Albion News Archive - 2010

09/12/10 : The Horse has Bolted !

A typical day at base. Nine volunteers working on various projects. Mince pies with tea & coffee. The outboards are having some minor attention. Brian is tidying up some of the spens fittings & one of the hatch covers is being stripped back to bare wood, examined for rot & repairs being made. The dinghy has been turned & the bilge has been cleaned ready for repainting.

Meanwhile...outside! Two hardy volunteers have been completing removal of the horse (see glossary entry) & examining it both for corrosion & for the planning of its restoration. Underneath the horse we found .... Putty, lots of it. This was also removed. After Christmas our boatbuilder returns to replace the standing rightups, right through to the aft of the cuddy. This is to kill numerous “birds with one stone.” The standing rightups were fitted when the boat was hogged & was level at their junction with the plankways. There should be a gentle sheer there now & this will be achieved by replacement. Some action had to be taken whilst addressing the hog & this meant scarphing through the standing rightups, leaving a top line that was not “fair”.  Additionally, there was some rot in these members, particularly in the aft sections. Steel plates that fasten through the supporting stanchions & locate the moving rightups (that lie directly above the standing ones), have been removed. In theory they should have been made up in pairs (port & starboard), but are generally mismatched.

New ones will be fabricated then both the plates & the horse will be galvanised to preserve them for longer.

This work & an assortment of other jobs should keep everyone going until after Christmas.  

                                                 General view of mainsheet horse after removal

                                                        Bernard and Phil pose with "persuaders" !

                        Closeup of cuddy showing site of horse (lhs) and close up of stanchion with standing rightup below.

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14/11/10 : Albion returns home.

By 0650 six bleary-eyed volunteers assembled at base ready for the car journey to Oulton Broad, ferried by Margaret and Bronwen. 0740 saw them arrive at a misty Yacht Station where Albion was prepared for the voyage, whilst Hugh got Badger warmed up and alongside her. Mike, Pete, Jon, Martin, Phil and Roger performed their departure tasks like a well-oiled team and Albion slid out of the Yacht Station, waved off by the ever-helpful Harbour Masters.

Some slight adjustments were made in the relative positions of Badger and Albion for lightest steering control and we powered off into a beautiful autumn morning with soft pastel skies with lines of mist beneath. We took turns at the helm, took turns going aboard Badger to keep Hugh company (and warm up!), and sampled our first mugs of hot coffee. Despite the brightness it was a cool trip. By 0920 we passed Somerleyton swing bridge, which was clear of obstructions now, but warning signs were still up and a work boat was moored close by. With little breeze the water was smooth, broken only by our passage. We approached the confluence of the Waveney and the Yare at 1020 and made our way over Breydon Water with its wheeling thousands of waders in the distance. We passed Breydon Bridge at 1055 and turned into the Bure, pushing the tide for the next hour or so.

Lunch came and went as we passed Mautby, then Runham followed by Stokesby before the rain began. So, we ended our voyage at base at 1425 with wet oilskins, but with Albion home to continue her winter refit.

Albion and Badger going down the Waveney & Final adjustments are made to the lines between Albion and Badger.

Albion, with Badger alongside edges out of Oulton Broad Yacht Station.

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09/11/10 : Relaunched.

The first part of the team comprising Peter, Phil, Bruce & Martin arrived by 0800hrs & began work by righting our dinghy & mounting the outboard. Final loading of the boat was completed whilst Kim replaced the drain bung & tarred over it for security. At 0845 Paul arrived & began removing shores, whilst at 0905 the latecomers Ivor & Roger made an appearance. Their excuses of tailbacks on the Acle straight fell on deaf ears.

The dinghy was launched & we all prepared ready for Albion's launch. Wet weather clothing was the order of the day & 20 knot winds were blowing in from an ENE direction. A perfect morning (for staying at home!). By about 0925 we had contacted Mutford Lock & they were preparing for our arrival & just after 0940 we were run slowly down the slip. A pause to check for leaks (we were remarkably dry) & we rolled down to a depth that allowed Albion to float free.

With outboard in reverse Albion was towed back off the slip & pulled into wind. Once well clear we began to motor slowly forward up Lake Lothing towards Mutford Lock & our passage to Oulton Yacht Station. We made easy progress with the tide still under us & a following wind. As we came into sight of the lock we could hear the sirens warning motorists of lowering barriers & the raising of the road bridge. We were soon in place in the lock & the levels were dropped for our passage into Oulton Broad.

