes Shape.

We started work on our new tiller today, some rough cutting is necessary before the more detailed shaping gets under way.

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05/06/12: Potter Heigham Open Day.

Our first Open Day of the year coincided with the Diamond Jubilee. Despite the weather not being at it's best our volunteers were kept very busy with plenty of visitors - hopefully they all enjoyed their visit. If you missed out, our next Open Day will be at Geldeston Lock on July 29th.

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01-04/06/12: Norwich Cathedral Flower Festival

This all began last autumn when we were invited to attend a meeting at the Cathedral and asked if we wanted to support the Diamond Jubilee Flower Festival. We were eager to become involved and later were contacted by Linda Stimpson who was to design and arrange the wherry display. We helped by providing a bonnet (bottom part of sail), some mainsheet blocks and a waterline model of Albion and Linda did the rest. A delightful interpretation of Albion sailing on the Broads. Thank you Linda.

Cathedral Flower Festival

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02/06/12: Ella Centenary.

On Saturday we celebrated the centenary of the launching of the last trading wherry, the Ella, built at Allen’s yard in Coltishall. Wroxham Broad was the venue and the Norfolk Broads Sailing Club were our hosts.
The Ella was bought in the early 1930’s by Nat Bircham (later a skipper on Albion for the Trust) and was the last trading wherry to use the North Walsham & Dilham Canal before it closed. She was under power for much of her working life and was sunk to block a dyke leading to Decoy Broad near Salhouse. John Bircham and Lillian Smith (son and daughter) were with us, as were 2 grand-daughters. Other guests included the author of Wherries & Waterways, Bob Malster, the Rudd family with Solace, Vincent & Linda Pargetter with Maud, Andrew Scull & WYCCT with the newly-acquired White Moth & Sarah Davies with the 1927-built (and last-ever wherry built) Ardea.
The sun held out for us as we also celebrated the first day of the Diamond Jubilee weekend with the Norfolk Broads Sailing Club and our friends from the other wherries. Following speeches by our chairman, Roger Watts, our publicity coordinator Henry Gowman and our patron Sir Timothy Colman, the Commodore of the NBSC, Jeremy Ives, kindly presented commemorative glassware (for both the Ella Centenary and the Diamond Jubilee) to The Trust and the other wherry skippers present on the day. The following is a selection of photographs from the event.

Maud, Solace & Albion. (Click to enlarge). Both surviving traders, Albion & Maud. (Click to enlarge).
Maud. Solace. Ardea.
White Moth. Solace & Albion.
Albion. Jeremy Ives & Roger Watts. Commemorative Glassware.

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29/05/12: St Nicholas House School Visit.

As part of our Education Programme we invite local schools to visit our base at Ludham to learn about wherries, the people that sailed on them and the role they played in the local economy. The first visit of 2012 was St Nicholas House School from North Walsham. On arrival they were told about the role of wherries in the early developement of the village of Ludham while Albion made a  trip to the village staithe. They were then escorted to our base where they were given demonstations of raising and lowering Albion's sail and mast. After this they were split into smaller groups and shown around the fore-peak, cargo hold and cuddy areas. These sessions included on-shore demonstrations of how pulleys could lighten the load of heavy cargoes and how to tie some basic knots - some trainee crew members paid particular interest to this session ! The visit was finished off with a sing-song of "wherry songs" courtesy of Alan Helsdon. The following is a selection of photographs from the visit.

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14/04/12: First Cruise and Filming

Albion's first cruise of the 2012 season today was a special affair. She had been chosen as the theme for one of the six short films about the Broads that were part of a one-year long media programme for local students. Today two students and their teacher, from Lynn Grove High School were on board shooting sequences about Albion. Leading the team, that was sponsored by the BA Sustainable Development Fund, was Ian Masters. Helming Albion was Hugh Tusting and the filming followed him throughout the day. Editing work will follow in the summer term and in September we will have the premiere of all these films. A different start to the sailing season than is usual.

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05/04/12: Rigging Day

After a miserable day yesterday, today was sunny & bright, ideal for running Albion out into the sun & beginning the rigging ready for the new season. Necessary parts were laid out in their approximate position on the hatch covers, blocks were fitted as necessary & the main halliard was roved on. Once the mast was up & secured with the forestay, the gaff was rigged with spens & martingale (see glossary), then the sail was shackled to the throat of the gaff & the sail stretched & laced on. The work team were led by Paul Reynolds & all had a part to play.

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04/04/12: Albion Mast Re-loaded

On a miserable, wet & windy morning a small team, led by skipper, Chris Shallcross & mate, Phil Hubbard, braved the weather & took Albion to Upton dyke to load the mast. Once again the kindnesses of the Eastwood Whelpton boatyard came to the fore as the mast was loaded ready for the new season. All the team are now drying out!!

Whilst Albion was away we took the opportunity to dredge the base basin.

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