Albion News Archive 2013

21/12/13: Christmas Maintenance Review.

Albion has received much attention from her loyal volunteers since the mast was removed near the end of October. Many small parts have been cleaned & repainted including the blocks, the sheaves of which have been  soaked in linseed oil & are presently being re-assembled for the shells to be painted. The ballast has been removed & replaced & the hold has had the ceiling removed (see photos) & the bilges have been hoovered clean & preservative coatings applied. Some hatch covers are presently being refurbished & the standing right-ups are being stripped back to bare wood ready for the new paint system that we have adopted. There will be a short break from work over Christmas & the New Year before work resumes.

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05/12/13: Mardlers Mustard Launch.

HOT OFF THE PRESS - New Mustard Launched at Albion Base. Colmans Mustard Museum in conjunction with Norwich HEART have commisioned a new mustard named 'Mardlers' to a recipe that includes Norfolk Mardlers Mild Beer made by Woodfordes Brewery. What better place to do it than at Albion's base, sat on our very own Mardlers Seat dedicated to the memory of Lady Mayhew, a prime mover in the rescue of Albion in 1949, and a member of the Colman family. Pictured is Ted Peachment of FOND (Friends of Norfolk Dialect). For our foreign readers 'mardle' is Norfolk dialect for a natter or a chat or a cosy talk.

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16/11/13: Laying Up Supper.

The final "event" of our 2013 season was our annual Laying Up Supper. We had a bumper turn out of over 90 guests who were treated to a splendid meal at The Old Rectory Hotel at Crostwick, just outside Norwich. Our guestspeaker was one of our ambassadors, Radio Norfolk's Wally Webb who enthralled us with tales of "Broadland Ghosts". We are also indebted to those that generously provided us with raffle prizes and to one of our distant supporters for providing a Neil Smalley wherry painting and some Albion anniversary mugs/plates all of which were raffled . Raffle and auction together raised just over £400 for our funds - a big thank you to all who turned out to support us.

Towards the end of the first course - still looking very smart ! Starting to unwind a bit !
Jackets off, time for serious chat. The auction gets under way.
Seems as though "Our Henry" was trying to outdo Wally in the fashion stakes. Wally Webb in full flow.

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30/10/13: Albion Mast Removed.

At 0900 on a sharp bright Autumn morning, Albion, with a small group of volunteers motored out of Womack Water to Upton Dyke for the annual removal of her mast. This will be the last voyage of 2013 after what has been another busy year for her. During her season on the water she has taken part in crew training, education days, Open Days, charters and day cruises with many people having the opportunity to experience our "magical" broadland landscape from the ideal place, the decks of a local heritage vessel, the oldest wherry still sailing.

The helpful people at Eastwood Whelpton yard once again gave up their time to unload the mast and chock it ready for the winter while one of our volunteers began the "treatment" of the mast before putting it's protective cover on. All those who know Upton dyke will know that it has a narrow turning space which is nearly wholly taken up when Albion turns there.

 What an excellent day to be out on the river!

Looking past her mast with lifting gear in place.
Close up of lifting gear.
Mast arriving at its winter home ready for protective finish and cover.

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5th & 6/10/13: Ludham Art Show.

The UEA 50th Anniversary organisers of the 'Masterpieces' exhibition wished to have Albion on University Broad. This, of course was impossible and so it was agreed that we could hold our own 'Masterpieces' show in St Catherine's Church Ludham, which took place over the weekend of 5th and 6th October. Seventeen professional artists displayed their art work and about 200 people came to the show. Several works were sold and money was made for both Albion and the church.

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13th & 14/08/13: Horning & Ranworth Open Days.

We finally struck lucky with the weather for our final two Open Days of 2013. We had glorious weather at both Horning and Ranworth and were rewarded by around 350 visitors across both events. Some travelled from afar to see us on both days. At Horning a visitor from the USA was delighted to see at first hand what one of his English ancestors used to work on whilst at Ranworth we welcomed a party of Rotarians from South Australia. (If any of them see this could I apologise once again for mentioning the cricket !). The final icing on the cake at Ranworth was the appearance of Solace in the afternoon so our visitors could compare a trader with a pleasure wherry. Many thanks to everyone who came to see us.

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18th to 30/07/13: Southern Waters.

On Thursday 18 July in bright sunshine Albion left the Bure, navigated Yarmouth & raised her mast at the top of Breydon before sailing on through Reedham to Cantley. Three days later on a grey & chilly Sunday morning Albion with the 50+ Adventure Group on board raised sail & made her way across Oulton Broad, heading for Cantley. Notice the nonchalant poses of the mate & skipper whilst the trainee skipper concentrates on the tiller. A good following/beam wind took us all up the Waveney, the New Cut & on to the Yare where we stopped at Hardley Mill for a visit, before completing our journey at Cantley; mooring courtesy of the Reedcutters Pub.