Coming out of the lock we made a sharp turn to port to enter the Yacht Station. Our mooring was ahead, next to Doris, a Brooke Marine boat of some 65’ 5” length & 12’ 6” beam. She is being worked on & Albion had lain alongside her at Excelsior yard about 8 years ago whilst she had her planking replaced. A fine looking craft.

A mudweight was dropped over to help us turn side-on to the quay & with a gentle push from the outboard & Pete paying out the mudweight line we made a gentle connection with the shore.

Albion will rest here until Sunday morning when she begins the homeward journey to Ludham. Thanks to all the team who turned out on a foul morning to run her back in & thanks to the Excelsior team for all their help as well.

        Kim has screwed in the drain bung & is sealing it with tar & a close up of the rudder as Albion nears the water. 

                Albion is pulled out of the dolphins by our outboard before turning up towards and entering Mutford Lock.

Once again we must add our very special thanks for the kindness & care that the team of Harbour Masters at Oulton Broad Yacht Station always reserve for us. They make our work so easy in so many ways & always go the extra mile. Thanks to you all!

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Today, a team of six volunteers, Phil, Richard, Bruce, Dave 2, Bernard and Ivor replaced the screws in the ceiling (hold lining boards). It is so easy to sum this up in a few words but there are over 600 screws holding the ceiling in place. Once this was done a tarpaulin was laid in the hold to protect the new paint job and as much of the necessary gear that we brought down with us was returned ready for the (eventual) journey home. The hull still has to have its tar finish completed at this point.  

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22/10/10 : A novel way of "spinning". 

A glorious sunny day; totally different from Wednesday. Bernard and Peter applied epoxy paint (in our favourite colour !) to the keel while Bob and Roger transported the ceiling boards from the paint shed to the side of the boat and collated them. Kim was applying tar again whilst Maynard was cutting, shaping, preserving and nailing in a new plank in the aft section. Once Peter and Bernard had finished the painting they joined Bob and Roger to install the ceiling in the hold. With over 600 screws to be fitted we concentrated on locating boards and holding them in position for finishing later.

Meanwhile, Maynard was “spinning” caulking cotton ready to caulk up the plank. A busy day and everyone was looking forward to the weekend.



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20/10/10 : Update. 

Horrible day with blustery showers streaming in from the north west. Kim was under the hull laying on pitch on the seams, whilst inside Maynard was knocking out a plank ready for replacement, while Pete & Roger were, like Kim, under the hull sanding the steel keel in preparation for an additional epoxy paint coating.

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15/10/10 : Deepkill ! 

By 1000hrs two hatch covers were off Albion and Pete and Roger were applying Deepkill a paste-type fungide that is placed into the joints of the boat. After three hours the job was done and we need to wait now for several days whilst the paste skins over allowing the remainder to leach into the joints. The two attached photos show the inside of Albion’s hull with Deepkill applied. An applicator gun and the port steps for orientation purposes. The other photo shows the Excelsior Trust’s tent where they store their restoration projects including the City of Edinburgh. Our ceiling planks seem to use up much of the remaining space! 

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14/10/10 : Back at Base.

The winter work back at base is getting into its stride now. The gaff has been rubbed down and undercoated and today topcoat goes on. The box base for ballast has been treated similarly as has the central bunk base box. These need to be ready for when Albion returns from the slip. All the blocks have been taken apart and the sheaves are being soaked in linseed oil. Primer is being applied to the shells, prior to re-painting.

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13/10/10 : Update.

Ivor and Bob returned today to paint the ceiling (lining of the hold) prior to its return. It is now a fresh light battleship grey. Whilst they were engaged with this, Pete and Roger were in the hold brushing it out with 5*, a fungicidal preparation to help preserve the boat. Each of these tasks took a team of two four hours to complete. Yesterday Maynard and Kim, our boat builders carried out a hull inspection ready to commence work.

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11/10/10 : Update.

Team assembled at 0945 after travelling from Ludham. Remainder of screws removed from ceiling (hold lining), ceiling planks removed & pressure washed, then stood out in sun to dry. Meanwhile the hold was cleaned & vacuumed & the sea cocks were disassembled & greased before being replaced. The day finished with a short march with lining planks to a nearby building ready for painting on Wednesday. The team were Pete, Phil, Bob, Bruce, Ian & Roger.  

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06/10/10 : The Slip.

0640 hrs Wednesday morning and it was not yet dawn as Hugh (skipper) Pete, Phil and Bob prepared Albion for the short trip on to the slip, whilst Paul and Roger watched from the shore. Not only was it dark – it was WET! At 0720 Albion slipped her mooring as the dollies slid into the water. Albion slid between the dolphins, was wedged into place and after a few checks was slowly run out of the water and up the slipway. It is always fascinating watching her hull emerge from the water. Once she was out a ladder was erected to enable her crew to disembark, the dinghy was hauled out and the process of unloading timber, nails, tar etc was carried out.

