Albion News Archive 2016

21/11/16: Fitting The New Apron.

Having removed the old apron it was time to fit it's replacement.

The "open" stern section after the removal of the apron.

The new apron having been fabricated by Maynard Watson and Ben Knights is now used to "plug the hole" !

Off we go. A little shove from Maynard is required.
Nearly there. Ben at the business end !
Looking good. Making it watertight.

Back to Top.

08/11/16: Preparing For New Sternpost.

Albion, currently on the slip at Lake Lothing, is having a total rebuild of the stern and this the last major part of the 10 year programme on which we embarked, what now seems, a long long time ago.

Having removed the rudder and the sternpost, we are left with the apron to which all of the planks at the stern are fastened.

Apron from the outside. Apron from the inside.

So how big a bit of wood do you need for a new apron ?

Actually this big ! It looks even bigger upright ?

At the same time as replacing the stern post we are using the opportunity to replace two longish planks on the starboard side and a number of the ribs - in fact the last three pairs shown below. Putting it back will mean renewing the sternpost, replacing the starboard timberhead and then the whole of the rear decking, together with a new cockpit coaming and cockpit floor. Its a big job and we hope to update you further over the next week or so - but it will, we hope, help Albion to continue to sail the Broadland Rivers for many years to come.

Back to Top.

10/10/16: Albion's Trip to Excelsior Yard for Winter Maintenance.

An account from Mike Sparkes :

The Trip South.

The trip south was on Monday 10th October to fit in with the best neap tide, also the best day for a passage through Yarmouth around lunch time. The on-board crew to make that journey were: - Roger Watts (skipper), Rob Hole (trainee skipper), Chris Latimer, Mick Harris, Robin Allard and Roger Symes. The journey south was slow, taking some seven hours. The trust's dinghy was used as the tow boat; this was the first time Albion had made the trip south to Excelsior's Yard without the tow from Hugh Tusting’s cruiser 'Badger'. Badger always gave Albion a comfortable towing speed of a few extra knots, enabling a faster trip. The crew reported that the trip went according to plan with no exciting incidents, although they all were very wet from the very heavy showers during the day. The journey concluded with Albion being moored at Oulton Yacht Station to wait for the following week’s high spring tides that would help get her into the slipway cradle.

Through the lock.
After the week moored at Oulton Yacht Station, Albion was now ready to enter the cradle at Excelsior’s yard. The high spring tide would allow the cradle to submerge enough for Albion to float in. The best date for pulling her out would have been on Monday 15th October around high water at 11.00. Unfortunately, Excelsior's yard had no winch man available that day, so we re-scheduled for the following day, Tuesday 16th. Being a day later put the high water time back around another hour. The crew had arranged to assemble at Oulton Yacht station at 09.00 hours, being first to arrive I set about opening Albion up. Oulton Broad was overcast with fast moving grey clouds, the damp air very cold in the wind. Soon the rest of the crew arrived and Albion was prepared for the short journey through the lock and into Lake Lothing. Albion's crew that morning Roger Watts (Skipper), myself with Rob Hole, Roger Symes and Neil Case. The trust’s 'Honda Hero' Philip Hubbard was given the responsible job of controlling the dinghy for the tow.
At Excelsior's yard Peter Jermy, the trust's chairman, communicated with the yard staff, also keeping us informed via his mobile phone. Also at the yard waiting to help was boat builder Paul Reynolds, along with the photographer for the day James 'Jimmy' Fisk. Jimmy would capture the pictures of Albion in the cradle and being pulled out of the water. Once clear of the water and stripped of her gear, Kim Dowe would pressure wash Albion’s hull clean ready for boat builder Maynard Watson to start on the winter programme as planned.
Back on board the crew had Albion well prepared, now they waited for the call from Peter at the yard telling us all was ready. This came around 09.45, at that time the wind had started to increase - a signal that rain was approaching. We backed Albion out of the yacht station with the aid of a quant, turning her at the same time. The bridge operators saw us backing out and raised the foot bridge over the lock at the same time as opening the lock gates on the Oulton Broad side of the lock. Albion slowly moved into the lock and was made fast with the gates closing behind us. Once the gates were shut Albion and the water dropped, the main road bridge at this time was being raised. With the bridge and the front gates open, we slipped through effortlessly. As we moved away from the road bridge a few drops of rain started to fall.