Albion is still cruising on the Yare & is due to return to the Northern Rivers on Tuesday 30 July.

Many thanks to Lesley Hardcastle and 'Jenny Morgan' of "The Broads Forum" for sharing their images of Albion on her journey. (Hover for individual credits and click for larger images).

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23/07/13: Norwich Open Day.

Once again we seem to have refined the art of picking bad weather for our events. Though better than at Oulton Broad we were threatened by thunder storms most of the day and had to work hard to entice visitors aboard. All seemed to enjoy the day though and many Wherry facts were shared !

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20/07/13: Oulton Broad Open Day.

We managed to pick the coldest, wettest July day for our Oulton Broad event and unsurprisingly had a very low turnout. Many thanks to those hardy souls who made the effort to come and see us.

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23/06/13: Ludham Open Gardens.

Albion was one of the highlights of a windy Open Gardens event in the broadland village of Ludham today. The wherry was open to view by the visitors, being moored at the bottom of one garden. Close by was the other remaining trading wherry – the Maud. Volunteers gave tours of Albion and talked about her history, construction and sold souvenirs. At the wherry base, empty of wherries for the day, other volunteers helped visitors to embark/disembark from ferries taking them to & fro across Womack Water to visit gardens on either side of the river. A popular craft display complete with photos, maps and other information about both the history of the village of Ludham and of wherries were also on display here. The event raises fund to help maintain the beautiful Parish Church of St. Catherine. Come and visit it if you come to Ludham.

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27/04/13: Our First Charter of the Season.

We are indebted to 15 year old Lee Sutton for capturing some stunning aerial photographs of our first charter of the season. An excellent collection I'm sure you'll agree, more of Lee's work can be found at .

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10/04/13: Spring Arrives With The Mast.

A cool trip to & from Upton to ship the mast means Albion is one step closer to the beginning of the 2013 season. There was a distinct feeling of spring in the air on the river today. Or are we tempting fate? Our grateful thanks to Eastwood Whelpton boatyard once again for storing our mast over winter & for loading it for us once again. Their team are always so helpful. Thanks also to the small team of volunteers who worked both on shore & on Albion today.

Albion's mast being lowered the last few feet. Mast being guided into the tabernacle.

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11/03/13 : Winter Progress.

There hasn't been much to report of late other than "business as usual" maintenance. All is coming together nicely for the start of the new season.
The head is coming together. Masking the binn... ... before painting.

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17/01/13 : Winter Update.

Just a quick update on progress down at the Base on the winter maintenance now that Albion has returned from her enforced "exile" down in the saltwater zone! Whilst we have had a break over Christmas and the New Year, and another enforced one as we all had to attend the Coach and Horses for our post Christmas get together (!) all the major jobs planned are well under way.

To those not entirely familiar with the routine, there is a lot of annual maintenance to be carried out from the blocks right through to the toilet – a pretty broad spectrum we think you will agree. To give some idea of the type of maintenance required, at the end of each season, the blocks are dismantled and the sheaves inspected for wear. Over the last few years many of the older and cracked sheaves have been replaced with new lignum vitae ones and all of them require soaking in raw linseed oil to keep them in perfect condition. With the sheaves out we can then get at the inside of the blocks and these are treated with preservative to prolong active life. All blocks are then repainted with all the wood having three new coats and the metalwork repainted with black hammerite. The blocks are then reassembled, lubricated and stored well away from "white spot" syndrome – that is being too close to those who spray white paint everywhere!

The dinghy also gets the full "Gok Wan" treatment with a complete makeover to hide the ravages of a full season being out and about. This involves a complete paint job – easy to write but it does extend from the tar varnish underneath to the final and last coat of varnish on the thwarts! Several weeks of work but it will be sparkling when ready for training those who are scheduled to take the "RYA PowerBoat Level 2" qualification in the Spring.

Each year we also strip back to bare wood at least two of the main hatches, repairing where necessary and repainting with the new breathable paint system and replacing the old hard putty in the joints with a more flexible alternative. Almost every bit that is removed and indeed that which remains, is inspected and a decision made as to whether just clean it up or whether to repaint it - this is not quite as easy as it sounds! There is lots to inspect - and only limited time in which to do it before we need to start our crew training programme!

The blocks are ready to go. The dinghy isn't (quite).
Hatch covers being prepared for paint.
Should have worn gloves. Winter !

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