And then breakfast. The condemned men ate hearty meals before returning to shore up Albion and to begin the removal of over 600 screws holding the lining in place. The month of work has begun.

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02/10/10 : To Lake Lothing.

We left base at 0820 in fine weather and light airs that were to be with us all day. The team was Pete, Richard, Phil, Hugh, Roger with Mike the skipper of the day. Albion was powered, as has become traditional on these trips, by Badger, a Hampton cruiser provided unfailingly by Hugh. With this early start it wasn’t long before mugs of tea and coffee appeared and we settled in for the long trip to Lake Lothing. It takes about six hours, all in all, to reach Lake Lothing from Womack dyke, with Yarmouth being the approximate mid point.

It was a glorious run down the Bure with just a few cruisers passing us on the way to Yarmouth. To make the time pass more quickly the helm was shared out so everyone had one or more turns during the day. As we approached Yarmouth chains were laid out on the foredeck as an insurance against any problems and the dinghy outboard was fired up as well. We made passage easily through the port turning on the river Yare at 1200. We had planned our run to be on neaps when the river is usually most benign and today it was definitely on our side.

Things cooled down a little across the expanse of Breydon Water, by which time most of the crew had settled down to lunch. Near the lower end of Breydon we came across the first of a small group of water-skiers whose wakes really gave us a hard time. And then we were in the Waveney with another two passes by water-skiers and more heavy wake upsetting our progress. At Burgh Castle we saw the pleasure wherry Solace, out of the water and being worked on. The extra holes cut in her keel were clearly seen as we passed by.

By now clouds were beginning to build but the passage continued until we saw Oulton dyke ahead of us. At this point we rang ahead to ensure that we were expected. On the broad racing was in progress. At this point hugging the starboard bank we slipped Badger and motored on powered by our dinghy. We entered Mutford Lock at 1530, looked after magnificently once again by the harbour-master team from Oulton Yacht Station.

Then out into the ‘salt’ in Lake Lothing, where after a few minutes we picked up our temporary mooring until we slip next week.

Richard helms Albion with a vista of Breydon Water streching behind him. (left) & The pleasure wherry Solace at Burgh Castle receiving some maintenance. (right)

Albion makes passage through Somerleyton bridge showing Badger alongside her. (left) & With Badger cast off, Albion under outboard power, with chief engineer aboard, negotiates the racing (no protests!) on Oulton broad on her way to Mutford Lock and Lake Lothing. (right)

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29/09/10 : Mast Removal.

At 0900 hrs a small team, led by Chris, arrived to take Albion on the short journey to Upton dyke, the home of the Eastwood-Whelpton boatyard where our mast is unshipped and stored over winter when work is to be done. We left Womack dyke under motor and had a smooth trip to Upton arriving at 1025. Within ten minutes we were unshipping, using the yard crane and the mast was carried to one of the sheds for some work to be carried out in October. With Albion turned in the narrow dyke and our thanks given to Ann and the yard team we motored back to Womack a few tons lighter than we left. We just about outran the closing rain front.


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28/09/10 : Maintenance Under Way.

With the charter season having ended, work teams arrived today to strip Albion in preparation for winter restoration and maintenance.

There were 14 volunteers at the wherry base doing this work. Whilst the sail was being dried one volunteer, Paul stripped the cuddy of its built-in furniture, whilst two teams removed the heads compartment at the bow & the galley at the stern. The cooker was removed & then the major task of the day began; the removal of seven tons of ballast. We we all surprised to have removed that by 1230 hrs., ready to eat the hot dogs prepared by our wherry base manager, Martyn.

After a good break, & joined by our boat builder Maynard Watson work continued (at a slightly slower pace!). Maynard removed one of the mast counterbalance weights to allow future work to take place more easily, whilst the sail was lowered & de-rigged from the gaff. With sail folded & carried away & gaff stored ready for painting, a general tidy up saw a weary band going home.

We had achieved most of our three-day plan in one day. A lie-in tomorrow?

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27/09/10 : Another Season Comes to an End.

Today was the final day of chartering for the 2010 "season". In all Albion has been sailing under charter for 118 days this year and together with 5 open days has been pretty busy ! Many thanks are due to all the volunteers who have both crewed Albion and helped maintain her throughout the season, not to mention our charterers for all their support.