Into the slip cradle.
We made our way slowly under the rail bridge soon passing large boat marinas on each bank. At first it was difficult for us to see the cradle which we were told was already in the water, our vision being impaired by the number of moored vessels on the left-hand bank. The rain, now falling very heavily, certainly didn’t help with visibility! Thankfully as Lake Lothing opened out we could now see the cradle ahead on our left. Soon Roger made a wide sweeping turn to port, heading slowly towards the yard and the cradle. Cutting the dinghy’s engine to idle we glided inside the four pillars of the cradle, stopping the momentum was difficult but we managed it using a mooring rope.
Once Albion was secured we prepared her for the lift, holding her with ropes as best we could while the cradle was being winched closer to the bank. Albion’s keel at the bow was now grounded on the cradle so the yard crew stopped the winch to let us put the blocks and wedges in place to hold her upright. Sadly, at this point we soon realised the cradle's pillars were too far apart! The trust’s measurement given to the yard for Albion was 15 feet 3 inches plus 6 inches each side giving a total 16 feet 3 inches. The gap we found that morning was far too large and we struggled to find big enough blocks (which were being ferried from the shore by our dinghy) to fill the gap.
Eventually we decided it was impossible to wedge Albion at the front of the cradle so we tried the rear pillars. The problem here was Albion was still floating so as the cradle moved up Albion dropped her stern keel down and we were not able to keep Albion upright. At this point a decision was made to drop the cradle back into the water for safety. However, because the cradle sometimes sticks on the track this was done at speed, which caught us slightly unaware on board! To make things worse the rain was now relentless.
Roger steered Albion across Lake Lothing backwards away from the cradle, the engine set as slow as possible by Philip also heading backwards in the dinghy (not the best method for towing but on the day we had no choice). Soon we slowed to a stop before inching forward for steerage to complete a full circle, while waiting for the cradle pillars to be moved in ready for the second attempt. The second attempt was successful, with the front pillars now set correctly, this enabled the new blocks and wedges we had made at the base to work perfectly. Albion was now stable enough to make the slow journey up the ramp. The rear pillars were adjusted as we came further out of the water, so now Albion was supported on all of the four pillars. Once out of the water she was stripped of all her gear and made ready for the pressure wash.
It had certainly been a difficult slipping exercise. Still lessons have been learnt and we have three years to plan for what hopefully will be a text book slipping next time!

First attempt : entering the slip cradle.
First attempt : within the slip cradle.
First attempt : note large gaps.
First attempt : so close but unstable so she was returned to the water.
Second attempt : tailor made wedges work perfectly!
Second attempt : front wedges in, adjusting rear wedges.
Second attempt : secured for unloading.

Back to Top.

05/10/16: Albion Mast Removal.

With the end of our charter season we are straight into maintenance mode. The first task is the removal and storage of Albion's mast.

An account from Mike Sparkes : Our trip down to Upton went very smoothly, the weather was bright with very blustery south eastly wind gusting at times. The party on board were Roger Watts (Skipper), myself, Rob Hole, Roger Symes and James Fisk, James was the photographer on the day.
Upon our early arrival at Upton, the trust's chairman Peter Jermy was there to greet us. Peter was also on hand to catch and hold our mooring line on shore, as we waited for the Whelpton's yard men to make ready for our turning in the basin. First they had to move many of their hire boats to make room for the turn. Paul Reynolds had also arrived at the yard to help us with the turning, which went smoothly with the aid of a quant and the pulling of a few ropes from the shore.
The new mast was craned off and laid in a safe place by the boat yard staff, they also craned off the very heavy mast weight taken off the old mast which we were using as ballast. This large weight was put onto Paul Reynold's trailer by the yards crane, later this weight was laid in safe place on our car park back at base.
Albion's journey back went fairly smoothly, apart from a little excitment ! As we left the basin to head back out of Upton Dyke a very large hire cruiser decided to motor in. The occupants of this wide cruiser headed towards us in a dyke which was just wide enough for Albion and the moored boats. Thankfully the crew of the cruiser found a gap just large enough to pull into and wait our passing, for us it was still a tight gap to squeeze past. We were surprised by the amount of hire boats on the river that day, some were having difficulty handling their boats with the gusting wind which made for an interesting journey back !

Back to Top.

25/09/16: Last Charter for This Year.

Today saw Albion embark on her last charter for this season and judging by our charterers' feedback she finished on a high !

Check out our Guestbook to hear what our charterers have said about their experiences.

Back to Top.

04/07/16: Cantley Day Cruise.

An update from skipper Henry :- This was a day sail of members of the public and some members of the Trust from Cantley up river to Brundall with a picnic lunch on Surlingham Broad. The wind went right round the compass during the morning, so we were mainly carried along by the flood tide. The wind picked up to quite a breeze later in the afternoon and we were then being swept down river by a strong ebb with a lot of rain water included and made swift passage, arriving at Cantley ahead of time, so went on down river, spun Albion around by Hardley Mill and came back to Cantley scandalised, with a strong wind behind us. Several passengers then had a smashing home-cooked early supper in The Reedcutter.

Back to Top.

30/04/16: We're Off !

All the best made plans have come together as Albion embarks on her first charter of this season in glorious weather. What a lovely way to spend a day on The Broads and it could be you ! Full details of how to charter Albion can be found here.

We think this is how it should all hang together !
Welcome aboard.
The safety talk.
We're under way !.
A bit of quanting practice. Not quite enough time to catch the sail being raised.
One from later in the day.

Back to Top.

18/02/16: An Unsung Hero !

Whilst most of our efforts are directed at getting Albion ready for the new season a rather unsung hero is getting the benefit of some of our volunteer's skills. Often ridiculed by the purists for her "pushing" activities, our dinghy has been soldiering on for almost 20 years without much in terms of "tlc" !

The job is nearly done and the first skipper to damage it will be in serious trouble !

Getting her in the shed wasn't easy ! Usual ratio of "doers" to "watchers".
Getting from here ..... ... to here was clever - well done Rob & Co.
Some very nice work here !
Worker and Management ! Seems a shame to cover all that lovely oak.

Back to Top.