Whilst this may appear to be the "end" of another successful year work continues behind the scenes as Albion moves from chartering to maintenance mode. There will be little rest for our volunteers over the next few days as Albion has to be stripped out ready for her bi-annual inspection at Lake Lothing.

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10 & 11/08/10 : Horning & Ranworth Open Days.

Our volunteers were kept busy this week with two open days in quick succession at Horning and Ranworth. We thank all those who turned out in large numbers to have a look over Albion. The weather tried hard to put folk off at the start of our day at Horning but eventually relented and we all had a splendid afternoon of sunshine which carried forward into our open day at Ranworth. Some of us have developed dog sitting skills whilst their owners explored Albion below decks, there is a rumour that this is going to be added to the list of required skills for future Mates !  Some folk made considerable efforts to visit us including a couple who travelled up to Horning from Kent for the day and a young family from Hamburg who admittedly may have not made the journey solely for our benefit but they were most welcome anyway !

The following photographs were taken from our open day at Horning.




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01/08/10 : A Spiritual Journey

The Bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James was taken to St Benet's Abbey by Albion for the annual service at these ancient and beautiful ruins. The full EDP article can be found here (as a PDF) or here on their website. 

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28/07/10 : National Parks Week: Wherry Good Time !

Albion was invited to attend a Broads Authority event at Potter Heigham as part of "National Parks Week". A busy day was had by our volunteers as many visitors took the opportunity to have a look around. It was also a first outing for Albion's new dress flags as can be seen below.

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03/06/10 : Newly qualified skipper Roger Watts is given an appropriate send-off on his maiden charter - congratulations Roger (and to the charter party who were delivered safely back to base !).

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20/05/10 : Crew training day.  

Much oil was needed to lubricate some rusty limbs as trainees and experienced hands were put through their paces under the watchful eys of skipper Chris Shallcross and mates Phil Hubbard & Peter Jermy.

                     Looks as if Pete has to tackle a "granny",                                      Not all crew members came up to standard !
                          why is Trevor looking "sheepish" !

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13/05/10 : Brighton family visit.

Shortly after the National Historic Ships presentation Albion was visited by Jean Crampton and family. Jean (on left in the photo below) is the great grand daughter of William Brighton in whose yard Albion was built in 1898.

Jean Crampton visit on 13/05/10

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13/05/10 : National Historic Ships Award.

Received a visit today from representatives of the National Historic Ships who presented us with a certificate and cheque to mark our award as Runner-up as 2010 National Historic Ships “Flagship of the Year”. We were delighted to receive the award and see it as recognition of all the efforts that the Trust has made and continues to make to preserve Albion and to keep her on the rivers and broads for everyone to see and to sail on. We will be flying the National Historic Ship pennant during the season. Why not visit the National Historic Ship web site to see more about the award and their entry for Albion ?

Paula Palmer of National Historic Ships presenting their runner's up certificate to Roger Watts.

01/05/10 : First charter of season.

28/04/10 : The committee has agreed that Albion should be slipped in October this year at Lake Lothing for a hull inspection, a few new planks where necessary and a touch up to her hull finish. This work is scheduled to last up to four weeks.

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24/04/10 : Training day for crews. Crew training continues this year with a day at base where man-overboard drill, safety and checking of lifejackets and fire prevention will be practiced. This is part of our on-going crew training procedure.

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17/04/2010 : Annual crew meeting held today to brief on new season. Training programme for year outlined. 

14/04/2010 : 'On the 14th April, a crew of volunteers took Albion down to Eastwood Whelpton Yard at Upton to collect her mast. Eastwood Whelptons Yard  generously help us by storing our mast over the course of our regular winter works period, lifting the mast from Albion using a crane that is about the same age as her.  As the mast is about 50' long and has a ton of counter weight at the bottom of it this is no light matter.  Whilst there other volunteers oil the mast and titivate the paintwork.  Albion had her gaff re-fitted at base on her return and the huge black sail laced into place, her blocks reeved with her sheets and ropes.  During the winter, aside from the works on the tabernacle, (carried out by Maynard Watson and his assistant Kim Dowe) she has been comprehensively scrubbed, scraped and repainted by our volunteer workforce.  She looks a picture, a credit to the volunteers who have put so much hard work in through a long and cold winter and is ready to grace the Broads for what is looking like a heavily booked summer sailing season.'

 If you would like to be a volunteer with Norfolk Wherry Trust and help keep this grand old lady going please go to the volunteer page Click Here

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13/04/2010 : Albion section of website introduced. This will be further developed during the coming weeks.